credit-hour minor
Credit Hours


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History Major at St. Mary’s

history students by St. Louis Hall

In the Department of History at St. Mary’s University, students hone critical thinking, reading, writing and analytical skills that prepares them for success in many fields. Equipped with a broad perspective of the human experience, history majors go on to pursue careers in law, medicine, museums, archives, heritage tourism, military, politics, education, journalism, international relations and business.

  • Combined Degree

    Students can earn a Master of Arts in as little as one additional year of study when they begin work on their Bachelor of Arts in History.

  • Degree Plans

    Several degree options are available. Major / bachelor’s degree options include:

    Students selecting this option are required to complete a History thesis for which a tripartite series of courses has been designed to teach and hone the skills necessary for excellence in undergraduate research in history.

    The History thesis constitutes the heart of this undergraduate program, as it requires students to apply the knowledge and skills acquired at St. Mary’s. The History thesis permits students to demonstrate proficiency in the fundamental skills of the historian: research, writing, interpretation and critical thinking.

    Students enroll in the History thesis course in the final semester of their senior year to revise their manuscripts extensively and professionalize their candidacies for employment and graduate programs.

    See the catalog for the full degree plan:

    B.A. in History (Thesis Option)

    Students take an introductory course in Public History and a practicum/internship in a Public History setting. Public history refers to how history is presented and interpreted in non-academic environments.

    It involves not only the historical content but also the approaches, tools and strategies for presentation that enhance the general public awareness of the past and its connection to the present.

    Female student listening to professor

    The contributions of public history may be seen at the national, state, county and local level through historical associations, heritage tourism, museums, public access archives, and online digitized historical information, historic preservation, commissioned histories for historic sites, foundations, corporations and public agencies of many kinds.

    Public historians develop collaborative relationships among historians, community leaders, activists and those interested in preservation of heritage for practical or commercial purposes.

    Through making explicit links between the past and the present, applied history activities enhance tourism, economic development and a general sense of community, which is inspired by knowledge of a shared past.

    See the degree plan:

    Public History concentration

    Students in this program are not required to take the final courses devoted to the senior thesis.

    History students should speak with the chair of the Department of History or the chair of the Department of Teacher Education about the general requirements for a major in History with Teacher Certification. Specific questions and concerns about the Teacher Education program should be directed to the Department of Teacher Education.

    Teacher Certification

    Students can also pair a history minor with another major:

    Students can also pursue a combined degree, where they earn both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree with tuition discounts:

  • Course Highlights

    History students take a variety of courses, including the St. Mary’s Core and College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences school core. This better prepares them for success outside the classroom.

    • Ancient Rome
    • Historical Analysis: U.S. History to 1877
    • Historiography, Method and Research
    • Introduction to Latin
    • American History
    • Preserving Community
    • Stories with Oral History
    • U.S. Women’s History
    • The Middle East, Near East and the West
    • U.S. Latino History
    • U.S. Military History

Student-faculty ratio
Median annual income for History majors
Concentrations: Thesis, Public History and Teacher Certification

Educational Opportunities

History Internships

All students with a Public History concentration complete a semester-long internship. These internships prepare students for professional employment by providing opportunities to create a portfolio of public history work. History majors have secured internships at many government and nonprofit organizations including:

  • City of San Antonio Office of Historic Preservation
  • San Antonio Museum of Art
  • The Smithsonian
  • The Alamo
  • UTSA Institute of Texan Cultures

Undergraduate Research

All History classes have a component of research, composition, synthesis and presentation to develop critical, creative and writing skills. Senior History students regularly present their research at national scholarly research conferences.

Students also have the opportunity to share their research with the St. Mary’s and San Antonio community at the annual Research Symposium and Creative Activities Exhibition sponsored by the Office of Student Research and Inquiry.

StMU Research Scholar Project

StMU Research Scholars Project is a student- and faculty-led organization at St. Mary’s which features academic research, writing and media productions of St. Mary’s students. Students publish a variety of narrative nonfiction articles on the organization’s website, www.stmuhistorymedia.org.

Many students join one of the organization’s six functioning committees to learn technical and leadership skills, and to gain experience contributing to the success of the organization. Students, faculty and staff throughout the University collaborate on this project.

Phi Alpha Theta

Phi Alpha Theta is a national honor society for undergraduate and graduate students and professors of history. It promotes the study of history through research, good teaching, publication and the exchange of learning and ideas among historians. Students and teachers come together for intellectual and social exchanges, promoting and assisting historical research and publication by members.

  • O’Connor Lecture and Chair

    Endowed in 1982 by the Thomas O’Connor family of Victory City, Texas, the O’Connor Chair in the History of Hispanic Texas and the Southwest supports a permanent professor at St. Mary’s University.

    During his or her tenure, the O’Connor Professor teaches one course per semester, conducts research, writes and offers periodic lectures to the University and surrounding community.

    Besides contributing to scholarly knowledge on the history of Hispanic Texas and the Southwest, O’Connor Chair occupants also provide St. Mary’s students, especially history majors, the opportunity to interact with an active research historian working on a specific ongoing project.

    This is of particular value for students writing Senior Theses and those interested in pursuing graduate studies in history. Contact Gerald Poyo, Ph.D., O’Connor Chair, or call 210-436-3703 for more information.


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