People often think of studying history as a matter of memorizing names and dates. While having a command of basic facts is important, college-level study of history shifts the focus to learning how to ask new questions, find new evidence, incorporate more voices, and reconsider old assumptions. As a UCSC history major, you will cultivate a broad understanding of human history across time and space. You will learn how the challenges that confront us today like economic inequality, environmental degradation, and racism, have developed and changed over time. You will explore the patterns of social movements and political transformation that help us understand how people change the world. History is about the past, but it is also about understanding the world we live in today.
Study and Research Opportunities
As a history major you will explore your existing interests — and discover new ones — by taking a wide range of courses that focus on different geographic regions and time periods. At the same time, you will develop deep knowledge of a particular region of the world by choosing an area of specialization: Europe and the Mediterranean World, the Americas and Africa, or Asia and the Pacific. We also encourage students to specialize in multiple sub-fields, including imperialism, colonialism, gender, race, science and technology, and the environment.
Information for First-Year Students (Freshmen)
High school students planning to major or minor in history need no special preparation other than the high school courses necessary for UC admission. Some background courses in history and a non-English language are helpful but not essential. History majors can readily incorporate BOTH study abroad (see below) and focused internship experiences, like the UC Washington Center (UCDC) and UC Center Sacramento (UCCS) programs, into a four year plan of study.
Information for Transfers
Transfer students are enthusiastically encouraged to study history at UCSC! The history major can be readily completed within two years, even if you haven’t completed any preparatory history coursework prior to transferring.
While it is not a condition of admission, students from California Community Colleges are advised to complete the Intersegmental General Education Transfer Curriculum (IGETC) in preparation for transfer to UCSC. You may also wish to consult the UC Transfer Pathway for History.
People often express the sentiment that history is fascinating, but raise questions about its practicality as a college major. The thing is, employers regularly express a need for the skills that studying history instills. History majors develop skills in critical reading, effective research, analytical thinking, and clear, persuasive communication. Such skills are the essential foundation for jobs directly connected with the field, like teaching, research, and working in public history venues such as museums, archives, and libraries. These skills are also invaluable to careers in law, business, government, foreign service, management, publishing, journalism, social media, and many others.
History is one of the best majors for studying abroad! The UC Education Abroad Program (EAP) offers students an opportunity to study abroad in over 40 countries with 171 program options, the majority of which offer history courses that are readily applied to history major requirements. All history students, including transfers, are encouraged to study abroad to gain a unique perspective on cultures shaped by centuries of historical events.
Awards, Honors, and Recognitions
History instructors Grace Peña Delgado, David Anthony, Alan Christy, Matthew Lasar, Catherine Jones, Bruce Thompson, Gail Hershatter, and Cynthia Polecritti, have all received Excellence in Teaching Awards or Dizikes Faculty Teaching Awards. Both awards honor faculty for their commitment to transformative teaching.
Associate professor of history Marc Matera has been selected as a 2019 American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) Fellow.
Katherine Canavan is a former U.S. diplomat and foreign service officer. She has served as the U.S. Ambassador to Lesotho and Botswana.
Cary Fukunaga is a director, writer, and cinematographer. He won an Emmy Award for directing the HBO series True Detective. He is the director and co-writer of the upcoming James Bond film, No Time to Die.
Dominic Martinelli is Vice President and Chief Information Officer at SGI, one of the world’s leaders in technical computing.
General Catalog Information
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Santa Cruz, CA 95064