The Greek historian Thucydides wrote many centuries ago that the study of history is of value to any “who desire an exact knowledge of the past as an aid to the interpretation of the future.” In a diverse and interdependent world, the study of History provides students with the tools to make sense of both the past and present, and to prepare for the future. We cannot hope to address America’s contemporary racial dilemmas without understanding the history of slavery and Manifest Destiny. Nor can we grasp today’s global patterns of poverty and prosperity without grappling with the history of empire and the spread of capitalism. The long history of immigration that has made California’s Central Valley such a diverse region is intertwined with both global and national histories of war, revolution, commerce, culture, and politics.
Though rooted in the study of the past, the tools employed by historians are useful in a broad array of modern careers and professions. History, with its focus on research, writing, and argumentation, is well known as an excellent preparation for graduate school, law school, and other professions. History majors may also find employment related to their degrees in schools, museums, editing and publishing, archives, historic preservation, federal, state and local agencies, and as consultants and contractors.
History majors at UC Merced choose a field of concentration in either United States History or World History. They apply their classroom learning to research problems outside the classroom, where they can contribute to expanding public knowledge and awareness of cultural issues. Students may explore thematic topics such as environmental history, the history of science and technology, the history of migration and cultural intersections, as well as issues of world, national, state and local history.
Current UC Merced faculty members’ areas of expertise include archives and museums, the study of global conflict and diplomacy, American history, world history, political geography, and the digital mapping of historical and cultural phenomena.