History is one of the largest academic departments at Oberlin. Interdisciplinary by design, we engage our students in numerous subjects approached through a variety of methodologies to help them become astute observers, practiced researchers, and critical thinkers. Our students study history and historical narratives in different cultures, and political and social institutions in order to become competent communicators, able to interpret information and express ideas in written and oral forms.
What else makes the study of history at Oberlin appealing?
- We introduce our students to the joys of historical research, learning how to pose and answer significant and meaningful questions.
- Our history faculty members are accomplished, widely published scholars, and committed teachers.
- History faculty are involved in the life of the campus and community.
- History courses provide entry points into many related fields of study, including comparative American studies, Jewish history, African American history, the classics, East Asian studies, and gender, feminist, and women's studies, among others.
History graduates are among the most well-rounded and satisfied Oberlin alumni. They also make our department the largest undergraduate source of students for doctoral degrees in history of any liberal arts college in the country.
Our students study a broad range of historical viewpoints and events, problems and approaches to the societal, cultural, political, intellectual, economic, and global challenges and developments. Rigorous coursework coupled with a research component helps our students gain deeper understanding of themselves and the world around them. The study of history informs majors and non-majors alike about how to make sense of the world by comprehending how the past influences the present and how the past can shape the future.
Off-campus programs enrich the educational experience as students can study abroad, pursue an internship with a local historical society, archive, or museum, go after a media-sponsored fellowship, or participate in community service endeavors. In consultation with their advisors, history majors develop a balanced program of historical study encompassing a concentration in a geographic, chronological, or thematic category.
History majors complete Oberlin with highly developed skills in writing, research, and presentation; data collection and analysis; and critical thinking and problem solving. While some Oberlin graduates become historians or archivists, many more have careers in diverse areas including public policy, musicology, foreign service, law, education, documentary filmmaking, publishing, or community health advocacy.