Department of History, Philosophy and Religious Studies

Why History?
History encompasses everything that happened in the past – be it political, economic, religious, social, medical, environmental, etc. Whereas some disciplines focus one of these areas, historians look at all of them. Historians actively draw on research methods pioneered in other fields, including economics, political science, sociology, anthropology, literature, and philosophy. This is why history is sometimes called “the queen of the social sciences” and humanities.

History is everywhere - from street names and monuments in your hometown to Hollywood blockbusters about the Second World War. Because the past is a living thing, the way we remember it brings our communities together and determines how we see our place in the world. When we study
the past, we learn about how we got to where we are today, and where we might go in the future.

History is practical – students in History classes learn to piece information together in order advance arguments about the past, and the historical method cultivates critical and flexible thinking, imagination, and the ability to distill and communicate information. These are skills that employers in
the corporate, non-profit, and professional world require. History also provides excellent preparation for graduate school in a variety of disciplines.

What Will You Learn As A History Major?
The B.A. in History will prepare you to assess evidence, evaluate other people's arguments, make up your own mind, and express your views in a sophisticated and compelling way.

You will not be expected to remember a long list of names and dates. Instead, you will learn how to use historical sources in order to understand how societies function. For example, by looking at how modern industry developed, you will be able to explore the relationship between economic change, the environment, and public policy. Similarly, by examining interethnic relations in the past, you will be able to analyze how multicultural societies such as Kazakhstan work today.

More broadly, you will learn to understand sophisticated texts and to formulate your own arguments in a clear and convincing manner. Through the study of History you will improve your written and oral communication skills in English. You will search for information and evaluate evidence, which you will then present in a variety of formats. With a degree in History, you will be able to:

  • Distill, process and communicate information to others in English
  • Analyze information and compose original arguments
  • Understand how societies worked in the past and apply that knowledge to current situations
  • Assess other people’s arguments and advance your views in a clear and convincing manner
  • Understand the diversity of cultures, societies, and belief systems

What Can You Do With A Degree In History?

You will acquire a range of skills that will prepare you for work in diverse and competitive areas. History graduates pursue careers in law, the civil service, diplomacy, management and marketing, information technology, financial services and corporate analysis, journalism, and in education and research. Recent graduates of our History program have also been accepted into prestigious graduate school programs, including those at Georgetown University, Central European University, and the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy in Singapore.

At HPRS, your training will be as good as in the leading universities of Europe and America. You will work with the leading specialists in their fields, and benefit from cutting-edge scholarship.

You will study the history of different parts of the world, from America to Central Asia and China. You will be able to focus on political, cultural, environmental, and economic history. As a history major, you could take classes in:

  • Islamic History of Central Asia
  • The Totalitarian Phenomenon
  • Eurasian Environmental History
  • Women in Islam
  • Public Health, Society, and the State
  • Global Histories
  • World Religions

… and many more!

History students can choose between two capstone options. The Dissertation track gives students the experience of writing a long research essay, and is recommended for students intending to go on to Graduate School. Alternatively, students can complete the Public History track, in which they will
partner with local institutions to create an exhibit, series of talks, or a film for a public audience. This track is recommended for students who want to go into careers that involve public speaking and communicating ideas.