As a history major, you’ll be able to take advantage of the department’s particular strengths in ancient, medieval and modern European history; American, Latin American and Asian history; as well as in a unique history of science program. In addition to a wide range of introductory and advanced courses that will help train you in critical thinking, superior organization and good writing skills, you can engage in independent research for credit.


Want to start right away? Here are some basic requirements for students wanting to major in history. Keep in mind this isn’t the complete list of formal requirement — that list can be found on the Courses of Study page.

  • Nine history courses (with a grade of “C” or better)
  • Three of the nine courses must be in history before 1800 (Courses that fulfill the Arts & Sciences historical breadth requirement do not necessarily fulfill the History pre-1800 requirement.)
  • For the graduating classes of 2019, 2020, and 2021, four of the nine courses must be courses categorized as outside of U.S. History.
  • For the graduating class of 2022 and beyond: Four of the nine courses must be taken from one each of the following five categories: Asian, North America, European, Global South (Africa/Caribbean/Latin American and Middle East), and Transregional (Transregional, Comparative, and Methodological). 
  • Two of the nine courses must be seminars, and one of these seminars must be a 4000-level seminar.  Service-learning 4000-level courses, HIST 4001, HIST 4002, may not be used to fulfill the 4000-level seminar requirement. 

Sample classes

  • History of Law
  • Refugees
  • History of Exploration: Land, Sea and Space
  • Energy in History


All information below is based on the 2014-2018 First-Destination Post-Graduate Survey. Lists are not exhaustive, rather they are a sampling of the data. "Other" includes time off, travel, volunteer experiences, and/or preparing for graduate school. If you would like more information, please email as_careers@cornell.edu

56%   Employed
24%   Attending Grad School
9%     Seeking Employment
11%     Other

65% of the Class of 2014-2018 History graduates completed the survey. n = 189

Below, you will find:

  • Top Employment Sectors
  • Where Graduates Work
  • Top Graduate Fields
  • Where Graduates Study

Top Employment Sectors

  • Financial Services (16%)
  • Nonprofit Organization (15%)
  • Education (14%)
  • Law (10%)
  • Consulting/Prof. Practice (9%)
  • Business - Other (8%), Communications & Media (8%), Government (8%)
  • Technology (5%)
  • Hospitality (3%)
  • Retail (2%)
  • Biotech/Pharma/Life Sciences (1%), Real Estate (1%)

Where 2014-2018 History Graduates Work

Employer Job Titles
Accenture Management Consulting Analyst
Allegiant Competition Analyst
Alphasights Ltd Associate
American Enterprise Institute Media Relations/Marketing Coordinator
Art19 UX Designer
Barclays Corporate Banking Analyst
Equity Trading Analyst
Bernberg Bank Project Assistant
Bulletin Brand Experience Leader
Carnegie Endowment for International Peace Carnegie Junior Fellow
CEB Research Analyst
Business Research Analyst
EAB Business Development Associate
Emanuel Di Donna Gallery Assistant
Five Points Learning Assistant Director
French Ministry of Culture Teaching Assistant
Gelber Group Discretionary Trader
Gobierno de la Comunidad de Madrid English Language and Culture Conversation Assistant
Teaching Assistant
ideas42 Associate
Jones Legal Legal Assistant
Marian Goodman Gallery Gallery Assistant
MDMC Law Paralegal
Morgan Stanley Wealth Management Rotational Analyst
MRP Realty Financial Analyst
National Geographic Photo Coordinator
Ohlinger Studios/Pearson Portfolio Management Assistant
Onishi Gallery Gallery Assistant
Peace Corps Community Health Volunteer
Peter Freeman, Inc. Gallery Assistant
Progressive Education Lab Fellow
Public Library of Science Publications Assistant
Restaurant Brands International Leadership Development Program Analyst
Sasakawa Peace Foundation USA Research Intern
Shihezi University Princeton in Asia Fellow
Student Conservation Association Conservation Corps Member
Sullivan & Cromwell LLP Real Estate Legal Assistant
Teach for America Corps Member (2)
Middle School Social Studies Teacher
The Atlantic Ad Op Trafficker
The Expert Institute Research Analyst
United States Army Armor Officer
Washington Office on Latin America Citizen Security Research Intern

Top Graduate Fields Pursued

  • History of Art (13%)
  • Education (13%)
  • Law (13%)
  • Political Theory & History (13%)
  • Journalism (7%). International Relations (7%), Medicine (7%), Cornell-Heidelberg Exchange Program (7%), Hosp & Health Services (7%), Pharmacology (7%), Russian & Soviet Studies (7%)

Graduate Degrees Pursued

  • JD (36%)
  • MA (27%)
  • MS (16%)
  • PhD (7%)
  • MD (4%)
  • MHA (2%), MPH (2%), Post-Bacc (2%), Certification/License (2%)

Where 2014-2018 History Graduates Study

  • Columbia University in the City of New York
  • Courtauld Institute of Art
  • Ithaca College
  • Johns Hopkins University
  • SOAS University of London
  • Thomas Jefferson University
  • University of California-Berkeley
  • University of Chicago
  • University of Glasgow
  • University of Heidelberg
  • University of Minnesota-Twin Cities
  • University of North Carolina
  • University of Oxford
  • University of Pennsylvania
  • University of Vermont