Tuition at any college is not what it may seem at first glance. That’s the sticker price—and it can be a bit jarring! But as you look deeper into the cost of a college education, you’ll soon discover that the actual price equals the “sticker price” MINUS a package of financial aid—consisting of loans, grants, scholarships and work programs—that the College’s finanical aid office will put together for you, making a college education much more affordable than you originally may have thought it would be.
History Major at Messiah College
Combine your love of learning with your desire to gain practical skills as you work toward a Bachelor of Arts degree in history at Messiah College, a nationally ranked Christian college. Our progressive curriculum integrates faith and intellect, and trains students to meet society’s needs for skilled critical thinkers, writers and decision-makers. Our program creates a new type of history student: one who excels in the classroom through academic engagement, and, simultaneously, demonstrates the practical applications of a history degree.
What Makes Our Program Different?
Our faculty, student interaction
As a history student, you are guaranteed a close relationship with your professors. Our faculty are scholars and authors, but are also friends and mentors who have a genuine interest in helping students discover a world of opportunities in the field of history.
Our emphasis on career prep and experiential learning
Every history student is required to complete an experiential learning component, which can range from studying abroad, to interning, to student teaching. And, we diligently work with our Career and Professional Development Center to connect you with the resources you need to prepare for interviews and employment opportunities. We also incorporate class requirements that purposely help you focus on career development, and have intentional career advising meetings and guides that help you prepare for your future job.
Our nationally recognized digital history program
The History department at Messiah College is a leader among Christian colleges in combining the study of history with the application of digital technology. You’ll study classic historical texts, and you’ll also design computer-based historical maps through projects such as the Digital Harrisburg project. You’ll learn historical periods, and will create a public history campaign proposal or participate in an archaeological dig as part of a cross-cultural course in Cyprus. And through it all, you’ll get to work in the field of history before you’ve even graduated.
Our Center for Public Humanities
As a history major, you’ll have the opportunity to be part of the Center for Public Humanities, which implements innovative programs, events and initiatives that engage the broader community in meaningful inquiry, conversation and action. The Center brings together students, faculty and community members discovering what it means to be dynamic partners in the most important civic, scientific and cultural conversations and issues of the 21st century.
Our innovative curriculum
We’re also one of the only Christian college history degree programs in the country to offer a public history concentration and an administrative studies concentration!
By the Numbers
100% of history faculty hold a terminal degree
Ranked as #5 Best Regional College in the Northeast by U.S. News & World Report
82% of 2014 history graduates who responded were employed or in graduate school within six months of graduation
13:1 Student to Faculty Ratio
U.S. News & World Report: “Great School, Great Price” in its region
Top 25 in nation among all undergrad institutions that send students to study abroad
Courses and curriculum
What will I learn?
As a history major, you can choose to pursue a general history course of study, or you can pick a concentration in American history, classical and medieval European history, modern European history, public history, administrative studies or world history. You can also participate in our successful teacher education program and earn your social studies teaching certificate for grades 7-12. No matter what you choose, you’ll leave Messiah College with an exceptional knowledge of the past and the skills to help you succeed in your future career path.
What courses will I take?
Beginning your first year, you’ll take core courses in the history major that will prepare you for upper division classes in the concentration of your choice. Throughout the bachelor degree program, you’ll get to choose from a variety of classes, some of which are listed below.
Sample Course Listing
- Kings, Peasants and Bandits: A Social History of Medieval England view
- From Omaha to Hiroshima: U.S. History, 1890-1945 view
- The Wild, Wild West: Battles Over the American West and the Western Image view
- Historical Methods view
- Archaeology and Historical Interpretation view
- America in the Age of the Revolution view
- Historical Study of Peace view
Careers and outcomes
Want to be a teacher? What about a museum curator? How about furthering a business through fundraising or marketing? A history major can prepare you for any one of these careers, among many others. The transferable competencies you learn through this program such as reading comprehension, analysis, critical thinking, storytelling and communication skills prepare you to take your knowledge and apply it to your specific interests. Just take a look at where some of our alumni have gone—prestigious graduate schools, dream jobs—each uniquely prepared to succeed with their history degree.
Jobs Held by Alumni
- Archival assistant
- Museum curator
- Philanthropy director
- Social studies teacher
- Vice president for sales
- White House staff
Graduate Schools Attended by Alumni
- Duke University
- Harvard University
- New York University
- Penn State University
- Princeton Theological Seminary
- Syracuse University
- University of Massachusetts
- University of Virginia
- Villanova University
- Yale University
Steven Waters '74
Senior Philanthropy Director for Economic Development, World Vision
As World Vision’s senior philanthropy director for economic development, alumnus Steven Waters ‘74 embodies the “worldwide sense of belonging” Messiah College encourages its students to pursue during their undergraduate education and throughout their career. In his current job, Waters engages donors and partners, to collaborate with World Vision as they strive to empower individuals and their communities by building creative economic solutions and providing services in disaster relief, healthcare, education, clean water, child protection, Christian witness, and economic development in the 100 countries World Vision serves.
