History is more than the study of the past; it is a living creative act. History explores past events in order to inform us about who we are and what is happening today. History gives us our cultural roots. It helps us understand ourselves, our neighbours, our nation, other cultures and the world, enabling us to become truly global citizens. We learn a lot from history, and this knowledge helps us to avoid the mistakes of the past and make better decisions for the future, just as we learn from our own experiences.
Studying History supplies students with the skills to analyse complex evidence, present evidence-based arguments and put things in perspective. Such skills developed from studying History can be applied in many careers, as well as to all walks of life.
History is a big subject, at the very heart of the humanities. Everything has a history, and every history can be challenged by a fresh mind. Some types of history and historical evidence are also part of the social sciences, such as Political Science and International Relations, and Sociology, and Law (which is a form of 'applied history'). The study of languages and literature is enhanced by knowing about their cultural and historical contexts. Historians, too, often use techniques and results from other disciplines. History is a supremely interdisciplinary subject.
- The History Department at UC has received a James Cook Research Fellowship, two Marsden Fund research awards and an early career researcher award in recent years.
- Our Arts Internships programme champions work-based experience, enabling History students to apply their knowledge and skills in real-world situations and further their career goals.
History has no formal prerequisites. However, a good level of English literacy and writing skills and a willingness to read widely and think hard about problems in the past, are expected.
A wide choice of subject matter and a very flexible degree structure are offered. 100-level courses enable students to understand the big issues relating to an area or topic, and provide fundamental research and analytical skills.
To advance to 200-level History, students need to complete 15 points in History with a B grade or better, or 30 points in History or ancient history – CLAS 111 and CLAS 112. Or students need to have obtained a B average in 60 points in other appropriate subjects.
200-level and beyond
Courses available at 200 and 300-level offer further topics in European, American, Asian, New Zealand, and world history. They also cover Australian history, feminist history, the history of war and Māori tribal history.
Focusing more closely on specific topics, 200 and 300-level courses equip students with more advanced skills in the interpretation of evidence, research and the evaluation of competing arguments.
History graduates leave university with a distinctive mix of skills which are useful in almost any job involving discovery, analysis, interpretation, independent thought and communication. Studying History allows you to practise making balanced and impartial judgements, considering multiple perspectives and materials.
The Department of History places great importance on training students in research, writing, digital skills and oral presentation. These are the general skills employers most want.
History graduates enjoy a wide variety of career destinations including those in the media (such as journalism and broadcasting), government, Treaty of Waitangi affairs, international relations, arts, culture, heritage, archives, politics, public policy, writing, editing, PR, communications, conservation, tourism, teaching, community development, digital industry, publishing, design, business innovation, advertising or marketing.
Find out more about what you can do with a degree in History.
5th Floor, Karl Popper building - see campus maps
College of Arts | Te Rāngai Toi Tangata
University of Canterbury | Te Whare Wānanga o Waitaha
Private Bag 4800
Browse related subjects to History
Choose an area that you are interested in and learn how UC's extensive range of study options can let you study what you want to.
An understanding of the rich Classical past gives students a keen lens through which to view the modern world. Many issues confronting us now were experienced ...