Welcome undergraduates! The History Department is committed to offering high-quality courses on a range of geographic and thematic areas, and meaningful faculty mentoring for students. History trains students to contextualize knowledge, to gather, evaluate, and synthesize evidence, and to appreciate different perspectives. Critical thinking is the basis for historical study, and the History Department uses this foundation to prepare students for careers in a variety of fields: law, journalism, teaching, business, public service, library sciences, international work, historical research, museums and more.
Our courses develop students’ intellectual, creative, and civic capacities through the study of the past. They generally fall into one of three categories: broad surveys (U.S. History and World History), more specialized upper-division courses, and junior-senior seminars (a capstone research and writing course open only to history majors). All of our upper-division courses (except the junior-senior seminar) function as Humanities Block Electives for students in other Liberal Arts majors. Writing is emphasized in virtually all history courses, and research is integrated into many of them.
Majoring in History
Our undergraduate program offers students majoring in history the opportunity both to explore a range of historical fields and to develop expertise in a particular area of study such as Borderlands history, U.S. history, Latin American history, European history, East Asian history, and Public History.
The History Department also offers two degree plans for students who want to become high school teachers (grades 7 through 12). Roughly half of our majors pursue one of these Teacher Preparation programs. (See Degree Plans.)
History majors will also find public history and study abroad opportunities in our department. They will be considered for one of several departmental scholarships that are offered each year. When they take the junior-senior seminar, history majors have the opportunity to present their research at the department's Frances G. Harper Student History Conference, which is held once a year. In addition, history majors may be eligible to join Phi Alpha Theta, the national history honor society.
Minor in History
Undergraduates majoring in other fields can still satisfy their historical interests by minoring in history. See Degree Plans for specific requirements.
A candidate for departmental honors in history must have demonstrated ability in history, must normally have a grade point average (GPA) of 3.5 in history and a 3.0 overall by the end of the junior year, and must retain these averages until graduation. To graduate with departmental honors, a student must satisfactorily complete an honors thesis, which will be judged by a thesis committee. A candidate for departmental honors must request approval of candidacy during the second semester of the junior year. Approval will depend on a number of factors, including the availability of faculty. If accepted, the honors candidate will enroll in HIST 4390 (Directed Study) during both semesters of the senior year, accumulating a total of 6 hours of 4390 credit on completion of the honors program. Students can contact the chairperson or the undergraduate advisor for further information.