Timeline – 1985 – Undergraduate Challenges

Image from "Why Study History?," American Historical Association. Graph shows trends of students getting BAs in History.
“Why Study History?,” American Historical Association

In the 1980s, the History major enjoyed a sharp resurgence of interest. The number of BAs granted more than doubled from the mid-1980s to a peak in 1992, when 421 History BAs were awarded (447, including BAs in History of Culture* and History of Science).

The story since then has been one of downs, ups, and downs, with the trendline headed broadly downward. A new relative peak was reached in 2008, and then, in the aftermath of the financial crisis, interest in the History major declined starkly.

The decline since 2008 has been a nationwide trend, one that the History Department and the discipline as whole have been working hard to turn around. We remain convinced that historical knowledge makes good citizens and that the distinctive cognitive and social skills learned in studying history will be in disproportionate demand as artificial intelligence reshapes our world.

* The last BAs in the History of Culture were awarded in 2000.

Source: History Department enrollment data.