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Bachelor of Arts (BA) in History

The study of history allows you to make sense of the human experience across time, place, and identity. As a history major, you’ll develop a critical lens through which to examine and contextualize the past, enabling you to better analyze the present and to think about the future in a more informed and careful way. Studying history at John Carroll University will help you nurture a set of skills, from critical reading to research and writing, that will prepare you for a vast range of careers, from law to education, academia, politics, library sciences, museum management, and work in the nonprofit sector.

Professor's POV of History at JCU

History Program at John Carroll

"Job specific skills can be taught, but teaching how to learn is a much larger and more difficult investment in workplace personnel, and the results can be mixed. Liberal arts majors, such as those who study history, have been trained to learn," says History professor Matthew Berg. And at John Carroll, you'll learn about history in the individualized setting that only a small, liberal arts university can provide.," says History professor Matthew Berg. And at John Carroll, you'll learn about history in the individualized setting that only a small, liberal arts university can provide.

To understand why wars started or religions spread, you’ll analyze historical documents, assess the utility of a given source, and consider the context of a given time and place. After foundational classes in United States and global history and geography, you might explore the changing role of women in Catholic Latin America, study genocides throughout time, or learn about the life and legacy of Abraham Lincoln. With the wide variety of classes and flexible schedule, you can customize your degree to focus on a region, time period, or theme. Many students choose to pair history with another major, like political science, English, economics, or philosophy.

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BA in History Program Highlights

Experiential Learning

The study of history is hands-on at John Carroll. In class, you might conduct interviews and collect oral histories in surrounding neighborhoods, help annotate the library’s special collection of 16th century books, or develop project proposals that double as grant proposals. Outside of class, you might hold an internship at one of several organizations the History department partners with, including museums like the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage, several historical societies and the Legal Aid Society of Cleveland


The History Major is structured to allow students to pursue research projects in areas of their interest. It is also manageable enough (39 credits, or 13 courses) to easily double major or minor in one or more fields. That reasonable size also makes it easy to participate in JCU’s Full-Time MBA program. Many history majors also go on to pursue Masters degrees and Law degrees.

Inspired Futures

History majors pursue careers across a variety of industries including law, education, management, sales, government, marketing, insurance, and information sciences. Students are trained to communicate clearly and effectively, and to analyze documents and the studies others have produced -- in short, to assess information. History, by its very nature, emphasizes the all-important assessment of time and place (context) when it comes to appreciating developments, and how developments and events are remembered many years, even generations after they’ve occurred. These are critical skills for any future career and for any citizen in a democracy.

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"When you major in history you learn to gather, analyze, and evaluate information effectively, express yourself clearly, and make a well-reasoned argument. Those skills are essential for success in law, education, government, non-profit, or business--but they are also essential for discerning your own life path and for making your best contribution to your community, whether locally or in the world at large."
— Anne Kugler, PhD, Professor of History


Megan Martinko '15

Status: BA, History Graduate, Women's Track and Field 

Why study history at JCU? "History allows you to explore ideas, contexts, and people, and to understand the interconnectedness of small details and big picture. No matter what you want to pursue, history has a way of making it more interesting and offering you more perspective." 

Bio: Megan began volunteering with the Seattle Museum of Art and the Bainbridge Island Museum of Art after graduation. In 2017 she earned her MA in Museology from the University of Washington. She has worked as a museum educator with the Imagine Children's Museum and the White River Valley Museum, specializing in hands-on learning education, modern American history, and community engagement. Since 2020, she has served as the Communications Manager for a mid-sized dance studio in greater Seattle.

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History Alumni Across the Region

John Carroll University alumni live, work, teach and support communities throughout the region from Northeast Ohio to Chicago, Indianapolis, Detroit, Columbus, Buffalo, Rochester, Pittsburgh, New York City, Washington D.C., Maryland and Virginia.