Colleges to research for kid interested in MIS & History?

Looking for some college suggestions for D26 to go research, who’s a freshman in HS. Yes, starting early in looking into this, but she’s asked because she has an older sister (D24) who’s started investigating colleges to apply to, so it’s sort of ‘front and center’ in a lot of discussions lately at home.

D26’s current interests:

  • Really interested in MIS. Taking AP Computer Science Principles for elective this year.
  • Big fan of history, especially American History. If the college had a class in WWII history, she’d be a really happy camper.
  • Wants to minor in history. Is also considering double major instead of minor.
  • Wants to definitely major is “something involving computing,” but would prefer a major that doesn’t require a bunch of physics (hence the MIS focus instead). Chemistry undergrad requirements are ok though.
  • Math is not her strong suit. Has to work really hard to get B’s. Is on track to take AP Calc A by the end of high school.

Other details which might be helpful:

  • Good student, ranged in GPA in middle school from 3.5-4.0. Attends rigorous public charter school. Small school with ~75 students in her grade.
  • Just started year #2 of being on the VEX Robotics team. But doesn’t want to study engineering in college because of the math & physics requirements. She’s taken physics, bio, & chem in middle school & found chem & bio to be easier than physics.
  • We do not qualify for any financial-need-based financial aid. But cannot afford more than ~$27-28k/yr for tuition+room/board. D26 will be paying for books, spending $$, incidentals herself. So we’d need merit aid at any private schools or OOS public colleges.
  • Hasn’t taken any sort of 9th grade PSAT or anything yet, so no idea what standardized test scores are going to be like.
  • Took Robotics elective last year, really liked that class.
  • Quiet, reserved, nerdy kid who’s into Marvel, Star Wars & video games. Introverted. Very diverse group of HS friends. We are Caucasian, but she would be very comfortable at a school with fair amount of diversity.
  • Had to take a rigorous econ class last year in 8th grade (all of the 8th graders required to take it), did really well in it, doesn’t find the idea of business classes to be daunting like her older sister does. :blush:
  • LACs are fine, as long as there’s some sort of MIS-ish sort of major available OR if she could major in computer science (BA, for example) but have a merit scholarship whose annual renewal requirement isn’t something crazy like a 3.5 GPA each semester in order to keep the scholarship (i.e., since a comp sci major will require usually 1-1.5 yr of engineering Calculus + a semester of Linear Algebra).

D26 has asked what schools she should go research which have an MIS major + also have some upper division American history classes. So far, here’s what I’ve told her to go explore:

  • U of A (in state for us)
  • ASU (in state for us)
  • NAU (again, in state, but D26 not interested in going there)
  • UNM (AZ HS student reciprocal scholarship which gets us NM resident tuition rates)
  • Ole Miss – D26 is not a traditional ‘rah rah’ sports kid and isn’t interested in Greek life, but she looked at all of their History department course descriptions and loved all of the American history elective options.
  • UAH (Univ of Alabama-Huntsville) – good OOS auto merit scholarships, seems to have a solid MIS program + there’s history major/minor option there, too (probably not as strong dept as some other schools). Good coop program w/local employers (i.e., internships). I think she’d fit in well w/the student population here better compared to Ole Miss.
  • High prestige LACs are out of our price range.

NOT considering schools in:

  • Montana
  • Wyoming
  • New England
  • Utah
  • North or South Dakota
  • Idaho
  • CA
  • Alaska – too far away
  • Hawaii – too far away + too high cost of living
  • Any Ivy League or Top 20/25 school – out of our price range

Ideas? Thoughts? Factors we should consider in the years ahead?

MIS is usually a business-based major focused on managing computers, rather than designing and developing them like CS.

MIS and other business-based majors may have science as general education requirements, although usually “physics for poets” type courses are acceptable.

CS may or may not require physics and/or chemistry, depending on how engineering-focused it is at the given college. CS at liberal arts colleges or in liberal arts divisions of universities are less likely to have science requirements beyond general education requirements.

CS commonly requires calculus, linear algebra, discrete math, and upper level math-like CS theory courses.

May want to investigate major requirements for the majors at each college to check for how well they match her interests.


Stop at Arizona - it’s a safety, it’s one of the top MIS schools in the country, it’s cheap for you.

History can do anywhere.

Other solid MIS schools that would work for history - buy why - Texas (not a safety), Indiana, MN, ASU, UMD and others - I think UGA Terry School.

Honestly - it starts and stops with U of A.

If you want to go to Alabama, for business, Bama MIS will be far stronger than UAH. Both have great merit.

But It’d be nuts for an MIS degree to leave your home state - even for an Ivy. You have one of the top schools right there, beautiful campus, great honors dorm…

And you are waaaaaay too early…it’s more than likely your student will be off the MIS phase in a year. Mine went through 4 possible majors in HS.


Yes, but it is a broad subject, so faculty interests and course offerings can vary across departments. It may be worth investigating the history course offerings to see if the department offers the areas of history that are of the most interest. Also, some history courses may exist under area, cultural, ethnic, and gender studies (which tend to cover history as well as sociology, political science, literature, etc. relating to the area, culture, ethnicity, or gender in question) or other departments (e.g. economic history in an economics department, history of math in a math department).

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I appreciate the input! I think she’d be pretty happy at U of A. We used to live in Tucson. U of A is a great school and Tucson is a cool town. Haven’t done a formal tour yet…doing that w/D24 in October. It’ll be interesting to see what the honors dorm looks like.

It’s awesome. Dining hall on bottom. Gym and counseling center adjacent.

