Department of History

Info for Prospective Students

 

Having a better understanding of people—their brains, cultures, traditions, beliefs, stories—helps people develop superior communication skills and the ability to understand and appreciate diverse points of view. While you’re being inspired by the greatest minds and moments of the past and present, you’re setting yourself up for success in the future, no matter where you’re heading. If you're considering a history major, you'll be able to count on close mentoring and academic relationships with departmental faculty members who are focused on your success.

Formal engagement between students and faculty members takes place in a variety of ways. Students explore independent research through directed studies, some of which eventually lead to honors or B.Phil. degres. Each student in a directed study meets regularly with a mentor, who helps them define projects, find relevant sources, and craft one or more writing assignments on those topics. Students also engage with faculty by working with them as research assistants on the faculty member’s own research. Students who have demonstrated prior success in certain courses may be tapped as undergraduate teaching assistants; several students serve in this capacity each term and earn credit as well as valuable experience as teachers in their own right. But much of the broader mentorship that happens occurs on more informal levels. As students come to know professors (usually after having taken one or more classes with them), those faculty members become invaluable sources of advice, guidance, and often provide letters of recommendation for jobs, internships, or professional and graduate schools.

Meet Award-Winning Faculty Member Liann Tsoukas

Outside of the classroom opportunities and plentiful, and the department encourages students to secure internships; common sites include the university’s Archives Service Center, the Heinz History Center, Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Hall and Museum, and others. Every student intern checks in regularly with a faculty supervisor and is given the opportunity to reflect on how those internships are helping them to acquire valuable skills and to shape their professional choices.

The department’s newest internship opportunity for majors and non-majors alike is through the World History Center. The Center's Digital Atlas Internship focuses on training in digital history and development of a global atlas of world history. The program dovetails with initiatives in data science, digital humanities, and related areas campus wide and at the World History Center. Ryan Horne, the Digital History Postdoctoral Fellow at the WHC, trains and directs students who author digital atlas projects on topics of their choosing, while Ruth Mostern, Director of the WHC, serves as primary faculty supervisor alongside other faculty mentors with subject-matter expertise. Students practice digital history, complete digital publications, and perform independent research.

For more information about our department, or to schedule a visit or tour, please contact the Dietrich School's Manager of Undergraduate Recruitment, Nicole Horvath, at nicolehorvath@pitt.edu.