Unlike some undergraduate majors, a degree in history or political science does not automatically fit one for a particular job or prepare for a narrowly defined career. Thus one does not necessarily graduate suited only to “do history” in the same way a Nursing degree prepares a student for work in health care or a Christian Studies degree prepares for a career in the pastorate. Rather, a major in history or political science is ideal for any job that requires good writing skills, the ability to perform independently, the ability to condense large amounts of information, and the ability to think critically and to make judgments between opposing points of view. The best answer to the question “What can I do?” is, in fact: “whatever you want to do.”
CSU graduates are currently employed as historic site interpreters at Drayton Hall, the Old Exchange building, and the Gunpowder Magazine Museum; on the staff of the Charleston Count Public Library; teaching in both public and private secondary schools; filling management positions in local business and industry. They are practicing law, serving in the military, working for federal and state agencies and serving in a variety of elected offices ranging from the local level to the United States’ Senate.
Recent alumni of the department have pursued graduate studies at local institutions (the Citadel/College of Charleston, Coastal Carolina University and USC-Columbia), across the country (the University of Georgia; Norwich University; Temple University, and the University of Utah) and overseas (L’Université Laval, University of Nottingham, and the Diplomatische Akademie Wien). Alumni seeking legal careers have continued their studies at the Charleston School of Law, USC-Columbia, Campbell University, Texas Tech, the University of Michigan and Catholic University of America. Other program alumni have earned degrees from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.
The required curriculum for earning a Bachelor of Arts in History or a Bachelor of Science in Political Science degree may be found in the CSU Undergraduate Catalog. Beyond the courses necessary for earning one of these degrees, you will need a desire to learn new things, the willingness to ask questions, and the persistence to seek answers. These majors benefit both those who bring sound academic habits and skills to college with them and those seeking to improve as readers, writers, speakers and thinkers.
History and political science classes are designed to challenge students to enrich their understanding of the world in which we live by considering issues in new ways. This is usually involves lectures, discussions, an emphasis on reading comprehension, and the production of in-class or out-of-class writing assignments of varying length.
To get the most from a history or political science course, you need to accomplish more than completing the various assignments specified in the syllabus. Come to class with an alert, curious intellect (often at 8:00 in the morning), a willingness to think about new ideas and reconsider old ones, and a desire to make connections across subjects, time and space. You should expect to take notes in large quantities, to think about what you have written and to express your ideas in a variety of ways. These courses require participants to do more than simply memorize facts; they are encouraged to develop an informed worldview.
The requirements for a bachelor’s degree in either History or Political Science are somewhat similar. Both programs begin with introductory (100- or 200-level) courses that act as pre-requisites for advanced study. These courses provide students with foundational knowledge and valuable exposure to what each major has to offer. Once students have completed one or two of these “survey” courses, they may enroll in upper-division (300- or 400-level) courses that deal with specific topics, regions or time periods.
Each major expects students to take a combination of required and elective upper-division courses, concluding their studies with the completion of an original research project. In the case of a history major, the final preparation for embarking on the Senior Thesis project is found in the Historiography course. Political Science majors, however, take a statistics course as well as Qualitative Research Methods before beginning their own Senior Thesis. For more details about what is required a Bachelor of Arts in History or a Bachelor of Science in Political Science degree, review the appropriate section of the CSU Undergraduate Catalog and feel free to contact us.
The 100- and 200-level survey classes in both programs are offered every semester—Fall, Spring and Summer. Upper level history and political science classes are offered at least once every four years on a rotating basis. Internships are available any semester for students who meet the requisite criteria.