History courses emphasize careful reading and analysis of original sources in order to approach the past on its own terms. But we also stress that studying history is an interpretive process requiring attention to methods, theories and scholarly debates. The training students receive in research skills, critical analysis and expository writing prepares them to pursue careers in business, education, law, public service and a variety of other professions.
The history major is compact enough that many students choose to double major, add a minor or sample broadly the rest of the W&L curriculum.
Our department offers a variety of courses and perspectives on the remote and recent histories of the United States, Europe, Latin America, Africa, the Middle East and East Asia. It supports programs in Africana Studies, East Asian Studies, Environmental Studies, Latin American and Caribbean Studies, Medieval and Renaissance Studies, Russian Area Studies, and Women and Gender Studies, and offers courses in the history of science.
The history major takes students up a ladder from introductory surveys and seminars (100-level courses) through intermediate courses (200-level) to specialized research seminars (300-level courses).
As a history major, you will choose from a wide array of offerings to build a course of study!
History students may pursue an internship at a public or private agency or institution and can earn history credit for their experience.
W&L offers a range of study abroad options supported by the resources necessary to ensure a suitable international experience for any student. The History Department sponsors several trips during the Spring Term. W&L strongly encourages student research. The History Department can provide financial assistance to students who wish to attend conferences or to engage in research travel.
The Washington and Lee History Department offers advanced students the opportunity to undertake significant original research culminating in an honors thesis. Successful candidates earn a Bachelor of Arts degree with honors in history.
Our graduates have gone on to careers in public service, government, teaching, museum curating, law, business, finance and more.