After years of research on the earth’s crust, rocks, and moon, scientists have estimated that earth is around 4.54 billion years old.

Now with that in mind, we can get an idea of just how dense our history is.

Even though we don’t have books that date this far back, scientists have discovered paintings, carvings, drawings and other artifacts that can give us a glimpse into prehistoric times.

There are many reasons why you may want to study history.

It could just be a class that you are taking as part of your university program, you could be making it your career choice or you may have watched a documentary on Netflix that sparked your interest in learning more about the world’s history.

Like previously mentioned, because history is so vast, before hiring a private tutor or signing up for a history class, you may want to get an overview of different types of history classes. This can help you pick what class to sign up for or what type of tutor you will hire.

We have come up with some of the most common types of history classes that universities offer within the United States. We hope that after reading this, you’ll have a better understanding of what type of history class you want to sign up for.

Archeology

view of machu picchu from the top during the day
Built in the 15th century, Machu Picchu is an Incan citadel set high in the Andes Mountains in Peru, above the Urubamba River valley. Source: Visualhunt

Let us start with the first most common type of history, archeology. This field studies human history by analyzing human activity, such as studying artifacts found, first tools and sites such as Stonehenge.

A much simpler way of putting it is by remembering a very famous archeology professor, Indiana Jones.

The life of an archeologist may not undergo crazy adventures such as those portrayed in the films, but still, life as an archeologist can be very fascinating.

People in this field can be excavating sites that are thousands of years old, analyzing physical remains left by our ancestors. Archeologists are also those that examine mummies and tombs in countries like Egypt.

Anthropology

excavation site with a group of historians at work
Anthropology is the scientific study of humans, human behavior and societies in the past and present. Source: Çatalhöyük on VisualHunt

Not to be confused with the clothing retail store, anthropology is the study of humans, human behavior and societies of the past and present.

Anthropologists study human development, culture and even how our language can influence our social life.

Anthropologists have a common goal to understand human evolution. They study the history of previous human societies, cultures all over the world and biological remains.

It could be connected with the study of archeology since they may also study material remains, but anthropology focuses on humans and how we have evolved to where we are today.

Art

A view of the Mona Lisa through a crowd of people
One of the commonly cited reasons for her fame is the 'Mona Lisa's Smile'. Da Vinci exploited human optical illusion to create a unique smile through perspective and by using shadow work. Source: VisualHunt.com

If you’re interested to learn more about the history behind your favorite paintings or sculptures, then art history is a type of class you may want to sign up for. Believe it or not, art history can explain a lot about different time periods in history.

It can give us a glimpse into a time when people looked, dressed differently and even see how whole cities have changed. Often, when walking into a museum, you can feel as if you stepped back in time.

When art historians study paintings, sculptures, furniture or ceramics they are trying to learn crucial times in history and to understand experiences of that timeline.

Artworks are more than just for our viewing pleasure, they can help communicate political, spiritual or even philosophical ideas to us. This is why art historians continuously analyze and study pieces of art more than once.

Some notable artworks that can be worth reading more about are the Mona Lisa, Venus de Milo, The Last Supper, Statue of David and The Starry Night.

There are many notable art periods too that have taught us a lot about art history, such as, the renaissance, impressionism, pop art and modern art.

Just like history in general, art history is very dense and is not an easy type of history to learn and understand, but one thing is definite, it is fascinating!

World Religions

Statue of Buddha in Asia
Buddhism is the world's fourth-largest religion with over 520 million followers, or over 7% of the global population, known as Buddhists. Source: VisualHunt.com

The period of religious history begins with the invention of writing around 5,200 years ago.

Why you may ask? This is because the history of religion refers to the written record of human religious experiences and ideas.

Human beings seek purpose in life and for many religion gives people that sense of purpose.

Religion is much more than just a label on your spiritual beliefs. It can shape people’s morals, customs, traditions, beliefs, and behaviors.

In order to understand a country’s history better, one must have an overall understanding of their religious beliefs. This is where the history of religion comes in. By learning about the religious history of a society, one can understand the beliefs and rituals that move people.

For example, historians who focus on archeology will probably have a general understanding of world religions.

This can come in handy when examining a newly discovered site. If they find a church or even a small chapel, they have to know what this site was used for and the artifacts found.

If you are thinking of becoming a historian in any field, you may be required to take some world religion classes.

United States History

Martin Luther King delivering a speech to a huge crowd
Martin Luther King Jr. was an American Christian minister and activist who became the most visible spokesperson and leader in the Civil Rights Movement from 1955 until his assassination in 1968. Source: National Park Service on Visual hunt

The United States of America can be considered a very young country, but that does not mean that it lacks in history. Even before the United States became the country that it is now, the land had a history of its own.

This country has seen a great number of people such as the indigenous people from Siberia to Native Americas to Europeans.

But why would you want to learn about USA history? For starters, if you are American and living in the USA then learning about your country can be a good enough reason.

Second, why not? Like we mentioned before, history gives us a better understanding of people and the world we are living in today.

By learning more about a country’s history, even more important, your own, it will allow you to see more into your roots.

A huge part of American history that is taught at school is black history. This is the part of American history that looks at the history of African Americans.

Up until the 1860s, millions of Africans were brought to the Americas, with a big part of them being sent to the United States. Once in the USA, they were forced into slavery and thus began a dark time in USA history.

Now, every February is known as Black History Month. It is an annual celebration of achievements by African Americans and a time for recognizing the role of blacks in USA history.

Benefits of Learning History

Like mentioned before, in order to understand our present-day world, we must understand our history.

History can help us understand our cultures, societies, and identities. It also helps us with present-day problems.

By seeing what our ancestors have done in the past to deal with issues, we can learn from them, whether they have made mistakes or succeeded. It reinforces the statement of not making the same mistake twice.

In addition, with historians constantly researching our society, religion, and evolution, it could help us understand the many reasons why people act the way they do.

It is no surprise why history is a very vast subject with plenty of topics!

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Gretta

A California native, reader and writer who is enthusiastic about traveling, cooking, cinema, and yoga.