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Degree Options

Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in history.

Description of Program

The discipline of history lies at the core of liberal education. The History Department provides undergraduates with an historical perspective from which they can analyze the contemporary world. Knowledge of the past is key to understanding the present. To think historically is to think critically but with the advantage of contextualizing and interpreting the present in light of the past. It is what every informed citizen does when formulating an opinion or facing an important life decision, especially in times of profound change.

At a time when the average college graduate will work in four or more different professions during their lifetime, our program prepares and empowers students with modular and transferable skills. Mastering the “information age” requires students to read, write, think, speak, and analyze data proficiently, but students must also possess the flexibility and adaptability to function in an ever-changing global economy.

The department’s courses investigate those ideas and institutions by which people have attempted to shape and order their world. The department is especially interested in periods that experience pronounced social, economic and political conflict. The department believes that comparative history is an effective way to achieve many 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 several special interest courses and encourages students to propose their own independent study projects. Individuals considering careers that demand the historian’s skills should ask us about internships.

Students majoring in history can look forward to careers in 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.

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 6 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.
  • History majors who have an overall GPA of 3.25 and a GPA in history of 3.50 by the end of the fall semester of their junior year qualify for the History Department Honors Program. Extending over the two semesters of the senior year, this program involves the completion of a major research project. Interested students should consult with the department chair for more details.

Requirements for Minor

21 credit hours, which must include 6 hours in advanced-level courses (numbered 100-149) and 6 hours in Colloquia (numbered 150-190). The student’s major adviser can supervise the program for the history minor.

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