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Students don't memorize dates. They learn to understand and interpret history.

If you major in history at Augustana, you’ll be in a program nationally recognized for innovative teaching of history. You’ll learn through experiencing history — it is possible — instead of just memorizing facts.

Becoming historically minded, you’ll develop skills it takes to solve contemporary problems: data analysis, empathy, information literacy, perspective-taking.

You’ll choose one of five Compass Points to fit your current passions, career goals and vision for the future:

History communication – How the public engages with the past (for museum studies, library science, digital history, journalism, documentary-making, historic preservation).

Social justice – What history tells us about current inequalities and social change (social services, human rights work, religious work and more).

Nations and global politics – Complex interactions between people and systems, local concerns and global movements (law, politics, international relations, public relations, peace studies).

History education – Learning to teach not just history, but historical thinking (for teaching in the secondary schools).

Information analytics – Tailoring your major to your particular goals (examples include civic and workplace leaders in STEM, sales, business, health fields, and more).

What you'll learn

Intellectual curiosity

Intellectual curiosity

Set yourself up for lifelong intellectual growth. Take responsibility for your own learning.

Creative thinking

Creative thinking

Combine ideas to create something new. Use imaginative ways of solving problems.

Disciplinary knowledge

Disciplinary knowledge

Gain a deep understanding of your subject and how it connects to other subjects.

Intercultural competence

Intercultural competence

Understand real and imaginary similarities and differences. Use more than one perspective to view issues.

Communication competence

Communication competence

Read and listen carefully. Express ideas (writing or speaking) suited to the audience.


• Augustana offers a major and minor in history, and a history teaching major.

More than 50% of history students double-major. History is ideal for combining with any study of the intersections of people, places and cultures: geography; sociology and anthropology; religion; political science; women, gender and sexuality studies, and more. Most pre-law students choose a history major.

• The six faculty members all have a Ph.D. and are leaders in innovative education methods, published research and international programs; one was honored as the Illinois Professor of the Year.

• Augustana history professors encourage and guide students to study abroad, take internships and participate in academic conferences — and $2,000 with Augie Choice supports any of these experiences.

Recent grads

Maja Johnson '23 is in Uppsala University's Master's Programme in Scandinavian Studies in Uppsala, Sweden.

Stephanie Carreno '23 is a special collections assistant for the McHenry County Historical Society and Museum in Union, Ill.

Fatima Dominguez '22 is a case manager for The Landing in Houston, Texas.

Lauren Hall '22 is a social studies teacher at Edison Junior High School in Rock Island, Ill.

Rosalie Looijaard '22 is a Ph.D. candidate in philosophy at Boston University.

Matt Payton '22 is a special education teacher at Sterling High School in Sterling, Ill.

Monica Thompson  ’21 is a J.D. candidate at Saint Louis School of Law in St. Louis, Mo.

Mikaela Ferrara  ’20 earned a master’s in museum studies from George Washington University and is a collections intern at the International Spy Museum in Washington, D.C.

Rob Williams  ’19 is the Augustana College assistant director of admissions for the Chicagoland region.

Lauren Hall
More Than I Imagined Lauren Hall
“What surprised me was how much support you get from your professors ... the education/history departments made me feel so special. ”
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Rob Williams
More Than I Imagined Rob Williams
“Dr. Calder generously allowed me to join his research project and let me present the work in settings that are usually closed to undergraduates.”
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Maja Johnson
More Than I Imagined Maja Johnson
“I especially want to thank Dr. Safstrom and Dr. Henry in Scandinavian studies and Dr. Ellis and Dr. Leech in history for pushing me to be a better student and aim for my goals beyond Augustana.”
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Patrick McNally

Vikings and opera – beyond the cliché

Athleticism and the arts are a natural at Augustana, especially in opera. Football lineman Spencer Warfield  ’23 and fencer Soryn Richter  ’26 take the stage in “Amahl and the Night Visitors” on April 21 and 23.

Red Rocks, Nevada

How J-term classes impact the student experience

During January term, students take a break from their 15-week semester schedule to engage in a month-long period of intensive learning. Here are four students' J-term stories and photos from several classes.

Old Main

Augustana’s Simonsen contributes to Emmy-winning documentary

Dr. Jane Simonsen, professor of history, was a contributor to the documentary “Jean Seberg: Actress Activist Icon,” winner of a Mid-America Emmy® Award in the historical documentary category.