Welcome to the History Department
The Department of History at SF State supports the rights of all who come here in search of an education:
Dreamers and Immigrants.
All genders and sexualities.
All ages and religions.
All ethnicities and races.
All disabilities and abilities.
All who strive to achieve.
All who wish to learn.
We need your perspectives in our classrooms. We, all of us together, are the stuff of which history is made.
Why Study History at San Francisco State University?
One of the best experiences about traveling is meeting new people, and discovering qualities in them that are different from you and also qualities that you share. Studying History is like traveling, except in both space and time. You meet new people and by reading the texts they left behind, you see through their eyes what their lives were like. You see how people in the past lived different lives from you and me, but also what we all have in common.
In the History major, you will study the experiences of people in the United States and people from around the world, of people in the recent past and people who lived centuries and even millennia ago. You will see how culture and structures of power created different experiences for people, but also what unites us as humans. Studying the past can help you decide what you want our present and our future world to be.
In college, learning goes beyond the classroom to connecting with your fellow students and the community around SF State. Come spend time in HUM 203, the History Department Reading Room, where you can find a quiet place to study or relax between classes, as well as meet friends that share your interests in history. In a more formal way, students can connect through the History Students Association and the Phi Alpha Theta History honor society. Students can also write and edit for Ex Post Facto, an annual journal created from start to finish by SF State students. Beyond SF State, students can engage the broader community through internships and community service learning.
A History degree is a gateway to a wide variety of careers. You will be building skills in critical thinking, research, writing, oral communication, reasoning, and empathy – all skills that are important in managerial jobs in any field. Traditional fields for History graduates include education, law, and archives/libraries/museums, but our graduates have gone on to a broad range of fulfilling careers from government and non-profits to business and the corporate world to film and television.
California needs teachers! If you are considering teaching at the K-12 level, you are going to want to complete your History BA and a teaching credential, which typically takes 1 – 2 additional years after graduation. Please check back in here during the fall semester – we are going to have a new page of resources for future teachers and will host events for folks who are considering going into social studies education. You may also want to think about adding an Education minor, to start learning about what it’s like to be a teacher.
If you are considering teaching at the university level, you are going to want to complete your BA and then an MA or Ph.D. program. Professors can teach at the community college level with an MA, but a four-year university prefers a Ph.D. in History or a related field. We host a number of events geared toward preparing your grad school application and also panels with community college professors.
Are you considering law school? Check out the Pre-Law Certificate, administered through the Political Science department but including HIST courses that count toward your History BA. This is a good grounding for folks interested in going on to law and public policy professions.
Do archives and museums call to you? Consider a minor in Museum Studies if you are interested in museums, which will help you learn more about that pathway. We would also recommend doing an internship with a local archive or museum while you are an undergraduate. You can be an intern on campus at the Sutro Library or Labor Archives, or you can intern off-campus at a variety of sites. Check out the internship webpage for more information.
How do you envision your future? Talk with your History advisor about your dreams, and we can help you figure out how to work toward them!
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Ex Post Facto
Ex Post Facto is an academic journal produced by the history students of SF State and members of the Kappa Phi Chapter of Phi Alpha Theta. We publish once annually, at the end of every spring semester.