A new concentration in United States history, planned for fall 2018, is part of a comprehensive overhaul of the undergraduate history program, designed to help majors better articulate their career readiness, says Jennifer Ritterhouse, faculty member and director of undergraduate programs in history. Beginning in fall 2017, the bachelor’s program has offered four distinct concentrations for history majors:
- Public history, which considers the issues related to preserving historical materials and presenting his- torical information to a broader public. Public history institutions include libraries, museums, archives, and historic sites.
- Global history emphasizes the interconnections between the histories of major world regions, offering insight that will benefit students considering careers in government, business, or with nongovernmental organizations in the international arena.
- Digital history introduces students to digital methods for research, analysis, and presentation of history. Students learn how technology enhances the work of the researcher and opens new avenues for organizing and sharing information.
- Individualized concentration allows students to consider and plan a concentration of study across time periods and geographical lines as appropriate, using the diverse offerings of history courses available at Mason.
The concentration in U.S. history grew from the “sense that students might like to concentrate in U.S. history and have their transcript reflect that work,” says Ritterhouse. “The concentration offers a depth of content in U.S. history but also some training in digital or public history, or an internship, something that will connect with making that movement from college to career.” It is a strong choice for students who wish to work in public service or law, or move on to graduate education.
Each of the concentrations is designed to give students a plan of coursework that helps them understand the work of a historian in roles inside and outside academia, with an eye to career paths that follow from the study of history.
“In advising, I tell students that they are putting together a package to take to the world,” Ritterhouse explains. “This puts a name on your package.”
June 18, 2018