AB in History in the Philippines

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Program Overview

Bachelor of Arts in History (AB HISTORY) is a four year degree program that helps students understand both Philippine and World history, civilization, economies, governments and cultural studies. It also teaches students how to analyze social, political, economic and cultural issues by using historical facts and information.

The AB History program equips students with training in historical methodology so that they will be able to view and evaluate national, regional and world events in their proper historical perspective.

Subjects and Curriculum

The subjects in the AB History curriculum are divided into five main categories:
  • General Education Courses
    Language and Humanities Cluster, Mathematics, Computer and Natural Science Cluster, Social Sciences Cluster, Mandated Subjects
  • Basic Courses
    Philosophy of History, Historical Methodology
  • Core Courses
    Introduction to the Study and Writing of History, Survey of Western Civilization, Survey of Asian Civilizations, Spanish
  • Required Courses
    • Area Courses: Modern and Contemporary Europe, Island Southeast Asia, Mainland Southeast Asia, Modern East Asia, History of the United States, Islamic History as Global History
    • Philippine History (Thematic Courses): Pre-16th Century Philippines, Economic History of the Philippines, Cultural History of the Philippines, Diplomatic History of the Philippines, Philippine Social History, Nationalism and Revolution, Ethnic Histories
  • Cognate/Electives
    Sociology, Anthropology, Political Science, Psychology, Economics, Geography, Literature (Limited to one discipline)

The AB History program is taught to students through classroom lectures, field trips and educational talks and seminars.

As a culmination of the AB History program, the course requires the student to write a major historical essay/senior thesis, under the guidance of a faculty adviser. The senior thesis is submitted in the final semester of the course of study in consultation with a designated faculty adviser. Students are also expected to finish a thesis paper and complete the designated number of hours for the On the Job Training (OJT).

Is History considered a profession?

Some careers that are related to the History degree, such as Historical Researcher, Museum Curator and Genealogist are considered professions. However many career paths would require you to complete a Master’s or even a Doctorate degree in History.

What are the admission requirements for the AB History program?

Requirements at each school may differ, but most likely only the standard college entry requirements apply:
  • Must be a high school graduate.
    Those who did not complete high school education may opt to first attend Alternative Learning System (ALS) and pass the Philippine Educational Placement Test (PEPT) to qualify for college. However, some universities only offer selected courses for PEPT passers.
  • College entrance exam: must pass the college entrance examination with a specified rating set by the school.
  • Interview: must pass the interview conducted by the college dean/faculty.

What skills, traits and attitude will help you succeed in this course?

  • An interest in human behavior, culture and society
  • English Language Fluency – to be able to succeed in this course, a student must be good in English both orally and in written form; this course will require you to construct arguments, written argument should be expressed in clear, lucid, coherent prose and orally it should sustain a reasoned line of argument
  • Logical skills – ability to gather, sift, select, organize and synthesize large quantities of evidence
  • Critical thinking skills – the ability to recognize that statements are not all of equal validity, that there are ways of testing them.
  • Problem-solving skills – the ability to formulate appropriate questions and to provide answers to them using valid and relevant evidence and argument
  • Analytical skills – throughout the entire course you will be reading a lot of research materials, books and historical findings, interpretation and analysis of documentary evidence is very important. You must be able to assess the credibility of differing written accounts properly and analyze how each piece of evidence fits their narrative of a particular event.
  • Inquisitiveness – strong interest in discovering new information incorporating it into existing facts to create new data.
  • Memorization skills – to be able to survive this course, it is necessary to have strong memorizations skills because you need to remember important dates, events and people.
  • Reading Comprehension – ability to read and analyze texts and other primary sources critically while addressing issues of genre, content, perspective and purpose
  • Interpersonal skills – during OJT you may be assigned in historical societies and museums where you will meet people and impart your knowledge explaining to them the importance of each historical artifact so you need to be friendly and accommodating
  • Computer Literacy – knowledge of computer use and being able to understand application programs

How difficult is AB History?

