• <a href="/live/image/gid/73/width/650/86524_History_main_image.jpg" class="lw_preview_image lw_disable_preview" tabindex="-1"><picture class="lw_image lw_image86524"> <source type="image/jpeg" media="(max-width: 500px)" srcset="/live/image/gid/73/width/500/height/479/crop/1/86524_History_main_image.rev.1607734366.jpg 1x, /live/image/scale/2x/gid/73/width/500/height/479/crop/1/86524_History_main_image.rev.1607734366.jpg 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/73/width/500/height/479/crop/1/86524_History_main_image.rev.1607734366.jpg 3x"/> <source type="image/jpeg" media="(min-width: 501px)" srcset="/live/image/gid/73/width/720/height/690/crop/1/86524_History_main_image.rev.1607734366.jpg 1x, /live/image/scale/2x/gid/73/width/720/height/690/crop/1/86524_History_main_image.rev.1607734366.jpg 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/73/width/720/height/690/crop/1/86524_History_main_image.rev.1607734366.jpg 3x"/> <img src="/live/image/gid/73/width/720/height/690/crop/1/86524_History_main_image.rev.1607734366.jpg" alt="Reiko Hillyer, associate professor of history, teaches her popular Crime and Punishment course at the Columbia River Correctional Institu..." width="720" height="690" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/73/width/720/height/690/crop/1/86524_History_main_image.rev.1607734366.jpg 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/73/width/720/height/690/crop/1/86524_History_main_image.rev.1607734366.jpg 3x" data-max-w="3200" data-max-h="3067" loading="lazy"/> </picture> </a><div class="hero-split_image_caption collapsable-caption"> Reiko Hillyer, associate professor of history, teaches her popular Crime and Punishment course at the Columbia River Correctional Institution in Northeast Portland.</div>

Why Choose a Degree in History?

We believe research is not just the collection of evidence, but a process of discovery that challenges us to question our assumptions and critically assess those made by others. You will become a historian in your own right, producing theses supported by the kind of intensive research, critical analysis, and careful writing that prepare you for a career in a wide array of fields, ranging from library management to foreign service, journalism to teaching.

What You’ll Study

We offer a major and minor. Our curriculum is global in scope, inviting students to compare the traditions of various cultures and countries.Our courses push students to develop sophisticated knowledge of the modern and premodern history of regions including the Americas, Europe, and Asia. Moreover, our emphasis on research and writing equips our students with skills appropriate to a wide range of pursuits. We also believe in collaborating with students on research projects—whether through classes during the academic year, a paid humanities research summer program, or both—and helping them find and secure internships or practica in Portland and beyond. Credit has been awarded for mentored work in such places as the Oregon Historical Society, the Nikkei Legacy Center, Oregon Public Broadcasting, Oregon Humanities, and Oregon Health & Science University.

Many of our students earn course credit while on an overseas program. In addition to general cultural programs that are open to all students, the England humanities program and the Greece program enable students to study the rich history and culture of these places on site.

Outside the classroom, our department offers a course at a nearby prison as part of the Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program, in which Lewis & Clark students learn alongside minimum-security prisoners. For the Lewis & Clark Oral History Project, students interview alumni, creating recordings that are archived in Watzek Library’s Special Collections. The Throckmorton Lecture brings a renowned historian to campus each year to give a public lecture, visit classes, and have dinner with students.


Complement Your Education With One of These Minors

The most popular minors for our history majors are Middle East and North African studies, philosophy, and rhetoric and media studies.

What Students Are Saying About Lewis & Clark

  • Professors in the history department give students the space and support to research aspects of history that they are interested in, rather than limiting students to their specific area of interest and study.

    Molly Gibbons BA ’24
    History | Gender Studies and Hispanic Studies | Missoula, Montana
    More about Molly
  • I create community by hosting monthly programs in my residence hall.

    Sally Goldman BA ’20
    History, Philosophy (double) | Little Rock, Arkansas
    More about Sally
  • My favorite class has been Ancient Cities with Professor Joel Sweek. The class had the kind of academic rigor and seriousness that I hoped to find in college, and Professor Sweek’s lectures pushed me to think like a historian. I was left in awe of the ancient world and inspired to declare history as my major.

    Mateo Kaiser BA ’23
    History and international affairs (double) | Political economy | Mountain View, California
    More about Mateo

What Can You Do With a Degree in History?

Our alumni use their BA in history to pursue a wide range of careers within academia, nonprofits, historical societies, and beyond. While many of our graduates pursue advanced degrees in the field, others apply their critical thinking, research and writing skills, creativity, and literacy to areas other than history.

