History Major


Why History?

There is power in history because every field of study has a history, whether it be science, religion, politics, technology, sport, environmental change, decolonization, medicine, or health care.


Why History Matters

For any field of interest to you, it’s beneficial to learn about how we got to where we are now, both to preserve the best parts of the past, and to learn from the mistakes of those who came before us.

If you’re looking to make a difference, look no further than political decisions, laws that govern us, and social movements, which are all products of historical events or decisions that were made in a time before our own. To understand why society is the way it is, we need to understand the forces that influenced those decisions in history, if we wish to inform positive change for the future.


History's Influence on Today

History also has relevance to today’s society, especially in film, TV and video games, where some of the most highly rated and profitable shows of all time are based on historical events, people, eras, etc. Such as:

  • The Crown, The Tudors, Vikings, Bridgerton, 300: Sparta, Outlander, Game of Thrones, and The Last Dance (Michael Jordan).
  • Video games such as Assassin’s Creed are similarly rooted in various historical eras and locations.


What You'll Learn

Ultimately, history is the backbone of all other subjects and ties you to the world around us, including the regions studied by our professors such as Canada, China, Scotland, Africa, India, Europe, and the Middle East. History allows you to pick any part of the world and go explore its past.

In this program, you will be able to connect your historical knowledge to other courses and subject areas like Sociology, Criminal Justice & Public Policy, Sexualities, Genders & Social Change, Black Canadian Studies, etc. This knowledge will prepare you for careers in education, law, business, entertainment, the public service, journalism, environmental preservation, and more.


Students in the History HIST program may also be interested in studying Anthropology, Art History, Classical Studies, European Studies, French Studies, Political Science, or other majors.

To see all courses offered in this degree, visit our 2023-2024 Academic Calendar.

Gain Valuable Co-op Experience

History students have numerous options for study covering the globe and a diverse assortment of thematic courses, including crime and justice, gender and sexuality, popular culture, and rural history. This wide range of interests and skills can be applied in many workplaces in government and non-governmental organizations, non-profit and community-based organizations, and the private sector, with co-op placements granting you valuable experience to build your resume and career. Learn more about our History Co-op Program.

To see all courses offered in the co-op program, visit our 2023-2024 Academic Calendar.

Uncovering the Past to Create the Future

 Become an Agent of Change or Preservation

Our graduates are flexible, intelligent, polished communicators with broad training, adaptable skills and clear judgement, with a variety of available career paths.

 Experience History Up Close

From the Art Gallery of Guelph to the University’s Archives and Special Collections to taking a semester abroad, take advantage of real-world experiences throughout your History studies.

 Become an Effective Communicator, Researcher, and Analyst

You will be asked to extract and synthesize the most important information and major arguments from a wide array of historical sources. You will use those details and perspectives to paint pictures of the past in well-written, persuasive, concise narratives or stories that can be used for current-day needs. 

What Can You Do with a Degree in History?

History graduates are flexible, intelligent, polished communicators, researchers and problem solvers who follow their passions in business, law, education, civil service, journalism, and the arts.

 Here are a few careers our graduates have successfully pursued:

  • Archivist/historian
  • Copywriter
  • Educational consultant
  • Foreign service officer
  • Policy analyst
  • Library technician
  • Program Officer
  • Policy and research assistant
Many people have asked me during my undergrad 'what do you do with a History degree?' I always reply 'essentially anything.' I am currently working as an Archaeologist at an engineering company carrying out Cultural Resource Management (CRM) surveys. This job has allowed me to travel across Ontario’s rural landscape and see some of the most beautiful places that have been lost to history. The sites that I work on can range in time from first contact to the colonial era or, in some cases prehistoric, archaic, and paleolithic. Some of which I will never forget!

Joe Cull

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