History

PROGRAM OVERVIEW The History Department provides undergraduates with an historical perspective from which they can analyze the contemporary world.

The department’s courses investigate those ideas and institutions by which people have attempted to shape and order their world. We are especially interested in periods that experience pronounced social, economic and political conflict. We believe that comparative history is an effective way to achieve many of our goals.

The History Department’s program helps students learn to think clearly, to analyze and interpret a broad range of materials and to express themselves both orally and in writing. Courses equip students with the analytical and interpretive skills they require to become enlightened citizens, to pursue professional and business careers and to continue with the advanced study of history. The department offers several categories of courses. Introductory courses provide general coverage of specific topics. Advanced level courses and colloquia involve intensive examination of complicated subject matter. Seminars require the completion of a major research project or projects.

The department also offers a number of special interest courses and encourages students to propose their own independent study projects. Individuals considering careers that demand the historian’s skills ask us about internships.

FACULTY The Department of History includes 8 full-time faculty with doctorates in history.

ACADEMIC PREPARATION No prerequisite high school courses or requirements are needed for enrollment in the history program, but students should have a well-rounded academic high school curriculum, and an interest in research and analysis.

REQUIREMENTS FOR MAJOR 39 hours in history or 27 hours in history and 12 hours in a single related field. Students must receive their academic adviser’s approval of the related field, which must come from a second major. All majors must take History 1 and 2, at least 6 hours of advanced level courses, at least 6 hours of colloquia and 3 hours of a senior seminar described below.

  • Introductory courses (numbered 1-99) are designed for students who have a limited background in history. They focus on a number of broad trends that developed within a specific region or country over an extended time period. They also acquaint students with differing schools of historical interpretation.
  • Advanced-level courses (numbered 100-149) are designed to allow individuals to undertake an intensive examination of a narrower topic than is possible in introductory courses. The major requires at least six hours of Advanced Level Courses.
  • Colloquia (numbered 150-190) are designed for qualified upper division students who wish to examine a specific topic in great depth. Colloquia are limited to 20 persons and involve reading a large quantity of material about complex and controversial issues. Students are required to analyze and discuss the reading material as well as to write a series of short essays on assigned topics.
  • Senior Seminars (numbered 196-198) are designed for individuals in their junior and senior years who have demonstrated an ability to deal with complex historical issues. The courses are limited to 12 persons and involve the satisfactory completion of a significant amount of research in primary material. Students are expected to participate fully in class discussions, present oral reports and produce competently researched and written papers.

REQUIREMENTS FOR MINOR Twenty-one credit hours, which must include six hours in Advanced-level Courses (numbered 100-149) and six hours in Colloquia (numbered 150-190). The student's adviser can supervise the program for the history minor.

DRAKE CURRICULUM The Drake Curriculum, required of all undergraduates, is designed to help students meet personal and professional goals as they acquire fundamental knowledge and abilities in ten Areas of Inquiry, including communication, critical thinking, artistic experience, historical consciousness, information and technology literacy, international and multicultural experiences, scientific and quantitative literacy, values and ethics and engaged citizenship. Students work closely with their academic advisers to craft a program of study in general education that prepares students for civic and professional leadership.

The Drake Curriculum also requires first-year seminars, which foster development of critical thinking and written and oral communication skills through a topical focus; and a Senior Capstone, in which students demonstrate the capacity to bring information, skills and ideas to bear on one project.

INTERNSHIPS & OPPORTUNITIES The department offers a number of supervised local internships in various aspects of historical work.

CAREER OPTIONS Students majoring in history can look forward to careers in education, business, industry and government service as well as in libraries and archives. They find that a history major prepares them to enter graduate programs in law, business and history. Those wishing to teach in public schools can obtain certification by completing the appropriate professional courses in teacher education.

STUDENT ORGANIZATIONS AND ACTIVITIES The Department encourages students to join Phi Alpha Theta and the Drake History Society. Phi Alpha Theta is a national honor society that promotes the study of history and provides opportunities for fellowship among history students. Persons interested in joining must have a 3.1 GPA in 12 or more credit hours of history and a 3.0 overall GPA excluding history. There are no GPA or credit-hour requirements for membership in the Drake History Society, which often serves as a point of entry into Phi Alpha Theta.

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