Branches of History

6 minute read
Branches of History

We are not makers of history; we are made by history – Martin Luther King Jr. History is not merely the study of the past. One of the most popular arts stream subjects, studying history is essential to understand the glorious historical events of the past that made the world as we see it today. If you are thinking about studying for a degree in History, it is beneficial to have an idea about the different branches of history that you can choose from. This blog brings you a comprehensive guide on branches of history to help you explore the top specialisations you must consider in this field!

What are the Branches of History?

The discipline of history concerns itself with the study and analysis of events in the past. It is an academic subject covered thoroughly in school and also offered for higher studies as perusing world and national history is important since it allows us to gain a thorough understanding of all the events and processes of the past that have contributed to the making of the present society. From topics ranging from the beginning of agriculture in the ancient era to Nazism and the world wars, everything comes under the purview of history.

Now, let’s explore some of the major and sought-after branches of History you must know about!

Branches of History
Branches of History

Branches of History

Here are the major branches of history:

  • Political History: The history of political systems
  • Social History: The history of people and societies
  • Economic History: The history of the economies and economic processes
  • Diplomatic History: The history of international relations
  • Art History: The history of various forms of art
  • Food History: The history of food cuisines
  • History of Science and Medicine: The history of medical science
  • Cultural History: The history of world cultures
  • Women’s History: The history of feminism
  • Intellectual History: The evolution of ideas and famous thinkers
  • Environmental History: The history of our natural environment and its diverse components

Political History

While history is commonly seen as a broader version of political history, this specialised branch encompasses a blend of political science with the study of history. It is one of the commonly opted branches of history and focuses on the analysis of political processes, leaders, movements, events etc. It is concerned with the rise and fall of different political systems as well as political leaders throughout varied incremental phases of history.

Social History

Branches of Social Sciences

Historical events also significantly shape the apparatus and working of society and that’s why this specialisation emerged amongst multifarious branches of history. Social history is concerned with the lived experiences of the past. It is the history of people, their customs, traditions, experiences etc. about the major events of the past.

Economic History

As one of the lesser-known branches of history, this specialisation amalgamates economics with the study of historical events and how they impacted different economies around the world. Economic history aims to understand the different economic processes of the past. It is the study of markets, industries, means of production, consumption, working classes etc.

Diplomatic History

As the name suggests, this branch of history deals with diplomats, diplomatic acts and processes, and relations between two or more nations. The topics of war, peace, treaties, international alliances and organisations fall under this branch.

Art History

Art history is one of the branches of history that deals with the study and analysis of the different visual art forms such as sculptures, paintings, architecture, drawings etc. in the context of their time of creation. It is concerned with unravelling the processes, evolution and meaning behind the art forms.

Food History

This branch of history deals with culinary science in terms of different cultures and their evolution, origins, development, methods and techniques of cooking and its importance. As one of the unique branches of history, it also studies and analyzes the sociological, cultural, economic and environmental impacts of food.

History of Science and Medicine

The history of science and medicine studies the influence of scientific and medical developments in the past on society. Many significant scientific inventions and inventors have been there in the past and this branch of history sets out to discover the renowned as well as forgotten discoveries in science and medicine. 

Cultural History

Culture is another aspect which is significantly explored in history as an academic discipline. It is the study of various aspects of culture including beliefs, ideas, traditions, rituals, language etc. This branch of history analyzes the contributions of these aspects in the creation of cultural identities.

Women’s History

One of the prominent branches of History, Women’s History studies the role of women throughout the major and transformative events in world history. It focuses on the history of feminism as well as renowned women in different fields of study from science, arts, and literature to politics.

Intellectual History

This branch of history deals with the development and evolution of ideas. It is the study of the thoughts and ideas of different thinkers and how these played a role in the shaping of history.

Environmental History

This is a relatively new branch of history which is concerned with the environment and its different components. It studies the effects and influences of human activity and interaction on the shaping of the environment and vice versa.

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List of Top Courses in History

There are an array of undergraduate and postgraduate courses available across several branches of history which students can choose from. Take a look at the complete list of History courses you must consider if you aim to pursue a degree in this vast field of study:

LevelCourses in History
Diploma/CertificateDiploma in Arts (History)
Advanced Diploma in Local, Family and Applied History
Diploma in History and Politics
UndergraduateBA/Bachelor’s in History
Bachelor’s in History and International History
Bachelor of Historical Inquiry and Practice
BA/BSc Hons. Politics and History
Bachelor’s in Modern and Contemporary History
BA in International Relations: European Studies
Bachelor in History with Film Studies
Bachelor in History and Economics
Bachelor in History and English Literature
PostgraduateMasters in Economic History
Masters in Contemporary History
Masters in Medieval Cultures
Masters in History and Sociocultural Analysis
Masters in History
Masters in Ancient Cultures and Languages
Masters in Heritage Studies

Best Universities for Studying History

Now that you know about the different branches of history, below is a list of the top universities around the world for studying history according to the QS World University Rankings 2022:

Massachusetts Institute of Technology United States1
Stanford UniversityUnited States2
Harvard UniversityUnited Kingdom3
California Institute of Technology United States4
University of OxfordUnited Kingdom5
ETH Zurich Switzerland6
University of CambridgeUnited Kingdom7
Imperial College London United Kingdom8
University of ChicagoUnited States9
University College LondonUnited Kingdom10

List of Best Books on Indian History

  1. Discovery of India by Jawaharlal Nehru
  2. India After Gandhi: The History of the World’s Largest Democracy By Ramachandra Guha 
  3. The Argumentative Indian By Amartya Sen 
  4. Freedom at Midnight by Dominique Lapierre and Larry Collins 
  5. The Great Partition by Yashmin Khan 
  6. The Wonder That Was India By A L Basham 
  7. The Last Mughal By William Dalrymple 
  8. India: A History By John Keay 
  9. From Plassey to Partition: A History Of Modern India by Sekhar Bandyopadhyay 
  10. History of Medieval India: From 1000 AD to 1707 AD by RS Chaurasia 

Career Options for History

The career scope of varied branches of history is wide-ranging with a host of opportunities on offer for graduates. Other than the prospects common to all history degrees, there are some specific career options available for specific branches of history as well. Below is a list of some choices that you can look at:

  • Historian
  • Independent Researcher
  • Professor
  • Archaeologist
  • Museologist
  • Art Historian
  • Museum Curator
  • Lecturer
  • Archivist
  • Civil Servant
  • Records Manager


What are the three main branches of history?

Political History: The history of political systems. Social History: The history of people and societies. Economic History: The history of the economies and economic processes.

What are the 7 concepts of history?

In History the key concepts are sources, evidence, continuity and change, cause and effect, significance, perspectives, empathy and contestability.

What are the 3 types of branches?

Legislative—Makes laws (Congress, comprised of the House of Representatives and Senate)
Executive—Carries out laws (president, vice president, Cabinet, most federal agencies)
Judicial—Evaluates laws (Supreme Court and other courts)

Hope this blog was successful in providing you with the different branches of history as well as the top universities and career options to explore in this field. If you plan to pursue your history degree from one of the top universities abroad, reach out to our experts at Leverage Edu and we will guide you in picking a suitable course and university as per your interests, preferences and aspirations!

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