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Top Colleges for a History Major in the U.S.

Undergraduate history programs provide a solid foundation for a variety of careers, from journalism and law to social work and education. History majors at top colleges are exposed to a wide field of study, including U.S. history, global history and the study of ancient civilizations and cultures.

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Top Colleges for History Majors

1. Princeton University in Princeton, NJ

Princeton University is a well-regarded private research university in the Ivy League, and highly ranked by U.S. News and World Report, which placed it second in the national universities ranking in 2011. It was the fourth college to be established in the U.S. and currently serves roughly 7,500 students.

Princeton was also ranked number one in the nation for its History Department by U.S. News and World Report in 2009. It has continued to serve undergraduate and graduate students alike, offering both a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) and a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in various areas of history including American, European, African and various regions of Asia. These are taught by roughly 60 faculty members, some of who also teach courses that are multidisciplinary in nature. According to the department, a well-regarded area of study is pre-modern European history.

2. University of California - Los Angeles

Founded in 1919, the University of California - Los Angeles (UCLA) is a top-ranked research university spanning 419 acres in Los Angeles' Westwood Village. In 2011, U.S. News and World Report ranked UCLA second among all public universities in the country and 25th overall; in 2009, the school's graduate history department ranked ninth. With more than 70 faculty members and around 1,500 graduate and undergraduate students, the history department at UCLA is among the largest in the nation.

At UCLA, history majors are exposed to a broad range of topics, including the study of ancient civilizations, the history of various cultures, eras, nations and religions, and the historical effects of significant social, scientific and technological developments. Graduate students and selected undergraduate students in the Student Research Program may participate in advanced research projects with faculty mentors.

3. University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, PA

The University of Pennsylvania is a private, Ivy League research university. History is one of the school's most popular majors, with approximately 40 permanent faculty members in the department. In 2011, the University of Pennsylvania ranked fifth in U.S. News and World Report's survey of top national universities, and its graduate history department ranked among the top ten in 2009.

The undergraduate curriculum for students in the history program is first separated by regional concentration, where they select the study of U.S. history, European history or world history. Then they select which sub-concentration to study in that area, which includes diplomatic history, economic history, gender history, intellectual history and Jewish history. An option with no concentration is offered as well. History M.A. and Ph.D. programs are also offered.

List of Ten Good Schools in the U.S. for History Majors

College/University Name Distinction Location
Princeton University The Center for Collaborative History Princeton, NJ
Stanford University The Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies Stanford, CA
University of California - Los Angeles Offers a history minor on science and technology history Los Angeles, CA
University of Chicago The workshops available to graduate students Chicago, IL
University of Michigan - Ann Arbor The Frances and Kenneth Eisenberg Institute for Historical Studies Ann Arbor, MI
University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill The military history program of study Chapel Hill, NC
University of Pennsylvania Offers study abroad and credit away options to undergraduates Philadelphia, PA
University of Washington The Harry Bridges Center for Labor Studies Seattle, WA
University of Wisconsin - Madison The George L. Mosse Program in History Madison, WI
Yale University The three combined Ph.D. history programs with African American Studies, Renaissance Studies and the History of Science and Medicine New Haven, CT
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