The history major introduces students to the study of the causes and consequences of change through an examination of political, economic, social, cultural, and intellectual developments and institutions over time. The department's goal is to train its majors to think critically about the events and forces that have shaped the modern world, to analyze and interpret sources and evidence, and to view issues from a variety of perspectives. Those skills have served students well in a wide range of careers. Lehigh history majors have frequently gone on to law school or to work in various areas of education, journalism, public affairs, and business.
The major also provides an excellent basis for graduate training in a wide range of public policy fields. The department offers a program of independent honors research under the direction of an individual faculty member (, ). A maximum of six credits may be used toward this project. Normally students pursue their research in the second semester of the junior year and the first semester of their senior year; the project may also be undertaken during the senior year. Students who do well on their research project will graduate with department honors.