At the University of Iowa, the Department of History strives to increase knowledge of human experience and provide students with opportunities to gain information about and learn methods for understanding their world in light of its past.
In addition to offering these essential elements of a liberal arts education, the department trains professional historians and teachers of history and serves those who require knowledge of a period or aspect of history as background for their own specialized interests in other fields.
Why Study at Iowa?
Iowa’s undergraduate history program features an outstanding, wide-ranging curriculum, with history courses focused on the United States, Africa, Latin America, East Asia, the Ancient Near East, and Europe—including medieval, early modern, and modern histories.
The program gives its nearly 400 undergraduate history majors a broad liberal arts base. Faculty and students in the department participate in many of the university's interdisciplinary departments and programs, including American Studies, African American Studies, Ancient Civilization, Asian Studies, International Studies, Latin American Studies, and Gender, Women's, and Sexuality Studies.
Course work for the Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree in history includes:
- Two courses in American history
- Two courses in European history
- Two courses in non-Western world history
- One pre-1700 history course
- At least five elective courses
- One colloquium (American, European, or world history)
- An Undergraduate History Portfolio course for senior history majors
The department emphasizes the ability to communicate, both orally and in writing, on historical matters. The required colloquium helps you to develop these skills. You’ll have a chance to visit an archive, conduct primary research, and write your own research paper. The paper will become part of your portfolio, which you'll submit to your adviser the semester before you graduate.
See History in the UI General Catalog to learn more about the major and graduating with honors.
Undergraduate majors may fulfill State of Iowa requirements for licensure as teachers of history and social studies by completing the College of Education’s Teacher Education Program.
Minor in History
See History in the UI General Catalog to learn more.
History majors need to meet the requirements for admission to the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.
Admission Requirements Tabs
Students in this major may be interested in the Global Mosaic Living-Learning Community in the UI residence halls.
Internships help history students learn firsthand about career options. History student internship locations have included the University of Iowa Women’s Archives, the State Historical Society of Iowa, the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum, the African American Historical Museum and Cultural Center of Iowa, the Washington Center in Washington, D.C., and The Cloisters in New York City. Students also may combine internships with study abroad.
At the History Writing Center, undergraduate history majors can get assistance with writing assignments and learn to strengthen their writing skills.
Faculty, Facilities, and Resources
The Department of History is located in Schaeffer Hall, one of five historic buildings on the university's Pentacrest, just two blocks from the Main Library, which has strong holdings in all aspects of U.S. history. The library houses the Henry A. Wallace papers and related items, the Iowa Women’s Archives, and other collections that will help you with your research.
Through its affiliations with several other university programs, the department also offers access to materials from a variety of disciplines and resources. The State Historical Society of Iowa, in Iowa City, and the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum, in West Branch, Iowa, also are available for research.
Iowa graduates have job placement rates ranging from 86-100 percent, depending on their area of study, and our Pomerantz Career Center offers multiple resources to help students find internships and jobs.
Iowa’s history graduates regularly meet the admission requirements of the best graduate and professional schools in the country. They also find careers in the health sciences, journalism, law, ministry, and in public service, including politics and philanthropic foundations. Many become history teachers in elementary and secondary schools.
Apply to the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.