History Major

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by NavalAcademyCandidate, Feb 10, 2011.

  1. NavalAcademyCandidate

    NavalAcademyCandidate Member

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2010
    Messages:
    43
    Likes Received:
    0
    I'm attending USNA this summer, and I'm a big history fan. As I come to the end of my high school career, I'm beginning to think it interests me the most. My question is, if I get a history major from USNA, is there anything specific I can do with that major?

    Thanks for any advice!
     
  2. subvet

    subvet Member

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2007
    Messages:
    130
    Likes Received:
    0
    Sent you a PM
     
  3. CandidateInSD

    CandidateInSD Parent

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2010
    Messages:
    201
    Likes Received:
    0
    Sub vet, I would be interested in your reply, as my DS is also considering the same. Thanks.
     
  4. Hurricane12

    Hurricane12 USNA 2012

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2011
    Messages:
    740
    Likes Received:
    119
    I'm a current History (Honors) major. When you say "can you do anything specific" you mean while at the Academy or for service selection/career?

    The history department here is really solid. The professors are awesome and they consistently manage to hire and retain top people. They're passionate about teaching and willing to go the extra mile with you to help you learn and develop. The History honors program is (though I might be a little biased) possibly the best one on the Yard and a great challenge. There's also a lot of neat HUM/SS internships set aside exclusively for Group III (humanities) majors that sometimes count for summer training.

    I could talk for hours about how much I love my major and its advantages/disadvantages, particularly here. If you have any specific questions regarding curriculum/environment/opportunities, let me know and I'd be glad to answer them.
     
  5. MIDNDAD

    MIDNDAD Member

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2008
    Messages:
    357
    Likes Received:
    1
    As a parent, some random thoughts to your question:

    The Naval Academy's purpose is to develop leaders for the Navy and Marines. Over the 4 years, Midshipman progress through a four year leadership experience that prepares them to be responsible for the lives of men and women who will someday serve under their command. This is a different goal than most other colleges.

    Everyone graduates with the same Bachelor of Science degree. To make that happen, all the Humanities or Group III majors take a lot of math and science courses on top of their Group III majors. My MId is an Economics major but had semesters of chemistry, calculus, electrical engineering, thermodynamics, etc along the way. I've heard someone from Admissions describe the Group III majors this way " Group III Majors are all "Stealth Engineers". Engineering may not be their passion but they can handle and succeed at all the demanding technical courses they must take to graduate." The end result is a very broad based education that again is very different from most other colleges.

    When it comes to service slection, from what I have observed, ones major is a factor in the process but not the determining factor. Depending if you want to go Navy or Marines, there are various qualifiers for each and it's how you do in those qualifiers that will go a long ways to determine if you get your top choice when service selection takes place. My Mid has one friend that is a History major and is a Seal Select, another friend is a Math major and will commission as a Marine.

    Upon graduation, you will receive a degree from a nationally known and respected institution and be guaranteed 5 years of employment. In today's world that is also very different from most other college graduates.
     
  6. subvet

    subvet Member

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2007
    Messages:
    130
    Likes Received:
    0
    The above pretty much covers it really well.
     
  7. usna1985

    usna1985 USNA Alumnus

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2006
    Messages:
    4,501
    Likes Received:
    451
    Of interest, USNA said a couple of years ago that history majors have the highest retention rate among USNA grads. For whatever that's worth.
     
  8. AF6872

    AF6872 Member

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2007
    Messages:
    2,868
    Likes Received:
    237
    History Majors = They know what it is all about. Leaders have to know how to not reapeat the mistakes of the past. Retention rate is probably coincident with the fact that they are the "Smart Ones" although Engineering and Language Majors might disagree.
     
  9. fishbowl

    fishbowl Member

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2010
    Messages:
    163
    Likes Received:
    0
    Or, maybe the retention is higher because the defense industry doesn't have as many job openings for history majors compared to systems engineers, aero engineers, etc.:confused:
     
  10. NavalAcademyCandidate

    NavalAcademyCandidate Member

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2010
    Messages:
    43
    Likes Received:
    0
    Sorry, I wasn't clear enough there; I wanted to know if there was any specific career paths in the Navy that require a history degree, or that a history degree is necessary for?
     