Yes i was a history undergrad major and there are different eras and specialties and most schools will cover them in choose this track or eiectives, and most main stream non tech schools will cover 98% of the kids just fine.

I suspect your 9th graders interests will change b4 u get to picking colleges. It’s great to tag along on visits but I wouldn’t even be having discussions about them. Way too early. You don’t even know what their academics will look like.

On another note, when you’re in Tucson, make sure you get an eegie. Yeah they’re in Phoenix now too but it’s still a Tucson treat.

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Though this is true, American history and 20th century history (especially WWII) are well represented in virtually all history departments. The charts below, courtesy of the American Historical Association, give you some idea of the relative popularity of US and European history (~2/3 of history faculty).


We moved from Tucson to Phoenix about 4 years ago and Eegee’s is one of the biggest things my kids missed from Tucson! LOL. Now we’ve got one about 15 min from our house and my kids are happy campers. :grinning:

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Yes, it’s early to be looking at colleges. But if you happen to be taking a vacation near any of these places, these are some colleges you might want to visit/think about, particularly as the MIS interest may change over time.

Check out the Colleges That Change Lives (CTCL) schools. These tend to be smaller schools (2k and under) that have an emphasis on undergraduate teaching. All the schools offer history majors, but some of the majors that might seem less likely at schools with a closer resemblance to liberal arts colleges are:

  • Austin (TX) with majors in Computer Science, Data Science & Analytics, Business Administration, Business Finance, and can create one’s own major
  • Southwestern (TX) offers majors in Computational Mathematics, Computer Science, Data Science, Financial Economics, plus Business.
  • Birmingham-Southern (AL) offers majors in Applied Computer Science, Accounting, Business (Management, Finance & Marketing). This school also did a tuition reset a few years ago, so the sticker price is much more reasonable, to boot.
  • Centre (KY) offers majors in Computer Science, Data Science, and Economics & Finance
  • Hendrix (AR) offers majors in Computer Science, Economics, and Economics and Business. It also has a flagship match program, so this may end up being comparable to U of A. or ASU price-wise.

If your daughter is super-interested in World War II, then she may want to take a closer look at some New Orleans schools, as the city is home to the National World War II museum and has many scholars who specialize in that area. It also has lots of other historical research and context options available.

  • Loyola New Orleans (LA) offers majors in Accountancy, Business Analytics, Computer Information Systems, Computer Science, Economics, Finance, etc
  • U. of New Orleans (LA) offers majors in Computer Science (with no physics requirements) and in history, where the National World War II Museum, Presidential Counselor teaches.

The World War II Museum also offers an online Master’s degree in World War II Studies. Guess where a number of the professors are from? Arizona State…going to show, don’t overlook your in-state options!

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I didn’t address this, but I just want to say, make sure your daughter focuses on high school now. Have her do things that interest her, develop friendships, and focus on her academics. I was one who was very interested in the college process way before it was “time” for me to do so, so I understand the impulse there. Make sure that any college discussions are initiated by her though, not the parents.
Also, when discussing colleges, talk about aspects you like (which it sounds like y’all are doing). The history offerings here are amazing, or I like how this school has residential colleges, or it’s really neat that it has these opportunities to try out different sports. Do not talk about the Top 20 or 25 schools or U.S. News and World Report (USNWR), etc. Also, refrain from thinking about doing Extracurricular Y instead of Extracurricular Z because of how it might look on a college application. If you’re on family vacations, visit large, medium, and small schools. Visit rural, suburban, or urban schools. But only if it remains an interest of your daughter’s. If she’s not interested, then don’t push it; she’ll have plenty of time, and her interests are very likely to change during high school.

Even though I’ve been saying do this and don’t do that, I really want to commend you for how your family has started looking at this process. So many families start their search at the most selective universities in the country and the students feel a lot of pressure to achieve that level, regardless of whether any of the schools considered are the best fit for the student, simply because of the school’s “rank.” You’ve figured out your budget and you’re looking for programs that intersect with your daughter’s interests. That is exactly the right protocol. Your daughter is very lucky to have her family guiding her in this way.


You’ve knocked out most of the WUE schools, so you’ve also knocked out a lot of OOS schools that might be in your price range.

It’s likely most schools, from LACs to the biggest Flagships, will offer American History and WWII classes. The question might be how often they offer them. My daughter was a history major at Wyoming (and is now in grad school there) and it’s a small department in a small school. The catalog lists tons of history classes but they all aren’t offered every semester or even every year. One of the professors is very into WWII, so there are almost always classes in that period. This May he took a class to Germany and (was supposed to be Poland but because of the war and refugees in Poland it was switch to) Prague. My daughter went and it was wonderful. She often takes classes from him but sometimes she’s already taken them all. One year the focus was on various religious history classes (classes are often cross listed in religion, archeology, architecture or art) but then the next year there were none in religious studies.

I don’t think history will be an issue so find the schools you like that can fit your other criteria (cost, MIS, location) and figure out if that history dept will work.


That leaves WA, OR, CO, NM, NV, and some Pacific island locations in the WICHE / WUE tuition discount region. Here is a list of WUE eligible schools in those places:'s&studentStatus=Freshmen%20Only

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If she wants out of the desert, consider Western Washington University. Gorgeous coastal location in Bellingham, a WUE (competitive award, but available for all majors) and offers MIS.


There are some great schools in Colorado that are part of WUE/WICHE that wouldn’t be too expensive…
-Colorado State
-Ft. Lewis College
-Western Colorado University

-University of Denver (thought it’s expensive)
-Colorado College (again, may be expensive)

And would University of Colorado-Boulder work?

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