History students on field trip

Historians study the past in its variety and complexity. With such an analysis, students of history gain multiple perspectives on the present and an aptitude to plan intelligently for the future. Although the lessons to be learned from the past are rarely simple, solutions to present-day problems rest on comprehension of historical forces and events. History deepens our understanding of other peoples and cultures. All courses offered in the History Department seek to examine the issues of race, gender, class, and cultural diversity.

The study of history and its methods prepares students for a wide range of careers while also sensitizing them to the complexity and diversity of the past and present. History is an excellent foundation for a broadly based education in the liberal arts.

History (B.A.)

A history major is excellent preparation for students interested in a teaching career, the legal profession, or advanced work in the discipline. Students wishing to become business executives, administrators, and public servants profit immensely by gaining the methodological skills of the historian.

Historians learn to gather, synthesize, analyze and interpret evidence; they become skilled in presenting their conclusions to a general audience in a lucid and logical manner.


History (M.A.)

The M.A. program in history emphasizes concentrated study in area specialties, with students gaining a thorough grounding in the latest historiography. In addition, the program maintains that historical study must be predicated upon sustained research, engagement with historical problems, and written communication.

How to Apply

Please visit the Cal Poly Admissions website for more information on how to apply to Cal Poly.

Admitted Students & Parents

Once You're Accepted is a resource for newly admitted students and their parents to not only celebrate your acceptance but to help your #CPBound journey!

The History department would like to extend our congratulations and warm welcome to the Cal Poly Family!

Transfer Student

  • Selection Criteria for Transfer Students
  • Transfer Course Criteria for History
  • Changing Your Major
    • Incoming Freshmen and transfer students must finish one academic quarter BEFORE starting the change of major process.
    • Students who enter into an Individualized Change of Major Agreement (ICMA) with the department and are not accepted into the History major within two quarters will not be eligible to reapply to the major. In this event, students are advised to consider pursuing a History minor.

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