  11. fishbowl

    fishbowl Member

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2010
    Messages:
    163
    Likes Received:
    0
    Can't think of any right upon graduation/commissioning, but lawyers typically have undergraduate degrees in political science or history, so perhaps the Judge Advocate General (JAG) corps is a possible career path.
     
  12. usna1985

    usna1985 USNA Alumnus

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2006
    Messages:
    4,501
    Likes Received:
    451

    While many attorneys have degrees in history or poly sci, many others don't. I believe that those with a combination of technical and humanities backgrounds actually make better lawyers. I can't say that a history major in any way prepares you to be an attorney.

    Everyone at USNA gets a technical education, some more so than others. As others above have said, what you do in the military counts most with employers. Within the USN and USMC, a history major could make nuclear power (surface or subs) more difficult to land and more difficult to master. Other than that, it will work for anything.
     
  13. LTSackett

    LTSackett Member

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2010
    Messages:
    50
    Likes Received:
    0
    Just an opinion, but if you really want to stand out, being not only a lawyer, but a lawyer who is really proficient in engineering (or computer science, or forensics, or medicine or ...) would be a great way to stand out.
     
  14. osdad

    osdad Member

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2010
    Messages:
    746
    Likes Received:
    27
    My mother was, for years, the admin for the chief patent lawyer for a major aerospace firm. He had a bachelors/masters in EE, PhD in physics to go with his law degree. He was, as the kids would say, "making bank".

    The great thing about history (or english, economics, poli-sci, etc...) is you can continue to pursue it whenever and where ever you end up being deployed. I'm sure there are on-line master's programs for those majors - doubtful for EE or aero. Or you can go into any library and continue your education - again not so much so with chemistry or oceanography.
     
  15. usna1985

    usna1985 USNA Alumnus

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2006
    Messages:
    4,501
    Likes Received:
    451
    At the risk of hijacking this thread . . . and we really should get back on topic . . . those with hyper technical backgrounds often become patent attorneys for whom engineering/hard core science degrees are virtually a must.

    Other backgrounds may or may not help you as an attorney. Maybe with MedMal, but most attorneys don't want to do that -- at least not from the plaintiff's side. I know a number of MD/JDs. Some are great attorneys; some not. And, it can be a LONG time to spend in school and a lot of $$ to get there.

    And, if we want to continue this, we really should take it OT.:smile:
     
  16. Whistle Pig

    Whistle Pig Banned

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2006
    Messages:
    1,634
    Likes Received:
    1
    I had to chuckle when I read this one. Beyond teaching history ...there are few if any real "career tracks" for history majors. While many eventual law students have studied history, poli sci, other social sciences and humanities those have little or nothing to do w/ the study of law. One can go that route w/ virtually any major ...accounting, computer sci, engineering, business, econ, and on and on. The point is law is not dependent upon history. Rather, history might depend upon the study of law. One certainly cannot go into an MS or Ph.D. in comp sci, EE, physics, PT, med school, or any other area requiring specific competencies and or even general knowledge and background. I love history, study it constantly, but as an area of study to prepare one for a specific field of work? Ask any American history major ...

    EXCEPT for history major at USNA or one of the other SAs. This area of study and the BS degree and concurrent commission provide so many specific areas of work it is almost unfathomable.

    I fear the OP is looking at this from the wrong perspective. One exception. If he wants to be a lawyer. But that has literally nothing to do with studying history. btw, the answer is NOT the same for poli sci @ USNA. That is a major of a very different color.

    Now, taking a different tack ...there are MANY jobs in USN that might well be served by an indepth knowledge of history, virtually none that would REQUIRE having a major in history. None of those jobs will be much available to a junior officer.
     
