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The Department of History offers a major and a minor in History. Our program is grounded in the humanities and connects closely to disciplines in the social sciences.

Our students obtain rigorous training in the practice and knowledge of history and are also encouraged (often via our 28+9 option) to combine these skills with those of related disciplines.

In keeping with Drake’s commitment to training engaged global citizens, our Department has constructed its program to be global in scope. Our faculty teach classes across a range of time periods and geographies, including Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Americas. Our research and teaching interests also embrace subfields that include women’s, social, cultural, environmental, political economy, and intellectual histories.

In the classroom, we prize discussions that grapple with complex historical problems. Recognizing that there are no easy answers to such issues, we train you to generate evidence from multiple types of sources, both primary and secondary, and to construct reasoned arguments for debates over these important questions. Small class sizes and a ratio of one faculty member to about 10 advisees foster direct relationships between professors and students. This engenders opportunities for you to develop your own research agenda, as well as fruitful discussions about internships, independent studies, and career options.

Our History classes have responded to the challenges of COVID-19 in a variety of creative ways. As an example, learn about students' experience in HIST 194 Intro to Public History, taught by Dr. Megan Sibbel, during Spring 2020 when the pandemic unexpectedly moved all classes online.

Outside the classroom, you will have opportunities for service and internships such as mentoring middle-schoolers for National History Day, interpreting at Living History Farms, or working with Senator Tom Harkin's papers in Special Collections at Cowles Library. We also have an active local chapter of Phi Alpha Theta that promotes community among History students.

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

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