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 2022 First-Destination Post-Graduate Survey. Lists are not exhaustive, rather they are a sampling of the data. If you would like more information, please email as_careers@cornell.edu

What can you do with a degree in History?

Graduate school:

In 2022, 27% of history majors embarked on graduate school journeys. They pursued various advanced degrees, with 28% focusing on their JD, 21% working towards an MA, 15% dedicated to an MS, and more. Their graduate field interest ranges from law (30%) to history (9%) and education (6%).

These ambitious individuals have chosen to continue their education at prestigious institutions like Boston University, Columbia University, Duke University, the University of Chicago, and Yale University.


63% of history graduates secured employment, and the majority entered sectors in financial services (17%), education (15%), and consulting/professional practice (14%). Teach for America was the top 2022 employer.

Where 2022 History Graduates Work

Employer Job Titles
Alston & Bird LLP Litigation Paralegal
Bain & Company Associate Consultant
Barclays  Equity Trading Analyst
Becky Grossman for Congress Deputy Political Director
Brooklyn District Attorney's Office Paralegal
Deloitte Consulting Associate Analyst
Goldman Sachs Investment Banking Analyst
Kapitus Paralegal
Proskauer Rose LLP Paralegal
Steptoe & Johnson LLP Paralegal