  17. usna1985

    usna1985 USNA Alumnus

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2006
    Messages:
    4,501
    Likes Received:
    451
    I'm going to move this to the OT forum for those who want to continue the general discussion of majoring in history, it's effect on careers, etc. It's a worthwhile topic but probably no longer applicable to this forum.
     
  18. patentesq

    patentesq Parent

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2011
    Messages:
    1,587
    Likes Received:
    0
    Holy Toledo!!! I had no idea that this thread was running. Thanks, usna1985, you are on target with your statement above.

    There is one glaring error, though, with the above statement. I would delete the word "virtually" -- to become a patent lawyer, those degrees are a MUST!!

    To become a patent lawyer, you must take two bar exams. First, you must pass the state bar exam and be licensed to practice as a regular attorney. Then, you must take the Patent Bar Exam (administered by the United States Patent and Trademark Office). This is the only specialty in the legal profession that requires two bar exams. That is why osdad's comment about "making bank" is accurate. Patent law is the most specialized area of the law, akin to being a neurosurgeon in the medical profession (flame away, sprog!).

    The one thing that folks NEED to know is that you can't do this unless you have an engineering or science major as an undergraduate (there are ways around this, but very hard to do). Most kids show up at college thinking they will study Pre-Law, business, or history on their way to law school, only to find out that the patent law field is closed to them because of choices made earlier on in college. Anyone interested in a patent law career (more broadly referred to as "Intellectual Property") should PM me.
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2011
  19. bruno

    bruno Retired Staff Member

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2008
    Messages:
    3,001
    Likes Received:
    301
    As a history major at both BS and Master level I basically am qualified for nada and (outside the Army where nobody gave a darn what your major was), have had to overcome the degree on my resume. I love reading history, had plenty of classmate who also majored in history, and 30+ years later know very few of my classmates who did anything with it other than get a masters in something else. In a manufacturing company making high performance materials for the automotive and aerospace industries, I deal with technical issues every day.So clearly you can overcome your undergraduate degree, but I got hired because I had 20+ years of management experience as an Army Officer, did get a masters in a more useful area,( & knew a Vice President with the company )-and got hired in spite of my history degree- not because of it. It's a technical world - both in the Navy and the outside.

    The liberal arts and especially history teach you generally applicable critical reading and analysis skills and give you some background and perspective in understanding social events (as the Bible says- There is nothing new under the sun)- all very useful abilities to have. But what the Liberal Arts don't provide compared to engineering majors is hard, quantifiable skills that are pretty obligatory for many positions, highly desired in many others and unneeded in very few.
    I know what people say about majoring in areas that you will like- but to be honest, I believe that this is a cop out, justifying personal preferences rather than looking at a fairly predictable future and analyzing the skills that will be needed and valued. I wouldn't recommend majoring in something you hate and can not succeed in, but there are certain skills and capabilities that you really should have to allow you to do what you want in the future- and sadly my major doesn't provide many of them.

    So my advice would be- read all the history you can, think about it as a minor- DON'T MAJOR IN IT unless you want to be an academic!
    It's an opinion- not gospel- but it's based on personal experience. Take it for what it's worth.
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2011
  20. patentesq

    patentesq Parent

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2011
    Messages:
    1,587
    Likes Received:
    0
    It may seem counter-intuitive, but technical degrees actually help you get INTO law school. One of the measures by which law schools are ranked is the number of graduates who are gainfully employed after law school. In keeping with receiving a good score in this category, law school admissions offices do keep an eye toward how "employable" the applicant will be after law school based on their pre-law school major and life experience. The admissions offices know that intellectual property lawyers tend to have a high rate of employment after law school. So the technical education anyone receives at a service academy (or as a technical major at an SMC or regular colllege) is actually complementary to the career path of an attorney. If you combine that with the leadership skills one learns as a military officer, it's actually a killer combination. Unfortunately, most "Pre-Law" academic advisors don't have a clue what it is like in the real practice of law and usually follow the "safe" advice that lawyers should be history, english, poly sci, or other similar majors.

    The beauty of being a technical major and going to law school is that you don't have to follow the technical path but can pursue any specialty in legal practice.
     

Share This Page