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Why Study History?

History is not about memorizing names and dates; it's a passionate exploration of the human past that opens up a deeper understanding of human life. Through history you learn to appreciate who you are, the society you live in, and how our increasingly complex world developed. By understanding the past, you gain a more informed perspective -- one that positions you as a global citizen to appreciate what is going on in the world around you, including the political, economic, and ethical debates that fill our media.

But history is more than personal. It helps you understand how the world works. Why do we engage in wars, empire building, and telling others how they should live? If the past informs the present, does it provide clues about how your life might change in the coming decades? In what ways were people in the past different from us? What do these differences tell us about the patterns of development in human society?

The study of history is a good investment in your future. History majors are among the highest-paid liberal arts graduates and are in greater demand than finance and accounting majors. That is because students in history gain a broad cultural background and learn skills of analysis and written communication, valuable traits that are highly desired by employers. CSUB history graduates have established careers in such fields as education, public history, law, journalism, public service (including law enforcement and fire-fighting), library science, business, and politics. 

Click here for more information about careers for history majors.

CSUB's history faculty will train you in the skills you need to build your personal and professional roadmap. You will learn how to write well, critically think through the great issues that will face you in life, apply these skills to prepare you for a good job, and in the process be bitten by the bug to travel and see the world. In fact, our program encourages majors to explore the CSU study abroad program, with sites in over 20 countries.

CSUB history faculty are dedicated to helping students succeed. They have been trained at highly ranked universities and teach a broad range of history courses covering all parts of the globe, including the U.S., Mexico, Latin America, Europe, East Asia, the Middle East, and Africa. They are world travelers and active scholars. Above all they will work with you to expand your understanding of the past and the present.

If you choose, you can use your history major as a springboard to an internship or other applied learning experience. You can also share your love of history with others through the department's History Club, Phi Alpha Theta (the history honor society), History Forum events, and the History Newsletter.

If you love history, then pursuing a BA in History is the right choice! Thousands of successful men and women have done so before you—with careers as diverse as politics and entertainment, including the following:

American Presidents:

  • Theodore Roosevelt
  • Woodrow Wilson
  • Franklin D. Roosevelt
  • John F. Kennedy
  • George W. Bush

World Leaders:

  • W.E.B. Dubois
  • Henry Kissinger
  • Gordon Brown

Supreme Court Justices:

  • Elena Kagan
  • Antonin Scalia
  • Anthony Kennedy


  • Wolf Blitzer
  • Ray Suarez

Business leaders:

  • Martha Stewart
  • Chris Hughes (co-founder of Facebook)
  • Donna Dubinsky (CEO of Palm, Inc)
  • Samuel Palmisano (CEO of IBM)
  • Richard B. Fisher (chairman of Morgan Stanley)
  • Lee Iacocca (CEO of Chrysler)
  • Robert Johnson (CEO of BET TV)


  • Steve Carell
  • Sacha Baron Cohen
  • Conan O’Brien
  • Edward Norton
  • Sean Astin
  • Michael Palin (in fact, his fellow Monty Python founder, Terry Jones, has published extensively on medieval history and hosted a History Channel series on the Middle Ages)
  • Jimmy Buffett
  • Julia Child
  • Larry David
  • Brian Dennehy
  • Janeane Garofalo
  • Ellen Barkin


  • Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
  • Jackie Joyner-Kersee
  • Bill Bradley
  • Grant Hill