Why Study History at UH Hilo?

The History Department at the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo provides students with an understanding of the past and its application to the present. The curriculum leading to the degree of Bachelor of Arts in History is designed to develop broad historical knowledge, global understanding, and important skills in data analysis and communication crucial in many professional fields. Additionally, History students gain valuable experience through History-specific service-learning projects, internships, externships, and departmental collaborations that further enrich students’ educational foundation in history. Students focus their historical studies in one of five geographical areas: East Asia, Europe, Hawaiʻi, the Pacific, or the United States.

Students can apply a History degree from the History Department at the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo in a variety of workplaces that encompass a myriad of job titles, including educator, researcher, writer, editor, information manager, advocate, businessperson, or simply as a professional historian. Modern professional historians rely on a diverse skillset as they often carry out multiple historical activities in the workplace. For example, historians in museums manage and interpret object collections but are also called upon to serve as researchers, writers, editors, and educators. Similarly, archivists trained as historians process and protect collections of historical materials and documents, but also need to research, educate, write, edit, and provide advocacy information. Much of a historians work straddles the public and private sphere, thus professional historians possess an analytical skillset that is easily transferable and valuable to a variety of 21st Century careers.

Students who obtain a History degree from the UH Hilo History Department possess a number of skills that help to define them as members of the historical profession. Some are unique to historians while others are shared with or similar to those practiced in other disciplines that study the past, such as archaeology, art history, literature, and historical geography. Studying for a degree in history develops critical skills in written and oral communication, analytical reasoning, and research and information organization. In many ways, historians develop the same skillsets as lawyers, in that they need to know how to find information, present it to an audience (either in writing or verbally), and develop a strong argument (or “case”) that will convince that audience. These skills are also valuable in a wide variety of professional careers.

A history degree can be successfully applied to a variety of career paths:

Education

  • Elementary
  • Secondary
  • Post-secondary
  • Historical Sites & Museums

Resource Management

  • National Parks Service
  • Historical Preservation
  • Archivists & Librarians
  • Information Managers

Communications

  • Public Relations
  • Journalism
  • Producers of Multimedia
  • Writers & Editors

Advocacy

  • Lawyers & Paralegals
  • Legislative Staff Work
  • Litigation Support
  • Foundations

Business

  • Contract Historians
  • Corporate Work
  • Nonprofit Associations
  • Investment Services & Banking

Research

  • Museums & Historical Organizations
  • Historical Preservation
  • Think Tanks
  • Documentary Writers, Editors, & Researchers

Increasingly, historians find themselves working across disciplines, either as part of a team of professionals drawn from many fields or by adapting methods drawn from other disciplines for their individual research. A history degree is also very useful as preparation for law school, MBA and other graduate programs. For more information see the American Historical Association’s Careers for Students of History.

About the History Department

The History Department’s faculty members each cover one of five discipline-based specialties including: East Asia, Europe, Hawaiʻi, the Pacific, or US history. In addition, faculty work one-on-one with students in research and senior capstone courses. History students have the opportunity to collaborate with faculty on research and participate in history specific internships and service-learning projects. History Department courses eschew the simplistic and dry memorization of names and dates, instead focusing on making meaningful connections between historical events, themes, and actors that impacted both the past as well as continue to influence the present. History courses are known for their academic rigor, analytical reasoning, impassioned discussions, and focus on the development of written and oral communication skills. The History Department currently offers a minor as well as B.A. in History.

Program Requirements