History courses examine political, economic, social, cultural, and intellectual developments and institutions over time. They focus on the causes and consequences of change. The department's goal is to train students 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, and public affairs, but the majority have pursued a wide range of occupations in business. The major also provides an excellent basis for graduate training in many public policy fields.
The department offers a program of independent research under the direction of an individual faculty member through the Honors Thesis in History (History 391, 392). 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.