AB History is a moderately difficult program. Its curriculum is a balance between easy and difficult subjects. Most graduates of this program attest that studying this course is like listening to different stories except that most are true and you need to remember all the important contents of the story. The workload for this program is immense, there are many projects to be complied and lecture hours are quite long. The program will also require a great amount of reading, memorization and analysis thus patience is very important if you want to survive the course.

One of the most challenging parts of the program is the thesis making. The study of History is so wide and complex that students need to choose a topic of interest carefully, one that they can make based solely on facts. Students need to defend their thesis in front of a panel.

The OJT for the AB History program is quite different than in other programs, because you because you are expected to know firsthand important information regarding what’s inside the museum, gallery or any other historical institution that you’re in.

How long does it take to complete the AB History program in the Philippines?

The AB History program takes four years to complete (Note: this may change due to the K-12 integration). The program may be completed in a shorter time in schools that follow the trimestral curriculum.

On the Job Training (OJT)

A student of the AB History program is required to get exposure in the management of documentary materials and other historical records found in archives, libraries, corporate offices, private collections and other depositories. During the OJT, students are given the opportunity to apply their knowledge and practice their skills in actual settings. The OJT program is done under the supervision of a designated authority in the agency/office which will evaluate the student periodically and submit the evaluation form to the assigned faculty member.

The number of hours required for the OJT varies from one school to another.(See source)

Career Opportunities for AB History graduates

Note: most careers related to History studies require a Master's or even a Doctorate degree.
  • Historian – research, analyze, interpret, and present the past by studying a variety of historical documents and sources.
  • History Teacher – needs to take specific units in education, pass the licensure exam for teachers before they can teach history
  • Cultural Heritage Officer – involved in the identification, assessment, conservation and interpretation of places and objects that have cultural heritage value.
  • Historical Consultant – experts in the field of history, provides advice and inspects and analyze historical findings and artifacts most especially for agencies and private individuals
  • Museum Researcher – plans, organizes and conducts research in scientific, cultural, historical, or artistic fields for use in projects of sponsoring institution.
  • Genealogist – strategize and execute research plans to answer family history-related questions. They locate and interpret original records and other sources that utilize first- and second-hand knowledge.
  • Museum Curator – responsible for acquiring, documenting, studying, interpreting and providing access to collections of artifacts, natural history specimens, or pieces of cultural heritage
  • Museum Education Officer – ensure that a museum's collections act as a learning resource for all ages. They work both within the galleries or museums and also in a community context.
  • Archivist – responsible for the provision, care and management of permanent collections of information that are intended to preserve the past and allow others to discover it
  • Historic Preservationist – responsible for ensuring the survival and preservation of historic neighborhoods, sites and buildings
  • Antique Dealer – responsible for buying and selling various antiques, such as ceramics, glass, paintings, sculptures, books, clocks, and many others
  • Ethnomusicologist – responsible for studying the cultural and social aspects of music, and how different cultures create, interpret and enjoy it

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Reviews of AB in History graduates:

H. B.
◈ Studied Bachelor of Arts in History
◈ At Ateneo de Manila University
◈ Graduated 2006

list bulletWhy did I choose History: I chose to study this particular course to understand our present society against the background of the past, and also analyze how this understanding is itself shaped by changing contexts.

list bulletAbout my college education: I had learned in this course fields of education, research, journalism, heritage conservation, tourism, and politics. The most difficult was the Historical Methodology. The most useful was the different civilizations that existed throughout history - the people that composed them, their basic structures and etc.

Exams were pretty difficult. And many people failed in exams. And yes, many people shifted to another course.


list bulletMy current job: I am an Archivist.
Archivists help acquire, catalog and maintain historical documents and records intended for displaying or storing in a museum or other facilities.

list bulletHow long did it take to find a job: Only one week after the On-Job Training.

list bulletAdvice to people who are thinking of studying this course: A comprehensive grasp of history is also a natural first step for students who wish to enter law school or apply for the Foreign Service.
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