The Department offers a broad range of courses with emphases in the United States, Europe, and World (including Africa, Latin America, and East Asia).
All members of the History Department are fluent in at least one other language besides English. All have traveled extensively and have done research outside the United States. Our personal teaching styles and approaches to history may vary, but we share important assumptions about teaching and learning history.
We regard wide and critical reading as essential for a broadening of knowledge and experience. The ability to organize material and ask critical questions is vital for working with historical sources and the skill of effective writing as the ultimate key to the enterprise.
We rely on close faculty/student interaction in class discussion and on individual teaching and advising to help foster the development of these skills. While we want you to gain a sense of your own cultural roots, we also insist on a comparative perspective and some significant knowledge of the rich cultural diversity of the past.
The Department of History offers a wide variety of courses that will enhance students’ understanding and appreciation of the human past. The study of history promotes tolerance between peoples and helps make the world and our lives more intelligible. We are the wiser for knowing that our belief systems, institutions, and conflicts have their roots in the past. Courses in the history of Africa, East Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East introduce the creative achievements of other civilizations. Through the exploration of our own national experience and the history of western civilization, students gain a deeper understanding of the historic foundations underlying the challenges we face in our own time.
Students of history learn to collect and interpret data, to develop logical and convincing arguments, and to write with clarity and economy. A degree in history provides a solid foundation for students seeking careers in teaching, archival management, library science, law, politics, international affairs and governments, as well as the training needed for success in graduate school.
Courses at the 100- and 200-level are broad “survey” courses providing overviews of the history of regions and periods. These are the foundation courses for history majors. Courses designated 300-level explore more specialized topics and assume background in lower-division history courses. Courses at the 400-level are conducted as seminars and provide the advanced instruction required for the Senior Research Seminar. The courses described are those offered on a regular basis. From time to time, the department offers new courses. Students should check the full list of courses published by the department at the time of registration.
Program options and requirements
Students majoring in history may be certified to teach social studies at the secondary level. To obtain requirements for teacher certification, please contact the Teacher Education Department.