A degree to lead you where you want to go.

If you’re fascinated by the past, Mercyhurst’s Thomas B. Hagen Department of History can help prepare you for a successful future whether you choose to study traditional history, public history and museum studies, documentary filmmaking, or history paired with secondary education as a path to teaching. The unique and individually tailored aspects of this program will equip you with the abilities to conduct thorough research; to analyze and weigh facts; and to produce sound and eloquent conclusions both orally and in writing.

History majors leave Mercyhurst ready to pursue a wide-range of career paths in teaching, research, journalism, law, public service, or museums and historic sites, among many others. Whatever career you pursue post-graduation, a Mercyhurst history degree will prepare you for the challenges of today’s job market. Students without a concrete career goal in mind are guided to their passions through interactions with dedicated faculty, internships, service opportunities and the Senior Capstone experience.

Fast Facts

  • We try to explore historical sites within the states and abroad as often as possible. We’ve traveled from Pittsburgh, PA, all the way to Rome, Italy, and many places in-between

  • Many of our majors choose to teach history at the high school level. Recent graduates have secured positions with schools in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Maryland and Virginia

  • We help facilitate student internships all over the United States and abroad. Our students have interned at such prestigious sites as the Gettysburg National Battlefield, Historic Mount Vernon Gardens and Estate, the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, and the Petrie Museum of Egyptology in London

Learning Outcomes

  • Students will demonstrate an ability to consider, and determine a position on, an historical problem critically.
  • Students will demonstrate a broad understanding of the general characteristics and key developments of major periods of United States, European, and non-western history.
  • Students will demonstrate proficiency with historical sources of information.
  • Students will demonstrate proficiency and maximum fluency in communicating historical knowledge and arguments orally and in writing.
  • Students will demonstrate an understanding of the cultural construction of race, gender, ethnicity and nature in history.
  • Students will demonstrate essential knowledge of material culture scholarship.
  • Students will exhibit an essential understanding of the many dimensions of collecting, preserving and interpreting history for the public.


Students experience a journey of a lifetime, setting sail for two weeks on the U.S. Brig Niagara, a reconstructed replica of the 19th century warship that sailed and fought during the 1813 Battle of Lake Erie.


Students frequently collaborate on significant community and regional history initiatives, such as You Are Here - We Are Here, a multi-faceted project to document and celebrate the multicultural history of Erie’s Eastside."  


Understanding and honoring the rich diversity of human experience is at the heart of our program. Students collaborate on dynamic community projects like the Erie County African American Heritage Trail.

Contact Us

Benjamin Scharff, Ph.D.
Chair, Thomas B. Hagen Department of History
Office: Preston 118
Phone: 814-824-2326
Email: bscharff@mercyhurst.edu