Study history in the city where George Washington held his first elected office, that changed hands dozens of times during the Civil War, one of the places where the Emancipation Proclamation was first implemented, and that famed country/pop singer Patsy Cline, known for her immortal rendition of “Crazy,” called home.
Hands-on experience in a place steeped in history
With abundant museums, access to the extraordinary archives of local historical societies, and a host of historical sites in varying stages of interpretation, the Winchester region, just on its own, offers a rich vein of stories yet to be tapped, in all their messy, human glory, by curious students.
At Shenandoah, you’ll learn how to make history come alive.
While earning your Bachelor of Science in History, you can use your research skills to:
- Create virtual and augmented reality/immersive video
- Experiences that allow viewers to immerse themselves in the past or better understand history, such as this piece about a Civil Rights-era sit-in
- Help write a book about the Winchester’s history for the city’s 275th anniversary
- Expand the interpretation of a university-owned, 195-acre Civil War battlefield to include the long-silent voices of the enslaved.
- Support the interpretive efforts at Shenandoah’s Cool Spring Battlefield
Hear more about history
The immense historic resources of the Shenandoah Valley are at your command when you study in small, personal, challenging classes in Shenandoah University’s history department. You’ll write a lot and learn even more in this distinctive program in our College of Arts & Sciences.
Partnering with the McCormick Civil War Institute
History majors have hands-on opportunities through Shenandoah’s McCormick Civil War Institute. The Institute offers a paid summer fellowship to qualified history majors to support interpretive efforts at the University’s Cool Spring Battlefield campus.
History majors worked closely with the Civil War Institute director, Jonathan Noyalas, on the research, design and installation of an exhibition about the Battle of Cool Spring. Students also participate in a research project to uncover the stories of the 134 Union and Confederate soldiers who died at the Battle of Cool Spring.
Students have the opportunity to present their research at CWI’s annual spring conference. Qualified history majors assist in the production of the University’s only academic, peer-reviewed journal, Journal of the Shenandoah Valley During the Civil War.
Customize Your Career With a Minor
The world is wide open to you, if you have a history degree and a great minor.
- With a film studies minor, you can prepare for a career as a documentarian
- With a virtual reality design minor or virtual reality design certificate, you can learn to create experiences for historical interpretation and understanding at historic sites, museums and more
- With a minor in media and communication or professional and popular writing, you can focus on a career in journalism, digital media, or as an author of historical fiction
- Pair history with global studies, geography, political science, law and legal systems, or a language (French or Spanish) and you’re getting ready for careers in law, government or foreign service
- Combine it with a minor in the sciences (biology or chemistry) to explore scientific history or genetically based genealogy
- Provide yourself with a great foundation for advocacy work in a wide variety of areas with a minor in environmental studies, gender and women’s studies, law and legal systems, criminology, psychology, sociology, public health, or religion (the Christian Leadership Certificate also fulfills the requirements for a religion minor)
- Focus on the history of humanity through the lens of disease, epidemics, food safety and environment with a public health minor
- Connect it with computer science or data science and find better ways to digitize historical information and documents for easier access
Endless benefits accrue to those who study history
Regardless of the minor or minors you choose, as a history major, you’ll develop skills that will help you understand not only the past, but also the motivations, messages, problems and possibilities of the present. Once you complete your studies, you’ll emerge as an empathetic and adept communicator, able to solve problems, research solutions, and excel in any environment.
Declaring A Minor
Shenandoah students work with their Academic Advisor to declare a minor. Academic Advisors will continue to work with students to ensure that they fulfill all of the requirements to complete the minor.
Incoming students should not indicate their intended minor on their Shenandoah application. Applications are for intended majors only.
Gain Expertise With Certificates
Gain even more expertise in sharing history’s stories by earning certificates
At Shenandoah, you can also earn a Public History Certificate. You’ll get hands-on training in presenting history to people outside of academic environments, honing the investigative, critical and analytical skills needed to curate and interpret museum collections, uncover and process archival materials and other primary sources, document an area’s historic structures, conduct oral histories, create documentary films, work in tourism development and help preserve historic buildings and sites.
If you’re interested in focusing on the Civil War experience, you can earn our Civil War Era Studies Certificate, which focuses on the lead up to the U.S. Civil War, the conflict itself, and the war’s legacy. Shenandoah students receive a unique, up-close perspective on the war, studying at a university that owns a 195-acre battlefield site in rural Northern Virginia along the Shenandoah River.
At Shenandoah University you can study history in collaboration with our renowned program in film studies and production to gain a Certificate in History and Documentary Film. In the history program you will have opportunities to study and conduct original research in subjects of interest to you. At the same time, you can gain basic skills in the film program that are necessary to producing a documentary from your historical studies. This certificate can open doors to exciting career opportunities in producing the documentaries that are so popular on television and in movie theaters today.
Imagine studying history at Shenandoah University, taking courses in your favorite field, conducting your own research projects, and then creating a virtual experience based on them. Make that dream a reality with guidance and assistance from the university’s widely acclaimed Shenandoah Center for Immersive Learning as well as from prestigious faculty members in Applied Technology and visiting experts in the field. All the while, you will be earning a Certificate in History and Immersive Technology that accredits the basic skills you possess in transforming historical events into virtual or augmented reality experiences. This certificate can open doors to exciting career opportunities in interpreting and even recreating the past using one of the newest and most exciting media technologies.
