The history department offers its undergraduate majors many opportunities to gain the kind of hands-on experience employers look for in recent college graduates.
Public History Initiative
The Public History Initiative (PHI), run by the Summersell Center for Southern History, offers students a class to learn more about and practice public history.
The PHI pairs students with organizations on- and off-campus, including the Gorgas House, the W.H. Hoole Special Collections Library, and local churches and clubs, to conduct research and create projects that present their history to the public. This has included oral history exhibits, writing scripts for museum and campus tours, designing information pamphlets, and maintaining websites on these projects.
Communications Coordinator Position
The department employs at least one history major as communications coordinator. This student works 10 hours a week with faculty to craft messages about faculty, staff, and student achievements, take photos, manage social media and more.
Career Placement and Experiential Learning Contacts
The department hosts regular career and internship workshops, speaker events, and luncheons focused on career paths, and is developing a strong network of alumni in a broad range of fields. For more information, see history.ua.edu/careers-in-history.
Peer Mentoring Program
The Department of History’s Undergraduate Peer Mentoring Program is run by undergraduate students who have excelled in their history survey courses, and who wish to help share what they learned in order to help their fellow students.
Mentors run regular study sessions weekly, and aid struggling students in a variety of ways. For more details see history.ua.edu/undergraduate-program/undergraduate-peer-mentoring-program.
The University’s Undergraduate Research and Creative Activity Conference is an annual event that gives undergraduates the opportunity to present their research or creative activity.
URCA participants work closely with faculty advisors to edit and strengthen oral and poster presentations on their research, and compete for cash prizes. Learn more at ovpred.ua.edu/urca.
The Undergraduate Creativity and Research Academy (UCRA), a unit of the College of Arts and Sciences, provides financial support for students’ research and creative projects. Learn more at undergraduateresearch.as.ua.edu.
Undergraduate Honors Thesis
The Department of History offers a wide variety of opportunities for students to conduct and present their own research. This not only allows undergraduates to pursue their historical interests, but also provides critical training in research methods and writing, which are valuable for a variety of future careers.
Two of the most popular are our undergraduate research seminars (HY 430) and the undergraduate Honors Thesis option (HY 499). HY 430 is taken by every major in history (unless taking the honors thesis option). It is a seminar organized around a particular theme, in which the professor will help guide students through all the phases of a research essay, from formulating an interesting historical question, to conducting broad secondary and primary source research, to writing a strong and nuanced paper. HY 499 is for students pursuing history with honors. After taking HY 399 and 498, which prepare students for in-depth primary research and historical writing, students write a thesis with guidance from their advisor.