Program Spotlight: History

History Transfer Pathway A.A.

Winston Churchill

Sir Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill served as prime minister of the United Kingdom during World War II. A veritable quote machine, Churchill is remembered for his numerous pithy remarks, including:

  • “If you’re going through hell, keep going.”
  • “A fanatic is one who can’t change his mind and won’t change the subject.”
  • “Success is never found. Failure is never fatal. Courage is the only thing.”

Churchill also said, “Study history, study history. In history lies all the secrets of statecraft.”

Statecraft, or the art of governing, can be a useful skill in virtually any profession. Studying history at Inver Hills Community College is smart for several other reasons, including:

  • Understanding society
  • Understanding change
  • Gaining a sense of identity
  • Preserving stories from the past
  • Finding inspiration for the future
  • Learning from tough lessons
  • Becoming a better person

History coursework at Inver Hills includes the study of modern civilizations from ancient Egypt to modern East Asia. You can analyze world religions, world wars and the world of Latin America.

By exploring topics as diverse as Minnesota history, the history of family, civil rights and international politics, you will both increase your cultural intelligence and complete courses with a strong record of transfer to four-year colleges and universities.

As a student at Inver Hills, you are encouraged to take history classes even if you’re not earning your History Transfer Pathway A.A. You can add courses in this discipline to your academic palette to broaden your worldview while enhancing your career options. All history courses at Inver Hills transfer within the Minnesota Transfer Curriculum (MnTC).

Faculty perspective: David Riggs

David Riggs started teaching at Inver Hills in 2007. Ten years later, David was honored by the college’s instructors with the 2017 Faculty of the Year Award.

David teaches his students that history isn’t all about doom and gloom. He avoids abstract academic concepts and doesn’t focus only on the struggles between the oppressor and the oppressed. He prefers to use documentary evidence in class to point out the positive and human aspects of history.

“Without history we have no identity,” David said, “without history we have no community, without history we have no memory, without history we have no inspiration, without history we have no present, and without history we have no future.”

Faculty perspective: Erik Riker-Coleman

Erik Riker-Coleman began teaching at Inver Hills in 2008. Erik has a Ph.D. in U.S. History from the the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. In 2013, he received a Golden Apple Award from Phi Theta Kappa students at Inver in recognition of his contributions to academic success.

Erik argues that “history is power,” echoing George Orwell’s warning in 1984 that “he who controls the past controls the future”—but insists that we as members of an open society can and must prevent a powerful few from gaining dominant control of interpreting our collective past.

Rather, Erik argues, we must work actively to preserve an honest and inquisitive history of our society if we are to retain freedom and democracy. He seeks in his classes to encourage students to keep an open mind, but also to read and think critically while exploring primary source documents and evaluating historians’ interpretations of past events.

Best Careers for History Majors¹

Tiger-hunting with the royal nizam, Colonial India 1892

A history degree trains students to investigate the past, assess primary sources, and craft evidence-based arguments. While some history majors become historians, many apply the skills gained during a history degree to other careers.

The best jobs for history majors draw on a student’s writing, research, and analytical skills. These fields include education and the legal space.

History students should begin their careers with planning and job search preparation while in school. For example, students considering a career working in education, museums, archives, or libraries may benefit from internship opportunities in those fields.

Alternatively, history students who want to work in the legal field or in business can start building networks in those areas.

Skills Gained in a History Program

The Grateful Dead performing “Not Fade Away” at Red Rocks Amphitheater, Morrison, Colorado 1982 | Photo: Ed Perlstein

During a history program, students complete coursework focused on a variety of time periods, regions, and thematic areas. As a discipline, history trains students in critical thinking, analytical skills, and writing, which serve as important qualities for the profession.

Regardless of whether graduates take history related jobs or work in fields outside of history, these skills help history majors succeed in many industries.

History students examine primary sources, secondary sources, and other documents to identify relevant information and build arguments based on their analysis.

They often use analytical skills when writing research papers, integrating their conclusions into an argument supported by evidence. Analytical skills benefit many seeking careers with a history degree.

History classes require verbal and written communication skills, as students debate in class and write persuasive essays and papers to support their positions.

History also trains students to understand a document’s audience, purpose, and goals—a valuable skill that can translate into strong communication abilities.

Great Flood of 1937, Ohio River, Louisville, Kentucky | Photo: Margaret Bourke-White

As a liberal arts major, history students often build foreign language skills as part of their training. Some bachelor’s history degrees require foreign language, and most graduate-level programs expect reading proficiency in a foreign language.

These skills can lead to history degree jobs in government, such as working for the U.S. Department of State.

History students use research and analysis to answer questions about the past. They act as investigators, studying the past for clues to understand history or link past events to the present.

A history degree builds strong problem-solving skills, which benefit graduates pursuing many different jobs.

During a history program, students hone their research skills, conducting original research to answer a question designed by the professor or the student.

History students learn how to identify relevant and reputable sources, find the most relevant documents, and answer questions based on their analysis. At the graduate level, history students conduct extensive research that culminates in thesis or doctoral dissertation.

More about the History Transfer Pathway A.A.

Pasadena police officer monitors Doo Dah Parade mid-1980s | Photo: William Karl Valentine

The 60-credit History Transfer Pathway Associate of Arts (A.A.) offers you a powerful option: the opportunity to complete an A.A. degree with course credits that directly transfer to designated history bachelor’s degree programs at Minnesota State universities.

The curriculum has been specifically designed so that you once you complete the pathway degree, you can transfer to one of the seven Minnesota State Universities enter the university with junior-year status.² All courses in transfer pathway associate degree programs directly transfer and apply to the designated bachelor’s degree programs in a related field.

The History Transfer Pathway A.A. consists of the Required Pathway Curriculum, the Minnesota Transfer Curriculum (MnTC), and the Health and Physical Fitness Requirement, to bring your credit total to 60 credits.

Learn more about the History Transfer Pathway A.A. by contacting:

David Riggs
History Instructor

Admissions Team
College Center

¹ Courtesy of Best Colleges
² Universities within the Minnesota State system include:
Romanov family circa 1913: Nicholas II of Russia and Empress Alexandra with their children

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