Career and Salary Possibilities
A major in History allows you to prepare for the teaching profession at the elementary, middle and secondary levels. History provides a firm foundation for many careers including museum and curatorial positions, law, journalism, teaching, government service, foreign service, as well as admission to graduate study in a specialized field.
Being a history major at Shenandoah University provides students with skills necessary to be successful in history research, writing, interpretation, and oral communication. The history major sharpens critical thinking and analytical skills, which are qualities that are much desired by a variety of corporations and government entities. Graduates have go on to do great things in the field of history—working as teachers, college/university professors, museum professionals, and government.
Career and Salary Examples for History Majors:
- Elementary School Teacher: $41,300
- High School Teacher: $32,996 – $74,942
- Paralegal: $33,131 – $58,793
- Attorney/Lawyer: $37,814 – $249,165
Jon Bannan ‘14 is currently working on his PHD in History at Millersville University of Pennsylvania. He had the opportunity to work for the National Museum of Bermuda where he conducted research on the American Civil War. His advice to students is to take advantage of the historically rich area that surrounds Shenandoah. The wealth of information and ability to really get hands-on experience is unparalleled.”
The Career Services office provides a comprehensive range of services and resources to assist Shenandoah students in their career search. Services offered include resume and cover letter building, mock interviews, and professional dining etiquette workshops.
Our small student-to-faculty ratio allows for a personalized education.
You will choose electives that develop depth in an area of emphasis such as American or European political and cultural histories or historic preservation.
Required courses in the history major provide introductions to the primary historical traditions of world and U.S. history, political theory, methods of historical research and writing and other disciplines such as economics, literature and art, which bear on the historical process. Students are encouraged to use elective hours to develop depth in an area of emphasis such as American or European political and cultural histories or historic preservation. Students may also prepare for the teaching profession at the elementary, middle and secondary levels. Study methods of historical research and writing and other disciplines such as economics, literature and art, which bear on the historical process
Learning support services are available to all students in every course at Shenandoah. Free peer tutoring with a student who has previously succeeded in the course is available for any course across the university. The Writing Center is available for every stage of the writing process from thesis development to proofreading and bibliography assistance. The Math Enrichment Center is available for math and science assistance. Professors and Academic Advisors across the university also have office hours and open door policies to ensure Shenandoah students succeed academically.
Cool Spring River Campus
Shenandoah University is the only university that owns a Civil War Battlefield that is in very early stages of interpretation.
Come enjoy 195 acres of preservation land along the Shenandoah River for use as an outdoor classroom and recreational space for the university community and general public. This historic property was integral to the July 18, 1864, Battle of Cool Spring. It also serves as a living laboratory for history and the environmental studies programs.
—Professor of History Warren Hofstra, Ph.D.
Join the Honors Program
The College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) Honors Program is a multidisciplinary Honors Program for students who are curious, creative, self-motivated, and eager to engage in their education and community.
Not only do Honors Program students partake in honors courses that emphasize collaboration, service, and communication, but they will also have the opportunity to develop aspects of the program based on their own interests and goals. By participating in the CAS Honors Program you will acquire the tools, knowledge and experiences necessary to make meaningful contributions to your community – whether it be globally, locally, or specific to your life’s work. You will have access to unique courses, exciting experiences and a community of peers and faculty who never stop asking questions and striving for excellence.
Faculty maintain an open-door policy to advise students on major requirements, course work and career planning.
Imagine participating in interesting conversations led by engaging professors who’ve already done what you dream of doing. You’ll be in a small class — the average class size is approximately 12 students — with professors who know your name, care about your success and provide advice as you pursue your academic and career goals.
Julie A. Hofmann
Dean of Arts & Sciences and Professor of HistoryFull Biography
Director, McCormick Civil War InstituteFull Biography
Shenandoah University works on rolling admissions and accepts applications throughout the year. Applications are reviewed individually and holistically.
Submit your application, review required admission materials, and find our admissions standards.
Partnering with the Shenandoah Center for Immersive Learning
How about this: What would it be like to step into the past and experience the debates that created the U.S. Constitution? Shenandoah University’s Shenandoah Center for Immersive Learning, through a partnership with the university’s Department of History and its debate coach, has created an immersive experience that provides any viewer with an in-depth understanding of the thought processes of the nation’s founders. Here’s the backstory for this exciting educational project.
Make studying abroad the highlight of your college experience! Whether you go for a year, a semester, or just a few weeks. You will never forget learning in another culture! The Center for International Programs is here to help you plan your study abroad experience. Start your planning early to ensure the courses you complete abroad count toward your degree and you graduate on time.
Global Experiential Learning (GEL) Program
The Global Experiential Learning (GEL) Program offers Shenandoah students a short-term, faculty-led, study-abroad experience for academic credit. These short-term, credit-bearing, faculty-led programs are offered winter break, spring break, and during the summer. If a course is not within your major, it might be used as an elective.
Shenandoah University is a member of the International Student Exchange Program (ISEP), a global network of 300 universities. This partnership allows students to study for a full semester or year at other member campuses abroad. By working closely with their academic advisors and the study abroad advisor, students can take classes taught in English abroad while receiving Shenandoah credit.
Shenandoah University also maintains direct partnerships with several universities around the world. These relationships allow students from SU to study abroad as exchange students and students from these universities to study at SU. All partner universities offer courses taught in English.