The courses and seminars offered by the History Department attempt to give students a sense of the past; an acquaintance with the social, cultural, and institutional developments that have produced the world of today; and an understanding of the nature of history as a discipline.
The discipline of history is a method of analysis that focuses on the contexts in which people have lived and worked. Our courses and seminars emphasize less the accumulation of data than the investigation, from various viewpoints, of those ideas and institutions--political, religious, social, economic, and cultural--by which people have endeavored to order their world. The History Department's curriculum introduces students to historical methodology and the fundamentals of historical research and writing.
With strong analytical, writing, and research skills, history majors are prepared for a wide range of occupations and professions. Swarthmore College history majors can be found pursuing a broad range of career paths, ranging from government service to the world of medicine, from elementary and high schools to trade unions and public interest foundations, from journalism and publishing to consulting, and from the private to the public sector. Many find that studying history is excellent preparation for law school and business. And others have gone onto graduate school in history and now teach at universities and colleges in the United States and overseas.