Do you wish to study history but don’t know why? Or your counsellor thinks there’s a bleak future ahead of you should you enroll for a history degree? Or it’s neither of those and you just need a guide to the best history courses across the country. This is a compilation of the best schools that offer history degrees in Nigeria.
Why Do We Study History?
Without history, you would be ignorant of your country’s origin and how it has progressed to its current state. Patriotism doesn’t revolve around singing the national anthem or reciting the pledge. Rather, it entails knowing the three stages Nigeria has gone through; pre-colonial rule, colonialism, and the post-independence disillusionment era. You can’t claim patriotism if you’re clueless about your country’s story and the price your predecessors paid for a better nation. Just as there are national historical events, there are cultural, tribal, and religious stories.
Patriotism aside, self-discovery is an important aspect of human existence that’s shunned and overlooked by many. To understand the present, we need to take a sneak peek into the past. While some of the benefits of self-discovery include improved mental health, confidence, and less stress, it’s been proven that recounting childhood experiences and historic events helps in the discovery of one’s full potential. You don’t need a history degree, however, to know your history or that of your family.
At the senior secondary school level, art students are mandated to take History and/or Government classes. While History is all-encompassing, Government addresses only a few historical topics and they include the Nigerian coup, the Pre-Colonial era, and British Colonial rule. History doesn’t predict the future but makes us mindful of the past. Thus, we study history to create a better future by being wary of past mistakes.
No historian passes through four rigorous academic sessions without emerging a near-perfect debater and writer. This course isn’t about listening to boring lectures, cramming dates, and becoming a walking encyclopedia. However, it features engaging debates, seminars, project defence, public speaking, and a series of academic write-ups.
"We are not makers of history. We are made by history."
Martin Luther King, Jr. - American Activist.
Types of Art History Courses
We all have subjects we are passionate about, this goes for history as well. Although many Nigerian universities have history departments, they all differ in course content. For this reason, you must research the institution that offers the university history course you’re passionate about. Just as history classes differ, so do history degrees as well. Depending on your qualification, you can apply for any of the following history degrees in Nigeria: NCE, B.A., M.A, and PhD.
It’s evident that a course such as this will offer you transferrable skills like cross-referencing, fact-finding, academic research, content writing and editing, information technology, critiquing, and in-depth analysis. Nothing beats studying a course that's capable of teaching you numerous skills sought by employers. Every employer wants a computer literate, analyst, critical thinker, and most importantly a flexible employee who's willing and ready to unlearn and relearn. What other reason do you need to enroll for a History degree?
The following sectors employ the services of history postgraduates:
- Publishing Firms
- Libraries and Archives
- Park Rangers
- Primary and Secondary Schools
- Business & Finance
- Marketing & Advertising
"Anybody can make History. Only a great man can write it."
History Degrees in Nigeria
An undergraduate history degree in Nigeria is four years for matriculating students and three years for direct entry students. In your freshman and second year, you will take courses in every history area. By your third session in the department, you will specialize in one area. In history, recounting incidents and quoting dates is elementary because you will progress to cause and effect analysis. A typical example is investigating what caused the revolutions, as well as, civil wars and the resultant effect these wars have had on the various economies.
You will take tests and exams, just like any other academic course and for your final year project, you’ll write a long essay based on the area approved by your project supervisor. Some key areas students work on includes European History, African History, Indo-European History, and American History. There are situations where students lose interest or have a greater passion for somewhat similar courses like International Relations, Social Studies, or Politics. For this reason, they pursue a Master’s or PhD degree in any of those fields.
How to Study?
There are several ways you can study for this degree. You can follow the flexible and remote method the Open University and Distance Learning Centre offer or you can follow the conventional method Nigerian universities offer. Irrespective of the teaching method you choose, which depends largely on your financial capacity and age, the admission requirements for a history degree is the same anywhere.
You need the following A-Level subjects to study for a history degree:
- English Language
- Literature in English
- Religious Studies
Do you know you can employ the services of a history tutor on Superprof?
Most Nigerian universities offer history as a combined honors course. That’s why you often don’t find history as a standalone course, rather you’re compelled to study it alongside International Relations or English. Only a few Nigerian universities like the University of Ibadan, Bayero University Kano, and the National Open University of Nigeria offer history as a standalone course. Other universities, like Veritas University and Lead City University, offer History and International Relations.
