Why Study History?

Studying history is the ultimate passport to the future

As a history major, you will gain the skills and competencies that are essential for success in an ever-changing world regardless of the career path you choose.  Through your course work and experiential learning, you will enhance your critical thinking and problem-solving abilities as well as your written and oral communication skills.  You will acquire the ability to see the big picture and make sense of it.  You will work with others on various projects leading to greater insights into the past and what that tells us about the present and even the future.  Finally, you will be exposed to a wide variety of historical approaches and develop an awareness and appreciation for other cultures and the ethical questions faced by historians. 


  • Major in history, American history secondary education or World history secondary education.
  • Study abroad in Australia, Switzerland, Germany, Scotland, England, China, Italy, or wherever your passion takes you.
  • Travel with history faculty in May Term courses to England/Wales and Germany.
  • Learn advanced research and analytical skills.
  • Pursue undergraduate research under the guidance of a faculty member.
  • Intern at the Grout Museum, Iowa Living History Farms, the Herbert Hoover Library and Museum, Jamestown, Mount Rushmore, the Colorado Historical Society, the Naval History and Heritage Command, or anywhere else you want to go.
  • Join the History Club and Phi Alpha Theta, the history honor society.
  • Participate in the Wartburg Philosophical and Literary Society, a weekly gathering of students and faculty who present and discuss current research from a variety of disciplines.
  • Present an undergraduate paper at regional humanities conference or the regional or national Phi Alpha Theta conference.
  • Develop skills to succeed at the graduate level.
  • Engage with questions of professional ethics.
  • Graduate from Wartburg and the University of Iowa School of Law in six years (one year faster) in the 3+3 program

Employers are looking for history majors because they have the ability to:

  • think critically and problem solve
  • summarize and organize complex data
  • work well alone and in teams
  • discern past trends to understand the present and move into the future
  • research
  • effectively communicate orally and in writing
  • appreciate diversity

After Graduation

Wartburg College history majors have pursued a wide array of vocations and graduate studies, such as….

  • Secondary teachers and high school administrators in Iowa, Minnesota, Illinois, Texas, Wisconsin, Colorado
  • Pastors
  • Lawyers and county attorneys
  • College professors and public historians
  • Business professionals in real estate and advertising
  • College Student Life staff/administrators
  • College coaches
  • College librarians at Wartburg College, Davidson College, Duquesne University
  • Employees in the federal government
  • Chief of Chaplains in the U.S. Navy
  • President of the State Bank and Trust—Waverly
  • Senior Research Analyst, Iowa House Republicans
  • Chairman, Wartburg Board of Regents
  • Dean of Faculty, Wartburg College

Graduate students in history, law, philosophy, architecture, museum studies, seminary studies, sociology, art history, student life and leadership, management, urban planning, library science, anthropology, the history of medicine, medicine, and Spanish literature at schools including the University of Iowa, Syracuse University, Vanderbilt University, Oxford University, Villanova University, University of Denver, Boston College, Marquette University, University of Kansas, University of Wisconsin, Iowa State University, Drake University, and Auburn University.

Careers for History Majors – The link, provided by the American Historical Association, demonstrates how a major in history can lead to countless careers.

Careers for Students of History – The AHA offers this online pamphlet “for those interested in continuing their studies further and entering the ranks of professional historians.”

Jobs in Public History – A searchable job and internship listing provided by the National Council on Public History.