When I came to Furman, I had no idea what I wanted to study or what I wanted to do after college. Luckily, since Furman is a liberal arts school with quite a few general education requirements, I was able to take all kinds of different classes to see what I was interested in. I also spent a lot of time in the Malone Center for Career Engagement trying to figure out what in the world I wanted to major in and how I could make a career out of it once I graduate from Furman. I had always been interested in History, but was afraid being a History major would close doors for me. After all, there weren’t many careers I could think of for History majors besides law or teaching, and I know I don’t want to do either of those. Those who I spoke to in the Malone Center proved me wrong, though. They had statistics to prove that History majors at Furman go on to all different types of graduate schools, including business schools. In fact, the majority of History majors at Furman end up working in the business industry in some capacity, according to the information they were able to give me. Once I was convinced I could be a History major and it would not close any doors for me, it was an easy decision.
The Furman website has a great description of the practical skills history majors learn, and how they translate well to just about any occupation. They say, “Our students not only learn about history—the critical study of the past—but in the process, they learn how to read critically, analyze thoroughly, synthesize concisely, and write effectively. We teach communication and problem-solving skills that are applicable across all disciplines and professions.” In the few history courses I have taken, I have already seen myself improving in all of these areas.
To complete the History major at Furman, one must take at least nine history courses, including:
- One foundation course focused on European history
- One foundation course in North American history
- One foundation course considering the history of Africa, Asia, or Latin America
- At least four more advances history courses numbered 200 or greater
- HST-475 Senior Seminar in History
- At least one additional history course
- At least one of the nine required credits must come from a course that refers to a period prior to 1800
Many of the history classes offered cover super interesting topics. Perhaps my favorite class I’ve ever taken, across all subjects, was HST-330 Frontier and the American West with Dr. O’Neill. It counted towards my major, as well as the Writing and Research intensive GER, and in it we covered the evolution of the frontier prior to and throughout American history. So many people think of the frontier as the way it has been displayed in Western movies and other fictional platforms. It was cool to learn about what actually happened in the “Wild West,” and compare it to the way it has been portrayed in popular culture.
There are also study away options associated with the History department. This past May, I was supposed to take a MayX course that traveled to London and throughout France studying World War I. Unfortunately this course was cancelled due to Covid, but I’m hoping to participate in it next year. Furthermore, many semester long study away opportunities are frequently led by History professors and students have the opportunity to take history courses on many of these programs. I have my fingers crossed I’ll still be able to study in Edinburgh, Scotland in Spring 2021. There are a number of other opportunities associated with the history department as well. A number of research opportunities are also available for History majors at Furman as well.
I am really looking forward to taking more History courses at Furman over the next two years, and I encourage more incoming students to consider becoming a History major!