College of Education
You can apply to study History at any college of education in Nigeria. The degree, however, would only qualify you for teaching positions in schools. Unlike universities that certify graduands worthy of a Bachelor of Arts degree, you will have only an NCE degree.
"Histories make men wise; poets, witty; the mathematics, subtle; natural philosophy, deep; moral, grave; logic and rhetoric, able to contend."
Where to Study History
Here, we would highlight a few Nigerian universities offering History and provide additional information on what you would learn should you choose to study with them.
History Lessons in Abuja
Veritas University Abuja– History BA
“In addition to giving the students a thorough understanding of the history of Nigeria, Africa and contemporary issues in international relations, students will acquire the skills to critically and rigorously analyse local and global historical movements that have shaped and continue to shape the lives of ordinary people in Nigeria Africa and the world over.
In addition to the intellectual alertness that arise from the knowledge of history; students will also acquire the analytical faculty to and balanced judgement in readiness for research, administrative and managerial responsibilities. Students are also expected to acquire the awareness on how the realities of our contemporary world necessitate comparative study of other major areas of Europe and Asia and the new insights into the main political, social and economic forces that have shaped specific historical events and also how these historical events and other factors have enhanced or impeded world historical development.”
History Lessons in Kano
Bayero University Kano – History B.A., M.A.
The philosophy of the Department of History has always been the preservation, the development and the propagation of the culture languages and religion of the society in which we live. With due regard for the bigger word in which we live, which includes not only the other Northern states, but Nigeria and Africa as a whole, and indeed all of human society, the Department seeks to provide a balanced education and research centre dedicated to the development of society and each of its members.
The Department aims to develop and enhance our students’ awareness of the values, contributions, and potentialities of their own social, cultural and spiritual environment. We also strive to equip them to contribute meaningfully towards the attainment of national goals and the satisfaction of national needs. We recognize the necessity of instilling in them the spirit of self-reliance, self-pride and self-actualization. Towards this, Nigerian History is taught at every level, and is a required core course of our undergraduate programmes.
- To give students a thorough understanding of Nigerian history and Historiography planted firmly in the context of African and World history.
- To educate students on historical movements of global importance in other continents in order to enable them acquire better knowledge of the world and thus promote world peace.
- To make students comprehend the historical forces and developments which have shaped and are still shaping the lives of the peoples of Nigeria, Africa and the world.
- To develop in the students a sense of commitment and capacity to consciously relate to the unity and progress of Nigeria and prosperity of Africa and the World.
- To provide the students with advantages usually associated with historical training such as critical and analytical faculty and balanced judgment needed particularly in teaching, administrative and managerial responsibilities."
History Lessons in Ibadan
Dominican University Ibadan – B.A. History
"Dominican offers both a major and a minor in history as well as history programs for secondary and middle school teachers.
History classes at Dominican develop students’ skills in logical thinking, creativity and critical analysis that are applicable to many careers, including law, banking, teaching and public service.
Among the most interdisciplinary of the liberal arts, history encompasses the study of the arts, economics, law, literature, politics and social change, and encourages students to examine issues or ideas from many perspectives."
History Lessons in Lagos
University of Lagos - B.A. History and Strategic Studies
As a prospective student at the Department of History and Strategic Studies, you would take courses in Nigerian, European, Asian, American, and African history. Also, you'll be taught Economic History, the History of Political Thought, International Relations, and Historiography. Schooling students in these courses aim to produce graduates who can think independently and facilitate nation-building.
History Lessons in Port-Harcourt
University of Port-Harcourt – History & Diplomatic Studies BA
“The aim of the Department is informed by the need to remain relevant to the changing demands of the dynamic local, national and international community in the new millennium with its array of complex challenges, and to benefit maximally from the opportunities that arise. To this end, the programmes of the Department are designed to achieve the following objectives:
(i) To seek solutions to the questions concerning our existence and conditions- questions of how, when and why we came to be what we are and where we are going from here.
(ii) To train professionals in the discipline who may continue in the search for answers to questions in the areas of history, diplomacy and culture, with a view to equipping them with the knowledge and skill to cope with the demands of the emerging global village.
(iii) To equip our students with the appropriate knowlege and skill to create and/or find employment in the complex labour market and to live a good and responsible life. (iv) To produce more versatile graduates who are equipped with the knowledge of a historian and the skill of a diplomat and culture resource managers.”
If you want to know how to study history and still secure a high-paying job, you need to bag a first-class or something close and specialize in one area for your Master’s programme.