Related Majors and Minors

The History Department contributes courses to a number of interdisciplinary undergraduate programs at the University. While History provides a fascinating field of study in its own right, we strongly encourage our students to explore the possibility of pursuing a double major or a major/minor combination with one or more of these interdisciplinary fields:

  • International Studies

  • Justice and Peace Studies

  • Social Sciences

  • Catholic Studies

  • American Culture and Difference

  • Legal Studies

Such combinations ensure a rich and meaningful educational experience that will lay the foundation for lifelong learning and intellectual growth without sacrificing the practical realities of preparing for a career in education, law, communications, business, government, or the non-profit sector.  

Program Descriptions

International Studies

This major seeks to give the student a basic understanding of the contemporary international system. It combines study in economics, history and political science with a concentration in one of these fields, along with the study of a foreign language beyond the College’s general education requirement. The program enables students to relate international interests to a broad range of careers including government, international business, nonprofit associations and teaching.
Students graduating with a major in international studies should have adequate preparation for their professional lives, and the capacity for intellectually stimulating lives. They will be capable of critical thought and writing in the discipline. They will have pursued opportunities for broader governmental and international experience, and should be well prepared to undertake post-baccalaureate studies.

Justice and Peace Studies

Justice and peace studies is an interdisciplinary program designed to prepare students to be responsible critics of contemporary societies and effective agents for positive social transformation. Core courses for the major and minor, and the pattern of the program in general, make use of the four stages of the Circle of Praxis:

  1. Experience (actual and vicarious) of poverty, injustice, violence and marginalization. 
  2. Descriptive analysis: Empirical study of the economic, political, social, and cultural realities of society, and the historical events that produce them.
  3. Normative analysis: Moral judgment on existing societies; study of alternative possibilities; and analysis of the moral values at stake.
  4. Action possibilities: Strategies and skills for transforming society from its present condition to a better condition.

Students graduating with a major in justice and peace studies will understand how the circle of praxis works, as well as the role of each of its components (see above). They will also know how to use skills associated with each component. They will know the principles of active nonviolence, how it operates to promote social change, and several historical examples of its use. Students will also learn the techniques and uses of other methods of social change and how to judge when to use each method effectively.

American Culture and Difference 

American culture and difference is an interdisciplinary minor that offers students a critical perspective on the diversity of “American culture.” Students consider ways in which music, film, advertisements, folklore, literature, television, and art shape daily life in the United States, form cultural and national identity, construct racial and ethnic identity, and create a sense of “high” and “low” culture.
Given its emphasis on the diversity and multiplicity of cultural experience and its interdisciplinary focus on the various strands that comprise the fabric of a given culture, the minor in American culture and difference is particularly suited to provide students with the critical framework necessary to be effective and ethical participants in an increasingly globalized civic and economic environment.

Museum Studies

Museum Studies is an interdisciplinary minor that introduces students to the ways that museums work, as well as to the theories and practices of museums in both historical and contemporary contexts. The minor offers students the opportunity to develop interests in numerous aspects of museum work, including exhibition and display, preservation and collections management, curation and education, administration and visitor studies, with the guiding principle that museums are tools for learning. 

The minor reflects the University of St. Thomas’ vision to prepare students for the complexities of the contemporary world and to engage thoughtfully in interdisciplinary work that advances the common good. An important aspect of the minor is its flexibility, which provides students the opportunity to pull together courses from across the university to suit specific needs and concentrations. The Museum Studies minor draws from Art History, History, English, Music, Education, Business Ethics, Business Law, Management, Marketing, Communications and Journalism, Entrepreneurship, Justice and Peace Studies, Sociology, and Psychology to offer a variety of classroom and experiential opportunities to critically engage with “museum literacy,” including the roles that museums play in society and the range of museum types that exist across continents.

Students who are considering diverse careers in museums, non-profits, other educational institutions, archives, auction houses, appraisal firms, or corporate collections may find this minor particularly appealing. Moreover, students interested in tangible objects, and sites of visual and material culture would benefit from this minor. 

Environmental Studies

Environmental challenges affect every aspect of our work and world – from international politics to the way we run our businesses and what we feed our children. To meet these challenges, Environmental Studies majors gain broad competencies in the natural sciences, social sciences and humanities. Each student also develops a personalized concentration to provide depth in a specific area such as public policy and planning, engineering, business management or communications. Together with field study, internships and study abroad opportunities, the Environmental Studies major equips you to bring sustainable solutions to the career of your choice.

Legal Studies

The minor in legal studies enables students to undertake a multidisciplinary examination of the relationship of law to culture and society. Understanding the foundations and nature of law and legal process is an integral element of a liberal arts education. Several departments within the university offer courses that examine the sociological, political, philosophical, journalistic, historical, economic and business aspects of legal behavior and legal systems.
The legal studies minor is not intended as a pre-law program, although it may prove especially attractive to students interested in careers in law, public administration or related professions. Its objective is to allow students to undertake an examination of law and legal process within a liberal arts context.