Experience history with the faculty in the Wartburg College Department of History, where we value curiosity and engagement in historical inquiry as preparation for lifelong learning. The study of history will prepare you for employment in a variety of professions that utilize skills developed through historical inquiry and cross-disciplinary knowledge. An examination of the past requires the use and development of skills for perceptive reading, critical thinking, summarizing, and intelligent articulation — foundational skills for all professions.

Our majors in history, American history secondary education, and world history secondary education will take you on a journey through time as you explore American, European and non-Western history and culture. Each major offers opportunities to become involved in:

  • Study-abroad programs
  • Internships at historical sites throughout the United States
  • Primary research under the guidance of a faculty member
  • To develop skills for perceptive reading, critical thinking, summarizing, and intelligent articulation.
  • To develop the ability to use and conduct research in primary materials
  • To develop an awareness and appreciation for other cultures
  • To expose students to a wide variety of historical approaches
  • To develop an awareness of the ethical questions faced by practicing historians
  • To help students deal with the present and future by studying the past patterns and trends of human activity.

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

Ottersberg Scholar in History – This scholarship is awarded to a first year student with a major in history. The purpose is to provide a scholarship for “Scholars in Partnership” in history named after Dr. Gerhard Ottersberg. Receipt is based on merit.

Dr. G. Rudolph & Beryl Bjorgan Memorial Scholarship – Full-time students at Wartburg College who demonstrates appropriate financial need as determined by the Wartburg Financial Aid Office are eligible for this scholarship. However, special preference is given to a junior or senior majoring in history or political science, with a cumulative GPA of at least 3.00, with proven ability to excel in their chosen field.

Gerhard Ottersberg History Scholarship – Established in honor of Dr. Gerhard Ottersberg, professor emeritus, Wartburg College — with funds contributed by family, friends and former students — this award is granted to a junior or senior student majoring in history who has consistently demonstrated a high level of scholastic achievement.

Norheim History Scholarship – The Norheim is awarded to a student majoring in history with good academic standards.

Other Scholarships – Visit Wartburg College’s listing of nationally competitive scholarships or learn about additional scholarships, grants, and fellowships through the Wartburg Financial Aid Web site.

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.

Major and Minor Requirements

The Department of History offers the following majors and minors. Each of the majors offers a link to a checklist to assist students in planning their major. For additional information about endorsements, visit Wartburg’s Department of Education.


Luther Hall houses the Department of History.

A tight-knit mentoring community. WORTH IT.


Alumni Outcomes

Wartburg graduates find satisfying jobs and are admitted into top graduate and professional schools. Wartburg alumni can be found in all 50 U.S. states and more than 70 foreign countries. Below is only a sample of the positions Wartburg graduates from the Department of History have had in the past.

Sample of Alumni Positions from the Past Five Years:

  • Ph.D. Student/Instructor of Social Studies, Boston University and Clark University, Boston, Mass.
  • English Teacher, Gong Hang Middle School, Seoul, South Korea
  • Field Representative, Verizon Wireless, Cedar Rapids
  • Intern, Embassy of the United States in Berlin, Germany
  • Loss Prevention Lead, Sears Holding Corp., Denver, Colo.
  • Graduate Student – Law
  • Peace Corps, Tanzania

Sample of Alumni Positions from the Past 10 Years:

  • Production Coordinator, Dallas Symphony Orchestra, Dallas, Texas
  • PSA/ Library Associate, Minneapolis Central Library, Minneapolis, Minn.
  • Staff Attorney, Iowa Legal Aid, Waterloo
  • Youth Librarian, Adel Public Library, Adel
  • Teacher, Dubuque Senior High School, Dubuque
  • Senior Secretary-Testing and Resource Center, University Center, Sioux Falls, S.D.

Sample Stand-out Alumni Positions:

  • Chairman and CEO, First Community Trust National Association, Dubuque
  • Senior Vice President and Relationship Manager, HSBC Bank USA, Charlotte, N.C.
  • Senior Community Affairs Advisor, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, Kansas City, Mo.
  • Librarian, University of Central Florida, Orlando, Fla.
  • Professor, Austin Peay State University, Clarksville, Tenn.
  • Professor, Nassau Community College, Garden City, N.Y.
Andrew Bell

Andrew Bell ’08
Architect, AHTS Architects

“My liberal arts education has offered me a broad perspective that has paid dividends in working with people from a variety of backgrounds and being sensitive to their needs and goals. While an undergraduate degree in architecture may have allowed me to graduate two years earlier, I would not trade that for the foundations that a more diverse curriculum helped create.” [READ MORE]


Wartburg College has partnered with Western Illinois University to offer an integrated baccalaureate and master’s degree program for students seeking a bachelor’s degree in history at Wartburg and a master’s degree in museum studies from WIU. The agreement allows students to earn their Wartburg degree in four years before going on to earn a master’s degree from WIU in one year. The master’s program, which typically requires two years to complete, is available at WIU’s Quad Cities campus. Additional information about the WIU graduate program is available at www.wiu.edu/cofac/qc/museumstudies/.


Terrence Lindell

Professor of History

Daniel Walther

Gerald R. Kleinfeld Endowed Chair in German History