Learning from the past. History

History is certainly full of important dates, figures, and events. But as an academic discipline, it’s far more than memorizing facts. We like to say that our history majors aren’t walking encyclopedias, but rather practitioners of many skills. Studying history teaches you to argue persuasively, reason logically, and write clearly.

Credential Type

  • B.A.

Major Credits Required

  • 36

Offered As

  • Major, Minor

Majors & Concentrations

  • History, History/Social Science for secondary education, History Major with Honors

98.9% employed or in graduate school

Within six months of graduation, nearly 99% of Wheaton’s Class of 2021 found work in their field or continued their education.

25 miles from downtown Chicago

One of the country’s largest, most diverse metropolitan areas is a short train or car ride away.

11:1 student-faculty ratio

Small class sizes mean individualized attention and greater access to faculty.

Connect with Admissions

You can reach us anytime via admissions@wheaton.edu.

History Marker on outside of Blanchard Hall at Wheaton College

Why Study History at Wheaton?

In today’s fragmented, fast-paced society, a true and rich understanding of political, cultural, and religious environments. Studying history will help you change the world for Christ and his Kingdom. It will also equip you well to pursue your professional goals. History majors sharpen a host of intellectual skills, including the ability to read analytically, reason carefully, argue logically, and communicate persuasively. Studying history at Wheaton provides students with a diverse selection of course offerings by outstanding faculty members who integrate faith into the curriculum and foster an environment of community through small class sizes.

You’ll be introduced to the joys and challenges of studying the past in such a way that you’ll better understand yourself, your own culture, and the broader world. And you’ll be equipped for a variety of vocational paths, including business, politics, law, journalism, teaching, the ministry, and further graduate work in history.

Build Your Own History (Major)

Intentionally flexible with course requirements, our program encourages students to customize their education to fit their passion and goals. For example, a history major with a passion for social justice could take elective courses centered on civil and human rights. Or a student with a second major in a language could focus their electives on the cultural and political history of a certain part of the world.

What You’ll Learn: Sample History Courses

As a history major at Wheaton, you’ll take core classes in global, American, and Christian history as well as a variety of elective courses in historical eras, issues, and locations of your choice. Class options include:

  • U.S. Cities and Suburbs
  • American Revolution
  • Renaissance Europe
  • The Great War
  • Introduction to Asian Studies
  • The Construction of Modern Japan
  • Race, Justice, and Reconciliation in U.S. History
  • Medieval Saints & Sinners
  • History of Philosophy

Faces and Spaces Where You’ll Learn, Who You’ll Meet

Our Faculty

Our faculty members specialize in a wide range of eras, regions, cultures, issues, and other areas of expertise including Christianity and the Great Depression, women’s and family history, civil rights, Korea-U.S. interactions, British religious history, the French revolution, modern Middle East, and world Christianity.

Our Department & Resources

Wheaton College's Library is well-stocked, complete with special collections and archives. And the Department of History itself is a gathering spot; with collaborative spaces, cafe tables, and at the coffee and tea station, you'll often find students studying together.

Our Experiences

Our students engage in independent research, see history come to life while studying abroad, and participate in many clubs and organizations. History majors also benefit from our proximity to Chicago and its world-class museums, architecture, historic sites, and other significant points of interest.

Wheaton Students Group Photo in the Holy Lands 2014 Judean Wilderness
Featured Program

Wheaton in the Holy Lands

Experience the land of the Bible with Wheaton professors and local experts. During this six-week study tour program, you will explore the New Testament, Christian theology, and historical geography in places such as Israel, Greece, Turkey, and Italy. Locations, itinerary, and courses vary from year to year.

Learn More About Wheaton in the Holy Lands

WITH Wheaton Opportunities Across Campus & Beyond

Interdisciplinary learning is a way of life at Wheaton. Aside from your work within your chosen major, you can enrich your educational experience and connect with peers and professors across campus (and beyond) in many ways.

Real-World Learning at Wheaton & Beyond

  • Wheaton in Korea
  • Human Needs and Global Resources (HNGR Program)
  • Honors thesis option
  • Teaching assistantships
  • Other study abroad and domestic travel experiences including Wheaton in England, Wheaton in Washington, and Wheaton in China

Related Centers, Organizations & Co-Curriculars

  • Center for Early Christian Studies
  • Center for Faith, Politics & Economics
  • Center for Urban Engagement
  • Mock trial team
  • Phi Alpha Theta (history honor society)

Additional Academic Opportunities: Common Minors, Certificates & Second Majors

  • Political Science
  • Philosophy
  • Classical Languages
  • History/social studies secondary education concentration
  • Pre-law Certificate/pre-law advising program
  • 5th year accelerated master’s degree program in History of Christianity
Wheaton College Blanchard Hall Chandelier

Success After Wheaton What to Do With a History Degree

Some people might ask, “Is a history degree worth it?” Our alumni think so. History majors are well-prepared for a variety of careers and well-equipped for continued study.

Recent Wheaton history graduates found positions such as:

  • Assistant director of outreach
  • Chief of staff
  • Deputy newsletter editor
  • Director of student engagement
  • Education product coordinator
  • Head of school
  • Library web coordinator
  • Senior marketing manager
  • Technical writer

And they’ve worked for companies and organizations such as:

  • National Wildlife Federation
  • Pennsylvania State Senate
  • Trinity International University
  • Tyndale House Publishers
  • U.S. Dept. of Health & Human Services
  • U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security
  • U.S. Department of State
  • U.S. Library of Congress
  • The Washington Post

Our alumni continue their education in graduate and professional programs such as:

  • Drexel University Kline School of Law (J.D.)
  • Johns Hopkins University (M.S., International Economics)
  • Kent State University (M.S., Library & Information Science)
  • Loyola University Chicago (M.A., Public History)
  • Pepperdine University Caruso School of Law (J.D.)
  • San Diego State University (M.A., Asian Studies)
  • University of Buffalo (M.S., Library & Information Science)
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (Ed.D., Educational Leadership)
  • The University of Texas at Austin (Master of Global Policy Studies, International Relations)
  • Vanderbilt University School of Law (J.D.)
  • Wheaton College Graduate School
From History to Law

History Students In Action

“The history major prepared me for a career in the law by requiring me to read large volumes of dense text with a high degree of comprehension. As a history major I was also expected to write clearly and concisely.”

– Ruth Triplet Langworthy '10

With eyes on a legal career, Ruth Triplet Langworthy '10 double-majored in history and philosophy. She says the intensive reading and writing requirements of the history major prepared her well for law school at the University of Minnesota. Ruth advises students interest in pursuing a similar staff to also take classes in business, economics, accounting, and marketing.

Read Ruth's Full Story

Next Steps

Interested in studying history at Wheaton College? Request more information or start your application today.