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.

Top U.S. Schools with Majors in History

1. Princeton University in Princeton, NJ

Princeton University is an Ivy League school that U.S. News & World Report ranked second among national universities in 2011. The university also ranked number one in the nation for its graduate history program, according to U.S. News & World Report in 2009.

Through the History Department, students can earn a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) and 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 pre-modern European history. Focused and multidisciplinary courses are taught by roughly 60 faculty members.

2. University of California - Los Angeles

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 25th overall for 2011; as of 2009, UCLA's graduate history program also ranked ninth in the nation. With more than 70 faculty members and around 1,500 undergraduate and graduate students, the History Department at UCLA is among the largest in the country.

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

The University of Pennsylvania is a private, Ivy League research school that U.S. News & World Report ranked fifth among national universities in 2011, as well as among the top ten for its graduate history program in 2009. As of 2011, the university's Department of History had approximately 40 permanent faculty members.

The undergraduate history curriculum includes a regional concentration in U.S., European or world history. Sub-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 also offered.

List of Ten Good Schools in the U.S. for History Majors

College/University Name Distinction Location
Princeton University Center for Collaborative History Princeton, NJ
Stanford University Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies Stanford, CA
University of California - Los Angeles Minor in the history of science and technology Los Angeles, CA
University of Chicago Workshops for graduate students Chicago, IL
University of Michigan - Ann Arbor Frances and Kenneth Eisenberg Institute for Historical Studies Ann Arbor, MI
University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill Military history program Chapel Hill, NC
University of Pennsylvania Study abroad options for undergraduates Philadelphia, PA
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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