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Why study history at Ohio State?

1. Career Options

Contrary to popular belief, studying history expands one’s career options. Our students pursue careers in a wide variety of fields: business, publishing, journalism, public relations, non-profit administration, government, law, military and foreign service, libraries and archives, information technology, logistics, education, art and design, medicine and public health, economic development, and regional planning, among many others.

Each spring, many of the companies, organizations, and government agencies at the OSU career fair recruit history majors. Why? A 2015 survey showed a strong preference among employers for job candidates who think critically, communicate clearly, and solve complex problems -- skills the history major will help you develop. And over time, humanities majors earn more on average than their classmates with degrees in professional fields like business.

2. Teaching Excellence

History has more Distinguished Teaching Award winners than any other department at Ohio State. Our department has been recognized with the University’s Departmental Teaching Excellence Award, and has been designated a University Center of Excellence. Members of the most productive and highly cited history faculty in Ohio, the Department’s professors have earned international reputations for scholarship, teaching, and professional service.

"I wish every Buckeye knew that history is all around us. It is not some dusty book you pull off the shelf when you choose. History is your morning coffee, the soil under your feet, and the buildings you pass on the way to class."-- Lauren Sullivan

3. Graduate and Professional School Preparation

The study of history is a great way to prepare for graduate or professional school. In fact, a recent study by the Association of American Medical Colleges found that humanities majors outperformed biological science and most other majors on the MCAT and had higher-than- average matriculation rates. History is also the only major to appear in the top four for both average LSAT scores and admissions to U.S. law schools (Michael Nieswiadomy, “LSAT® Scores of Economics Majors: The 2008–9 Class Update,” The Journal of Economic Education 41 (2010),  331 – 33). 

In the following video, history alum Corey Khan describes how studying history prepared him for law school.

In this video, alum Tyler Webb shares how a degree in history prepared him for medical school.


Over the past two decades, roughly a quarter of our graduates have gone on to earn advanced degrees in areas as diverse as business, public health, animal science, computer science, dentistry, medicine, nursing, education, international relations, law, religion, applied behavior analysis, city and regional planning, history, library and information science, museum studies, public affairs, journalism, anthropology, architecture, counseling, criminal justice, English, art history, foreign languages, security studies, political science, popular culture, sociology, sports administration and management, transportation and logistics management, human resource management, finance, creative writing, drama, film studies, public policy, instructional design, non-profit management, social work, accounting, mathematics, and communications.

4. “High-Impact” Opportunities

History students at Ohio State are encouraged to participate in internships, research, and education abroad. See what our students have to say about the research experience, internships, and education abroad programs in ArgentinaChina, and Ireland.   

5. Preparation for Leadership

History majors make up only two percent of all college graduates in the U.S. since 1980, but (as of May 2016) represent

            38% of the U.S. Supreme Court and 29% of the Ohio Supreme Court;

            25% of U.S. Presidents and 13% of Vice Presidents since World War II;

            19% of the current U.S. ambassadors;

            19% of the current federal cabinet;

            18% of Ohio Governors since World War II;

            15% of the CEOs of the world’s 100 largest non-governmental organizations;

            8% of the CEOs of the Fortune 50 largest American charities;

            8% of the U.S. Senate;

            6% of Fortune 100 CEOs and 3% of Fortune 500 CEOs; and

            6% of the U.S. House of Representatives.

Notable OSU history graduates include CNN presidential historian Douglas Brinkley, Ohio Senate President Larry Obhof, Senior Judge of the U.S. District Court for Southern Ohio James L. Graham, linguist Charles Hockett, Harvard historians Arthur Schlesinger, Sr. and Paul Herman Buck, and diplomats Chester Crocker and John Ong.

"The study of history is not just the study of random facts and dates, but the study of humanity and what it means to live life." - Joshua Hochstat, History Major