Dedicated Faculty

Our expert professors are your expert mentors. You will learn directly from faculty (no graduate assistants here!) that are nationally recognized in their fields of study and who love to work with and learn from their students. Your professors will inspire you to be a thoughtful and passionate participant in a diverse world. Your small classes will support you as you explore new ideas, find your voice, and speak your truth.

Our faculty members have been recognized for excellence in teaching and have won some of the country’s most prestigious writing awards.

Meet the Professors

  • 15% 

    first-generation students at Lewis & Clark College

  • 10% 

    of our students are from countries other than the U.S.

  • 125 

    of our undergraduate students are Third Culture Kids.

  • Top 50 

    Lewis & Clark is in the top 50 on U.S. News & World Report’s 2022–23 “Most Innovative Schools” list

  • A- 

    Lewis & Clark earned top marks on Niche’s 2023 report card.

Invest in Yourself

A private liberal arts education is often more affordable than you think. Last year, Lewis & Clark distributed over $74 million in assistance from institutional, federal, state, and private sources. Additionally, we’re so confident that our first-year students will graduate with their bachelor of arts degree in four years that if you don’t, we’ll cover the extra semester of tuition.

Find Your People

Students produce an annual newsletter, Footnotes, that updates fellow students, alumni, and others about department-related events both on and off campus. Project Runway: Historical Edition is a popular annual event in which student teams design fashion-forward outfits inspired by historical phenomena.

Where Lewis & Clark Will Take You

  • I started working in sales for OrangeTheory Fitness, and after a year I am now the assistant manager!

    Laurel Marchant BA ’22
    History | Art/Art History
    More about Laurel
  • I’ve been working in the art world in New York City. I hope to work as a registrar in the future, and/or to get a master’s degree in library science and archival studies.

    Margarete Maneker BA ’21
    History | Chinese | Larchmont, New York
    More about Margarete
  • I began a yearlong student teaching and Masters program in the Bay Area. After that, I began my first year of teaching high school history and have now been teaching for four years.

    Hannah Exler BA ’18
    History | West Lake Village, California
    More about Hannah

History Events

February 27

Near White/Near Black: Growing Up on the Color Line

Join the Ethnic Studies program in welcoming Professor Matt Guterl (Brown University) to talk about his memoir, Skinfolk, a haunting, poignant story of growing up in a multiracial family.

February 29

Celebrate winners of the book collecting contest!

Join us on 2/29 at 3 p.m. in the library atrium for tea and coffee in honor of three students who have won this year’s Himes & Duniway Society Book Collecting Prize.

March 6

2024 Gender Studies Symposium–Day 1

Day 1 of the 43rd Annual Gender Studies Symposium!

This year’s symposium focuses on the ways in which digital technology, internet platforms, and online spaces have shaped and been shaped by understandings and expressions of gender and sexuality. 

Join us for three days of keynote presentations, multidisciplinary panels, workshops, readings, and other events, as well as an art exhibition. View the complete event schedule for details.

March 6

Gender Studies Symposium Keynote: Avery Dame-Griff

Please join us for a Gender Studies Symposium keynote presentation by Avery Dame-Griff, lecturer at Gonzaga University and author of The Two Revolutions: A History of the Transgender Internet.

When It Was Ours: A Queer and Trans Counterhistory of the Internet

Presentation description: In this talk, Dr. Dame-Griff explores three capsule histories of queer and trans services and communities from the early years of the nascent Internet. Each of these stories represents not only a path not taken but also an alternative model for our “digital world,” one where accessibility, community investment, and shared governance are prioritized over profit. Even with rising outside pressure, their creators and users resisted the capitalistic impulse to see the web as solely a transactional medium focused on usability and hyper-optimization. By the end, we’ll consider how these stories inspire us to rethink why we connect online.

March 11

“Edges of Noir”: Michael Mirabile in Conversation with Jerry Harp

Please join Michael Mirabile as he discusses his latest book, “Edges of Noir: Extreme Filmmaking in the 1960s” with Jerry Harp. 

Michael Mirabile is Assistant Professor with Term in the English department, specializing in Radical Film, Films Adapting Fictions, American Crime and Suspense Fiction, and Postmodernist and Contemporary American Fiction.

March 19

“A Wall is Just a Wall”: Reiko Hillyer in Conversation with Jerry Harp

Please join Associate Professor of History and Department Chair Reiko Hillyer discuss her latest book, A Wall is Just a Wall: The Permeability of the Prison in 20th Century America (Duke University Press, February 16, 2024)  in conversation with Jerry Harp. Influenced by her work teaching in the Inside-Out program, Hillyer traces the decline of practices that used to connect incarcerated people more regularly to the free world.  

April 3

Social Justice Tour: April

The Inclusion & Multicultural Engagement (IME) office presents the Social Justice Tour. 


More News and Events →