Why Study History?

The past is endlessly provocative – but also endlessly entertaining and absorbing. The study of history is not just learning about things that happened years ago. History tells us how we got to today – and may help us to chart a course for tomorrow.

Understanding history is also about the imagination. To make sense of the past, we have to look at it on its own terms, rather than according to modern assumptions. Seeing the past through the eyes of those who lived it requires historical imagination – imagination that is informed by critical thinking and analytical skills. History allows us to research, to ask questions, to debate, to write – with the whole range of human experience as the backdrop.

Our graduates go on to careers in law, government, the arts, education, IT, finance – all using the skills they developed while studying history.

Why Study History at Western?

Western's History Department is one of the largest in Canada. In any given year, students can choose from over 70 undergraduate courses. Our classes allow students to engage with their peers and professors, and expand their historical knowledge.  Western's History Department offers modules in History, American Studies, International Relations, and Public History.

Whether you’re interested in politics or people, empires or environments, war, love, capitalism, pirates or zombies, we have courses that will make you think.

When you sign up for a history course, be prepared to be intrigued, appalled, provoked, angered, surprised, but most of all engaged.

History at Work

“My History degree taught me that if you can communicate your research, processes, and findings in a compelling way (that people actually want to read or learn about!) then you’re miles ahead in everything you do. Applying that to project management was a no-brainer for me”
Caroline Gawlik
2016 BA (Honours) History, Western University
2017 MA History, Western University

“Leading people and strategy for an organization, you rarely have a clear path to follow. Studying History trains you to think about the big picture — to see all perspectives and be comfortable with complexity.”
Sean Acklin Grant
2011 BA (Honours Specialization) International Relations, Western University
2012 MA History, Western University

“At work, my History degree helps me ask good questions, create solid project plans, and understand the potential impact of my decisions. It also helps me understand the power we all hold to influence the lives of others.”
Rachel Mansell
2011 BA (Honours Specialization) International Relations, Western University
2013 Master of Global Affairs, University of Toronto Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy

“My degree in History formed the foundation on which I have built my career. Using facts and data to understand and analyze the past allows me to accurately map out the future paths to revenue growth. That contextual approach, paired with the strong research muscle and attention to detail a History degree requires, equips you with all the required skillsets to scale companies, drive strategy & realize success.”
Cailin Radcliffe
2010 BA (Honours Specialization) History, Western University

“My degree in History taught me the value of approaching problems with an eye toward the past. This is an important skill in any workplace, and I've found it very helpful in mine.”
Matt Sparling
2019 BA (Honours Specialization) International Relations, Western University
2021 Master of Global Affairs, University of Toronto Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy

“How my degree helps me at work: Fact-checking and combatting misinformation, critical thinking and writing/communication skills.”
Kate Wilkinson
2010 BA (Honours Double Major) English and History, Western University