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History only begins with the memorization of dates and facts. Properly understood, history involves analysis and understanding of peoples and societies, of the process of change, and, ultimately, of our own culture. It is essential to understanding not just our past, but also our present and our future. History enables us to make sense of events by allowing us to comprehend how things change, what factors cause change, and why elements of our culture endure or fall away. And at its best, history can grant us the ultimate freedom by liberating us-after a fashion-from the constraints of time itself.

The history program at Holy Cross prepares students for graduate study in history, as well as other fields (such as law, politics, administration, journalism, librarianship, and so on) which make use of the transferable skills it teaches. In this article, the National Association of Scholars says, “And small though the history department is at Holy Cross, its major, by NAS lights, compares very favorably with most of the programs included in our survey…[P]ound for pound, it’s one of the most solid history majors that I’ve seen for some time, the kind that can really prepare students for teaching, law school, graduate work in history or any number of professional callings.”


Program Focus

Holy Cross trip to RomeHistory courses at Holy Cross offer students the opportunity to enrich their knowledge of their culture, their country, and their world through exposure to both survey and period-specific courses. A history major can:

  • Provide students with the necessary preparation to pursue graduate education;
  • Establish skills necessary for a successful career, such as written communication, research techniques, critical thinking, and analytical reading;
  • Produce students that demonstrate an essential knowledge of the history of our country; and
  • Prepare students to fully appreciate and enjoy their global experience trip.

Why you should study history.

Major Requirements

Complete History Major Requirements

Sample of Classes Required In Major

Required Courses Must take all of the following: Credits
HIST 151 US History I 3
HIST 152 US History II 3
HIST 351 Colonial America 3
HIST 421 Senior Seminar in History 3
HIST 352 Revolutionary America 3
HIST 353 Republican America 3
HIST 354 Civil War and Reconstruction 3
HIST 355 Gilded Age and Progressive America 3
HIST 356 Modern America 3
HIST 357 America Since 1945 3
HIST 358 Latin America 3
HIST 422/THEO 422 Catholicism in America 3
Total 36

Must also take 57 core curriculum credits.
Must also take 27 open elective credits.

Minor Requirements

Complete History Minor Requirements

Sample of Classes Required In Minor

Required Courses Must take all of the following: Credits
HIST 151 US History I 3
HIST 152 US History II 3
Must take 4 of the following:
HIST 234/SPAN 234 Latin American Culture and Civilization 3
HIST 323 Greek Civilization 3
HIST 324 Roman Civilization 3
HIST 325/THEO 325/ARTS 325 Rome: The Art, Culture and History of the Eternal City 3
HIST 326 Medieval Europe I 3
HIST 327 Medieval Europe II 3
HIST 331 Renaissance and Reformation 3
HIST 332 Early Modern Europe 3
HIST 333 Nineteenth-Century Europe 3
HIST 334 Twentieth-Century Europe 3
HIST 335/THEO 335 Church History 3
HIST 351 Colonial America 3
HIST 352 Revolutionary America 3
HIST 353 Republican America 3
HIST 354 Civil War and Reconstruction 3
HIST 355 Gilded Age and Progressive America 3
HIST 356 Modern America 3
HIST 357 America Since 1945 3
HIST 358 Latin America 3
HIST 359/THEO 359 Catholic Church in America 3
Total required for minor 18


Angel Cortes, Ph.D.
Chair, History Department
The history major at Holy Cross is focused on developing research skills, critical thinking and disciplined study. I have spent my career conducting thorough, detailed research, and there is nothing more thrilling than finding and reading material for the first time. Cortes’ new book is Sectarianism & Orestes Brownson in the American Religious Marketplace (Palgrave Macmillan, 2017). I have also conducted research in the following libraries and archival depositories:

  • Sterling Memorial Library & Beinecke Library (Yale U.)
  • Widener Library & Pusey Library (Harvard U.)
  • Firestone Library, Marquand Library, & Mudd Manuscript Library (Princeton U.)
  • Bancroft Library & Newspapers/Microforms Library (U. of California, Berkeley)
  • Thompson Library & Archives/Special Collections Library (Vassar College)
  • Clapp Library (Wellesley College)
  • Hesburgh Library, Rare Books/Special Collections, and Archives (U. of Notre Dame)
  • Butler Library (Columbia U.)
  • Neilson Library (Smith College)
  • Joseph Regenstein Library (U. of Chicago)
  • Bentley Historical Library (U. of Michigan)
  • Archives of the Archdiocese of New York & Boston

Christopher Beiting, Ph.D.

Nicholas Bonneau

John Dittmer

Daniel Graff

Bry Martin

Fr. Michael Sullivan C.S.C.


All students in upper-division history classes will produce a research paper that meets collegiate standards. Such an exercise will help students develop an appreciation for the rigorous process of historical interpretation. Students will learn to generate a question that extant historical resources help to answer; collect relevant scholarly materials; generate a precis and annotated bibliography; read selected sources; formulate a thesis and organize identified themes to support it; write the research paper according to the Chicago Manual of Style featuring an argument.

Career Paths

Holy Cross College history graduates have entered a variety of career path, including archives, museums, education and SOMETHING. But the possibilities are endless. Here are some of the most popular jobs for history majors according to Payscale.com.

Popular Jobs for History Majors National Median Pay
High School Teacher $50,200
Paralegal / Legal Assistant $53,100
Intelligence Analyst $80,200
Insurance Claims Adjuster $56,200
Human Resources Manager $70,300
Receptionist $28,000
College/University Admissions Counselor $33,500
Legal Secretary $52,200
Data Analyst $57,200
Restaurant General Manager $56,600
Elementary School Teacher $46,500
Non-Profit Organization Executive Director $65,100
Inside Sales Representative $50,600
Non-Profit Organization Program Coordinator $38,600
Operations Manager $72,500
Marketing Manager $73,100
Customer Service Representative $34,900
Retail Store Manager $49,800
Office Manager $42,200
Administrative Assistant $35,100

Methodology:All data is limited to those with a Bachelor’s degree and no higher degrees who work full-time in the United States. Jobs are listed in order of relative popularity among graduates with a Bachelor’s degree in the given major from any college. Median salaries listed. See full methodology for more at www.payscale.com.


Department Contact

Angel Cortes, Ph.D.
Chair, History Department