The skills Waters developed as a history major formed the roots of the foundational skills he needs to perform his job effectively. He says, “The skills I acquired as a humanities student…have prepared me to work with donors who want to co-create solutions for eliminating extreme poverty. Critical thinking, creative writing, innovation and being able to clearly articulate ideas and concepts are foundational to my current position. A study of the humanities builds that foundation unlike any other.”
Throughout his career in executive management, sales and marketing, and while receiving his MBA from the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management, Waters recognized the value of his history degree. He says, “The humanities student is exposed to so many powerful ideas and concepts that it forces you to think in ways that, perhaps, you would never have conceived.”According to Waters, that exposure prepared him for his career as he fostered skills in critical and quick thinking, and learned to communicate and collaborate effectively with others.
Joe Hackman '04
Pastor, Salford Mennonite Church
Alumnus Joe Hackman ’04 effectively lives out Messiah College’s mission to “educate men and women toward maturity of intellect, character and Christian faith in preparation for lives of service, leadership and reconciliation in church and society” as the lead pastor of Salford Mennonite Church in the Philadelphia suburbs. Now in his fifth year with this congregation of 450 members, Hackman provides team leadership for the church staff, interacts with the church board, preaches, teaches, offers pastoral care and helps the congregation with their vision and mission. Hackman says: “…The ethos of servant-leadership that pervades the campus community at Messiah has always been a reminder to me of the value of being committed to a mission greater than myself…This is something that has stayed with me over the years in my vocation as a pastor.”
Storytelling and active listening form the basis for communication in Hackman’s vocation. Equipped with his history degree, Hackman acknowledges that individuals and congregations tell stories all the time—stories about God, themselves, their community, and the wider world—and that these stories matter because they shape our present and our future. He says, “History was a discipline I could use to better understand myself and the world in which I live…Without training in history, I’m not sure I would have the ability or confidence to inspire our congregation to wrestle with the stories we tell ourselves in the same way.”
Hackman’s history education enabled him to pursue his Master of Divinity at Eastern University, and ultimately shaped his calling as a pastor. He says, “Messiah offers the right combination of passionate Christian faith and academic rigor for any humanities student wanting to be challenged to become an effective leader.”
This marriage of Christian faith and academic rigor makes Messiah College a solid foundation for many individuals like Joe, who work to change the world in the name of Jesus.
Bethany Parliament-Chevalier '02
Associate Director of Admissions, Dickinson College
A history major at Messiah College, Bethany Parliament-Chevalier ’02 began to recognize the value of her degree while she was still in school, “I began to see how the study of history was relevant to any industry.” She says, “It taught me to appreciate individuals, institutions and issues in their broader historical context as well as how to sift through large quantities of data, consider multiple perspectives, identify patterns and clearly communicate my findings.”
Now, Parliament-Chevalier works as an associate director of admissions at Dickinson College, where she relies on the lessons learned and skills developed at Messiah every day. “Messiah taught me to lean into the process of learning and discerning value in perceived ‘missteps’ or ‘failures.’” Parliament-Chevalier says of her time at Messiah, “I discovered very early in my career just how much employers valued some of the ‘soft skills’ I had acquired through the study of history. My employers could teach me specific industry-related knowledge, but they couldn’t teach me how to think critically, be a creative problem-solver or appreciate where people were coming from.”
In addition to her degree in history from Messiah, Parliament-Chevalier earned her master’s degree from Columbia University in history and education in 2006 before beginning work at Dickinson. Parliament-Chevalier recognizes the value that a study of history and the humanities can provide. She says that, “Studying in the humanities will teach you about people and yourself; it creates knowledge, skills and experiences that you will value across your lifetime and will be relevant to any industry.”
The history faculty at Messiah College are a passionate team of nationally recognized educators, scholars and practitioners who are dedicated to helping you discover the past, embrace the present and prepare for the future. They hold doctoral degrees from prestigious institutions and are experts in a variety of discipline sub-fields such as public history, American history, digital history, medieval studies, world history and historical archaeology. Combining their critical faithfulness with enthusiasm for the subjects they love, they’ll prepare you to be part of a new generation of historians while thoughtfully guiding you along the way.
Their experience in instructing, writing, publishing and practicing history also translates into ample opportunities for you to get involved in notable learning opportunities both in and outside of the classroom.
“Each of us brings expertise, knowledge and connections at the highest level of the discipline whether it’s ideas, theories, practices or, sometimes, personal connections. We love our students, we want to care for them, and so we try to take all of that really top-level expertise and diligently share it with students.”Jim LaGrand, professor of American history