Profile of History Departments (HDS 3)
Findings and Trends
- Among history departments that were granting degrees in 2007, total enrollment in undergraduate courses was 1,081,590 in fall 2017 (with an average enrollment of 1,174.4 per department).1
- On average, history departments awarded 26.4 bachelor’s degrees per department in the 2016–17 academic year (a statistically significant decrease from 2012). Students also completed an average of 17.2 minors in history per department.
- History departments stand out among the humanities as the most likely to have some form of benchmark requirement for their majors, with 74% requiring a paper or thesis for graduation (compared to just 43% for all disciplines in the survey combined).
- Total enrollment in graduate-level history courses was 28,710 in fall 2017 (with an average enrollment of 31.2 per department). The average number of students pursuing an advanced degree in history was 19.1 per department that granted such degrees.
- History departments employed 15,640 full- and part-time faculty members in fall 2017, with an average of 17 faculty members per department. Almost three-quarters were either tenured or on the tenure track, and 20% of faculty in the discipline were employed part-time.
- Thirty-eight percent of history departments hired a new permanent faculty member for the start of the 2017–18 academic year, while 49% of the departments had a faculty member come up for tenure in the previous two years (a statistically significant decline from five years earlier).
- Women constituted 40% of the faculty members in history departments in fall 2017, one of the smallest shares among disciplines included in the survey. Forty percent of tenured faculty members were women, compared to 51% of faculty members on the tenure track and 36% of those off the tenure track.
- While 94% of history departments provided research support for their full-time tenured or tenure-track faculty members and 67% offered such support for full-time nontenured or non-tenure-track faculty, only 32% offered such support for part-time faculty.
Supporting Student Careers
- Fifty-six percent of history departments rated the career services at their college or university “good” or “very good” for their students, while 11% rated the services “poor” or “very poor.”
- Compared to other humanities disciplines, a relatively large share—approximately a third—of history departments had a professional program (such as teacher credentialing).
Engaging the Digital
- While 29% of history departments had one or more faculty members specializing in the digital humanities in fall 2017, only 20% had formal guidelines for evaluating digital publications for tenure and promotion.
- In the 2016–17 academic year, 31% of history departments offered fully online courses, while 15% offered hybrid courses. Departments offered an average of 4.5 fully online courses and 1.1 hybrid courses (each average was calculated over the number of departments offering a course of that kind).
- 1Students who enrolled in more than one course in the discipline are counted in each course in which they enrolled. The same is true for the graduate course enrollment values given below. Medians for all “per department” quantities mentioned in this section are available in the corresponding data tables (please see the Appendix, Part B).