if there were a way to tell the story of why we are the way we are? To study
as if in a lab with unlimited evidence? To preserve what makes us unique and understand
what keeps us going? History helps us discover new meaning in the past, present and future. Our students learn the best practices of historical research while developing the
skills for a successful career: thinking critically, communicating effectively and
tackling complex problems. Our majors excel in careers in politics, the legal
and marketing, human resources, information and library sciences, law
public relations, intelligence or security analysis, sales and recruitment, education and more.
West Virginian and Appalachian history is a strength of our department. Our faculty also specialize in a diverse range of historical time periods, teaching courses in everything from ancient Greece to modern day Africa. Members of our faculty have won the Mellon Fellowship, a National Science Foundation Law and Social Sciences Grant and the Rome Prize from the American Academy in Rome. Their lectures have aired on C-SPAN and become the basis for award-winning books. With faculty guidance, our students begin their own work as researchers, working in local or national archives to make their own discoveries.
How will I focus my studies?
All history majors declare a minor to personalize their studies. Many students select another minor or a second major based on their long-term goals. Students are encouraged to find and apply for internships or study abroad opportunities.
History majors in our department have worked at National Park Service sites and the National Main Street Project in Charleston, WV. They have studied abroad in Turkey, Germany, England, Poland, South Africa, Australia and more.
Any student may pursue a minor in history. Students are advised to design their own minor to complement their major.
Katherine Fiaschi, Midland Park, N.J.
Jennifer Walker, High Point, N.C.
Recreating a mock trial of the Princes in the Tower scandal of the 15th century, Jennifer Walker, a dual history and political science major, began learning to develop arguments that would later benefit her career path in becoming a lawyer.
“My history classes at WVU encouraged me to develop independent ideas that relied on existing information or research — a trait that is indispensable to the legal field,” Walker said.
A positive experience with her history teachers in high school prompted Walker to dive further into the subject in college.
“My undergraduate history studies have been incredibly helpful with my studies in law school,” Walker said. “Like historical research, legal research requires attention to detail, critical thinking and successful argument of a thesis or idea.”
During her time at WVU, the High Point, North Carolina, native interned for U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito and worked as an administrative clerk at a local law firm.
Her advice to incoming students of the program is to utilize the library’s resources when conducting historical research.
Walker is currently in her first year of law school at the University of Houston.