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History: BA, BS


The History Department has been recognized by the American Historical Association as one of 12 outstanding history departments in the United States and Canada, selected for its "brilliant teaching and leadership." The department’s strongest areas include the modern American West, classics, early modern Europe, and the Atlantic World.

USU history majors have the opportunity to work in depth on undergraduate research projects. Students learn how to conduct and present their research all while taking advantage of faculty mentoring, study abroad opportunities, and more. Students learn the skills needed to research, analyze, think critically, and communicate clearly – all of which are highly valued skills in various career paths. About one-third of history graduates from USU go on to teaching, while two-thirds go into law, medicine, or business fields.

The preferred degree in the history program is the BA, which requires proficiency in a foreign language. Students may, however, choose to pursue the BS degree, which requires a significant amount of coursework in the College of Science.


If students choose not to have an emphasis, they will explore a broad and varied history background.

  • History Teaching: This emphasis is for students interested in teaching, particularly in secondary education. Students will complete history courses and will also be required to take a number of classes that will prepare them to be educators.

Education Component:

This is for the history teaching emphasis only. In order to obtain a secondary teaching license for grades 6-12, students must complete the 35-credit Secondary Teacher Education Program (STEP), which includes one semester of student teaching in a public school. This program is administered by USU’s School of Teacher Education and Leadership (TEAL) within the Emma Eccles Jones College of Education and Human Services. Student must apply to the School of TEAL the semester before taking STEP courses. This is usually the fall of their junior year. Students learn subject content through the History Department, and spend the last year or two studying education techniques through the STEP program.

Students in the history teaching program are required to select an approved teaching minor in order to expand their career options.

Additional Information:

the History Teaching Emphasis is not offered at the Salt Lake location.

The department’s program develops expertise in the discipline of history as well as broader skills in the liberal arts. In other words, the curriculum not only provides specialized academic training but also prepare students to work in a variety of fields. Historical study develops one’s ability to investigate problems, identify reliable sources, analyze information, contextualize complex questions, and communicate conclusions in a clear and thoughtful manner.

The training and skills students develop with a history degree open doors to a range of careers in fields, such as:

  • Preservation and historical education (researcher, cultural resources management and historic preservation, national park service)
  • Communicator (writer and editor, journalist, documentary editor, producer of multimedia material)
  • Information manager (archivist, records manager, librarian, military intelligence, foreign service)
  • Advocate (lawyer and paralegal, litigation support, legislative staff work)
  • Businesses and associations (corporate historian, contract historian, historian in nonprofit association)

History Teaching Emphasis

  • History teacher in middle school or high school


Career Services provides counseling and information on hundreds of job and internship opportunities and even helps students apply and interview.

Admission Requirements

In addition to Utah State University's admissions requirements, the history program has additional requirements:

  • Freshmen: New freshmen admitted to USU in good standing qualify for admission to the Department of History as pre-majors.
  • Transfer Students: Students transferring from other institutions or from other USU majors may be accepted as a pre-major in history. They must also have a GPA of 2.5 or higher.
  • To be a history major, students must complete at least 15 credits with an overall GPA of 2.5 and complete certain pre-major courses.

STEP Requirements (history teaching emphasis only): In order to be accepted into STEP, students must go through an application process, which includes the following:

  • Complete 60 semester credits with a minimum GPA of 3.00 Provide passing scores for: ACT COMP 21, ACT ENGL 20, and ACT MATH 19
  • Complete certain core courses (see department for more information)
  • Complete a speech and hearing test
  • Pass the Teacher Education Writing Exam
  • Provide an unofficial copy of  your transcript
  • Pass a criminal background check (this should be done one semester before submitting the application)

In addition to Utah State University's admissions requirements, the history program has additional requirements:

  • Freshmen: New freshmen admitted to USU in good standing qualify for admission to the Department of History as pre-majors.
  • Transfer Students: Students transferring from other institutions or from other USU majors may be accepted as a pre-major in history teaching. They must also have a GPA of 3.0 or higher.
  • To be a history major with teaching emphasis, students must complete at least 15 credits with an overall GPA of 3.0 and complete certain pre-major courses.

International students have additional admissions requirements.

Professional Organizations, Honor Societies, and Clubs

American Historical Association: The American Historical Association was founded in 1884 and was incorporated by Congress in 1889 to serve the broad field of history. It encompasses every historical period and geographical area and serves professional historians in all areas of employment.

Western History Association: The Western History Association is the professional organization focused on the history of the American West that publishes the journal, Western Historical Quarterly, which is housed at USU.

Phi Alpha Theta: This professional society has a mission to promote the study of history through the encouragement of research, good teaching, publication, and the exchange of learning and ideas among historians.

Labs, Centers, Research

With the second oldest undergraduate research program in the nation, USU offers students a wide range of opportunities to gain hands-on research experience. USU’s Honors Program prepares students for excellent graduate programs by helping them build relationships with professors, participate in research projects, take smaller, more intensive classes, and develop leadership skills.

Nora Eccles Harrison Museum of Art: This museum collects, maintains, preserves, and regularly exhibits art in diverse media created primarily in the American West with an emphasis on modern and contemporary movements. Through exhibitions and education programs, the museum provides the campus and community with opportunities for growth, discovery, and scholarly research.

Special Collections and Archives: One of the most important centers for students’ historical research is housed within the Merrill-Cazier Library in the Special Collections and Archives division. The division is composed of seven distinct sections (art book collections, folklore, manuscripts, western and Mormon americana, photographs, preservation, and USU archives). Each section is assigned a specialist who is responsible for the care and use of the materials. In addition, the Merrill-Cazier Library provides extensive reference and database collections covering historical experience from the classical period through the present.



Academic Advising

Stacey Kelly
Office: MAIN 106
Phone: (435) 797-3883

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