Program Overview: Why History?

What we do

The History Department offers undergraduate programs leading to a Bachelor of Arts and a minor. The department also offers a graduate program leading to the Master of Arts degree in History. 


History isn't just memorizing dates and events; it's a way of learning. Until someone invents a time machine, historians must work from evidence left over from the time period they're studying. This makes studying history challenging, but it makes it fun, too!  And it means that the skills historians acquire can be used in many different careers. Many history graduates become teachers, but you can use historical skills for many different careers.


We need to know history to understand the world we live in. In the history department at Cal State LA, you can study every kind of history from the ancient world to contemporary society, culture, and politics. In addition to our strengths in U.S. and Latin American History, we offer courses in Africa, Asia, the Middle East, and Europe, as well as World History courses that examine these regions all at once.

How to Find Us

Building Room: King Hall C4066
Phone: (323) 343-2020
Fax: (323) 343-6431
Email: [email protected]
Office Hours:
M-Th: 8:00am-12:00pm; 1:00pm-6:00pm
F: 8:00am-12:00pm
Students can schedule advising appointments through Canvas. Those who do not have access to Canvas should email [email protected].



What can you do with a history degree?

Historians study all aspects of the human experience, and the skills they learn apply to a wide range of professions. Here are some of the positions held by graduates of our department:




Magazine/Newspaper Editor

CIA Analyst


Entrepreneur/Business Owner

Business Researcher

Nonprofit Founder/Director

Labor Organizer



Public Health Professional

Police Detective



Students in Library


Join our program by applying to Cal State LA directly through Cal State Apply

Details about our outstanding programs are on the Graduate and Undergraduate pages.

Start planning to apply by reviewing Application Dates and Deadlines.


Areas of Specialization


At the Cal State LA History department, you can study any region of the world for any time period. Here are a few of the many unique opportunities available to majors. See the Staff Page for detailed information on each faculty member's specialties.

Opportunities for Original Research: All our history majors conduct original research on important historical questions. Students may study their own families or the communities around Cal State LA, sometimes working with the library's Special Collections Department. And the department offers research seminars on subjects as varied as Medieval witchcraft, the Mexican Revolution, and the History of Film, to name a few recent examples.  

Public History Projects: History isn't only done in the classroom. At Cal State LA, students take courses exploring the many ways history reaches the public--museums, documentary film, oral history projects, online exhibits, and historical conservation efforts. Every year, students in various classes help to curate--that is, to assemble and design--exhibits that appear on campus or at off-campus venues like the Autry Center.   

Editing and Publishing: The award-winning student journal Perspectives is produced every year by students in HIST 4970. The class gives students a unique opportunity to develop a wide variety of skills, and to work with other students to create path-breaking research articles, book reviews, and online exhibits.  

Internships: Internships add exciting and valuable experiences to course work. In recent years, our students have interned at the Wende Museum, the Museum of Social Justice,the Autry National Center, the Smithsonian Museum, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, The East Side Heritage Consortium, and the Getty Museum, among others. The department offers the opportunity for students to receive course credit for internship work.  

Scholarships and Awards: Every year the department gives awards and scholarships--some offered through the university, some through Phi Alpha Theta, the student Honors Society. For the latest awardees, see our newsletters.     

Latin America: A strong contingent of our faculty specializes in the history of Latin America. Drs. Ford, Lee, Ochoa, and Vergara work with other departments around campus to create a broad and unique set of opportunities for students to study this crucial part of the world.