Department Chair - Ellen L. Paul
Professor - Michael F. Fry and Neil McHugh
Associate Professor - John Baranski, Michael Martin, Ellen Paul, and Jennifer Stollman
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 numbered 100 are broad topical courses; 200- level courses are “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.
History majors are required to take 14 history courses totaling 45-52 credits. Majors must concentrate in one of the areas listed in the History - Option programs. Under special circumstances, a student may propose a student-constructed concentration. This special option requires the approval of the department chair.
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.
Goals and Objectives
- Familiarize students with the history of human experience in at least three regions of the world.
- Provide students with particular competence in their area of concentration including a factual base of information, familiarity with the important historiographical and interpretive concerns of historians of that area, and an ability to synthesize their understanding around recurrent historical themes.
- Encourage an understanding of how different societies in different times and places have constructed class, race, and gender.
- Encourage development of critical thinking skills – thinking that is rigorous, fair-minded, and nuanced.
- Foster the research and writing skills that enable students to define a suitable topic, conduct thorough and resourceful searches utilizing traditional and new technological sources for relevant information, and express their findings in writing in a clear, persuasive, and interesting fashion.
- Cultivate in students an understanding of the complex epistemological challenges involved in studying history.
- Help students appreciate that a historical understanding of the human experience can contribute in vital ways to a responsible and reflective life as an engaged citizen in a rapidly changing and increasingly integrated world.
Majors and Minors in History:
History Major - European Option
History Major - Social Studies for Secondary Teachers Option
History Major - United States Option
History Major - World Option