The Benefits of Getting a History Degree

As we continue to reflect on the past during our year-long Centennial celebration, it’s more than an appropriate time to consider the importance of history.

We learn and grow as we chronicle the rich personal histories of our community through our Centennial Stories. Over the past year, we’ve heard from alumni and faculty like school historian Chuck Hunter, journalist Marcos Bretón, and former preschool teacher Herminia Villareal.

These stories, along with our centennial celebration exist because as a society we see their profound value. In this vein, today we will be highlighting our Associate Degree for Transfer in History. Let’s explore this flourishing program, its importance, and the many benefits of pursuing a transfer degree in history at San José City College.

“Every person has a history, and to truly know them, we must know their history.”

SJCC History Department

Why You Should Pursue a History Degree

“You study history in order to fully understand the complexities of this modern globalized world,” states SJCC’s history page.

“Every person has a history, and to truly know them, we must know their history. This is also true about nations,” SJCC continues. “To know and learn from history, you must go far beyond the simple memorization of dates and events.” This is why you should study history. 

This attitude toward history embodies its goals as a field of study. If we want to have any chance at improving our society, we can’t start from square one with each generation. History empowers us to learn from the past so that we can understand the present and imagine a better future. 

How You Can Make an Impact as a History Major

The beauty of a history degree is that you can truly make it your own, because history touches every subject and corner of society. No matter which route you choose, you’ll be able to make an impact. 

Provide Visibility for Untold and Erased Histories

While some may argue that traditional history is a stagnant subject, this couldn’t be farther from the truth. History is happening around us all the time, always evolving. Just like in technology or the sciences, we are constantly learning new ways to approach the past. 

The past few years in the United States are full of examples. Many would agree that 2020 was the year that America confronted racism, the year that we began to face our past. Ethnic Studies programs around the country are closely tied to history programs and a huge part of efforts to achieve greater equity and social justice are linked to shining a light on the histories of oppressed minorities.

If you are passionate about equity and social justice in any way, history is a great place to start.

Choose from Diverse Careers for History Majors

Since history is all around us, so are history jobs. 

“We need to know history to understand how we got here and how we can make things better,” said history faculty, Dr. Padma Manian, who completed both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in India then went on to get her Ph.D. at Miami University in Ohio. Manian has been teaching at SJCC since 1999. She has taught many successful students over the years, including SJCC’s own Board of Trustees Member, Omar Torres and Joan Danenberg, a recipient of the Jack Kent Cooke Scholarship.

“Whether it is law, politics, journalism, sociology, or indeed almost any other field, knowledge of history is essential,” said Manian. These are just a few of the many possibilities when you major in history. 

Of course, for anyone hoping to pursue a career in history education, this is also the perfect degree. No matter your strengths or interests, chances are they are compatible with a history degree. 

The History Program at San José City College

The History Department at SJCC provides unique opportunities for students all over Silicon Valley. It may not be as old as the college itself, but it has certainly seen many changes over the years. Let’s take a look at what it can offer you today.

Dr. Padma Manian poses with history students at a Halloween celebration at San José City College.
Dr. Padma Manian (far left) poses with history students at a Halloween celebration.

An Interdisciplinary Program

For bay area community colleges, it should be a prerequisite that history classes be as diverse as their student populations. Unfortunately, this is not always the case, but SJCC comes close.

“We have some courses at SJCC that are not available in most community colleges,” said Manian.  Over the years, the SJCC history department has made the effort to expand their course offerings beyond the usual courses in U.S. history. 

Today, SJCC also offers the following history classes: World History; Women in American History; African American History; History and Culture of the American Indian; and Western Culture. What’s more, several ethnic studies courses are also accepted as fulfilling the requirements for the associate’s degree in history.

Valuable Preparation for Any Field

Similar to other humanities degrees, the requirements for any history major are quite rigorous. They will prepare students by teaching them valuable transferable skills. 

“Students learn important skills like reading, writing and critical thinking that they can use in any career even if it is not history related,” Manian said. They “take courses from a variety of disciplines to get a well-rounded education.” So if you decide to major in history you’ll certainly have the upper hand when it comes to communication in any workplace.

A Degree with a Guarantee

Like all our Associate’s Degrees for Transfer (AD-T), the History Degree at SJCC is part of the Degree with A Guarantee Program. This means that when you finish your general and major requirements with a 2.0 or higher, you’re guaranteed a spot at a select number of California State Universities (CSUs). 

If you choose to do a 2-year degree at SJCC first, you’ll drastically reduce your education costs. Then you can transfer to the 4-year university with reduced debt and worry.

“We need to know history to understand how we got here and how we can make things better.”

Dr. Padma Manian, SJCC History faculty

The Benefits of Getting A History Degree

There are many benefits to getting your AD-T in History at San José City College. You’ll learn about the real world implications of the past; unearthing untold stories; and practical skills in reading, writing, and critical thinking.

You’ll also be able to start your higher-education off on the right foot by reducing your education costs before transferring to a 4-year university. With all of these benefits on your side, you can unleash your brilliance and make an impact in our society.

If you’re interested in other transfer degrees at SJCC, check out our offerings in Sociology, Spanish, and Social justice: African American Studies.