• <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 media="(max-width: 500px)" type="image/webp" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/73/width/500/height/479/crop/1/86524_History_main_image.rev.1607734366.webp 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/73/width/500/height/479/crop/1/86524_History_main_image.rev.1607734366.webp 3x" data-origin="responsive"/><source media="(max-width: 500px)" type="image/jpeg" srcset="/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" data-origin="responsive"/><source media="(min-width: 501px)" type="image/webp" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/73/width/720/height/690/crop/1/86524_History_main_image.rev.1607734366.webp 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/73/width/720/height/690/crop/1/86524_History_main_image.rev.1607734366.webp 3x" data-origin="responsive"/><source media="(min-width: 501px)" type="image/jpeg" 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-origin="responsive"/><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..." 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" data-optimized="true"/></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

  • Mateo, in gray pants and a blue collared shirt, crouching on the ground in front of trees and next to a beehive smoker.

    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
  • Close up of Maddie. They have brown hair with bangs and dyed pink tips.

    I believe my summer research with Professor Campion will give me greater insight into what career options may look like for me as a history student.

    Maddie Selby BA ’25
    History | Religious Studies | Portland, Oregon
    More about Maddie
  • Molly posing outside. She is wearing a long-sleeve green shirt.

    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

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

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

  • Margarete Maneker BA '21

    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
  • Glenna Gee-Taylor BA '18

    After graduating from law school, I took the bar exam in Colorado and then spent my first year as a lawyer clerking for the Honorable R. Brooke Jackson, a federal district court judge in the District of Colorado.

    Glenna Gee-Taylor BA ’18
    More about Glenna
  • Laurel Marchant BA '22

    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


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