Top Colleges for a History Major in the U.S.

Learn about the top colleges for history majors, which can provide students with the academic foundation they need to pursue careers in education, journalism and law, among other areas. Read summaries of three top-notch institutions, and find a useful table that profiles other schools in the U.S. that offer history majors.

School Information

History majors at top colleges are exposed to a wide field of study that can include topics in global and U.S. history, ancient civilizations or specific regional cultures. The three schools featured below include two Ivy League institutions and a research university that offer general and concentrated coursework for undergraduate history students.

1. Princeton University in Princeton, NJ

School Highlight: Princeton's history department ranks highest out of all Princeton departments in terms of faculty members who have won Princeton's President's Award for Distinguished Teaching.

Princeton University is an Ivy League school that U.S. News & World Report ranked first among national universities in 2015. The university also ranked number one in the nation for its graduate history program, according to U.S. News & World Report in 2013.

Through the History Department, students can declare a major as an undergraduate and pursue a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.). Programs can include specialized studies in American, European, African or regional Asian history. According to the department, a well-regarded area of study is the Program in History of Science. Focused and multidisciplinary courses are taught by roughly dozens of faculty members.

2. University of California - Los Angeles

School Highlight: Undergraduate students at UCLA's history department can work with history Ph.D. students at the department's History Writing Center to improve their academic writing skills.

The University of California in Los Angeles (UCLA) is a top research school that U.S. News & World Report ranked second among all public universities in the country and 23rd overall for 2015; as of 2013, UCLA's graduate history program also ranked ninth in the nation.

At UCLA, history majors are exposed to a broad range of topics, including the study of ancient civilizations, the history of various cultures and eras, contemporary nations and religions. They also examine the historical effects of significant social, scientific and technological developments. Selected undergraduates and graduate students in the Student Research Program may participate in advanced research projects with faculty mentors.

3. University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, PA

School Highlight: Undergraduate history majors at the University of Pennsylvania are eligible for numerous prizes recognizing excellence in research papers and projects, including the Marvin and Sybil Weiner Travel Award, granting $1,500 for travel and research.

The University of Pennsylvania is a private, Ivy League research school that U.S. News & World Report ranked eighth among national universities in 2015, as well as ninth for its graduate history program in 2013.

The undergraduate history curriculum includes a regional concentration in U.S., European or world history. Thematic concentrations allow for further studies in diplomatic, economic or gender history, as well as intellectual or Jewish history. Undergraduates can also pursue a general course of study without a concentration. Master of Arts (M.A.) and Ph.D. in History programs are offered to undergraduates upon completion of their degree.

Top Undergraduate History Programs

College/University Name Distinction Location
Stanford University Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies Stanford, CA
University of Chicago Workshops for graduate students Chicago, IL
University of Michigan - Ann Arbor Eisenberg Institute for Historical Studies Ann Arbor, MI
University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill Military history program Chapel Hill, NC
University of Washington Harry Bridges Center for Labor Studies Seattle, WA
University of Wisconsin - Madison George L. Mosse Program in History Madison, WI
Yale University Combined Ph.D. in History programs in African American Studies, Renaissance Studies and the History of Science and Medicine New Haven, CT

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