College of Humanities & Fine Arts

BA in History


The student of history is a traveler in many lands. Like all travel, the study of the past–whether in a single course or a dozen–broadens and enriches the human mind and the human personality. The study of history helps us to become decent, literate, humane, compassionate, knowledgeable people who recognize that we cannot deal with the present or prepare to cope with the future without an understanding of the past. Moreover, it is from a study of the past that we acquire familiarity with the great tradition of human values and human dignity.


The mission of the History Department is to explore human experiences in the past as a foundation for understanding the political, social, cultural, economic, gender, and environmental contours of the contemporary world. History students will develop their abilities to conduct research, analyze evidence, and express defensible conclusions. The skills and knowledge acquired in the major will serve them well in a wide range of professional careers and position them to address contemporary challenges, including the impact of structural racism, the erosion of democratic institutions, climate change, and the need for social justice.  Practices of ethical historical inquiry will encourage students to grow as critical, conscientious, and well-informed leaders and scholars who acknowledge the legacies of history as they navigate a diverse and changing world.

Goals & Objectives

  • Graduates will be critical readers of both primary and secondary sources, and will use and properly cite both types of evidence in their written work.
  • Graduates will master the formal styles of writing, argumentation, and presentation that historians use in their work.
  • Graduates will achieve a basic mastery of research techniques in history.
  • Graduates will have effective oral presentation skills.
  • Graduates will understand historiography.
  • Graduates will have a general familiarity with the intellectual, political, economic, social, and cultural history of the United States, Europe, Classical Civilization, the Near-East, and one “Non-Western” area.
  • Graduates will understand the roles of race, class, gender, and ethnicity in history.

Program Learning Outcomes

  1. Students will be able to: 

    1. Communicate historical knowledge, interpretations, and arguments clearly and effectively in their work. 
    2. Demonstrate an understanding of political, social, cultural, economic, gender, and environmental history. 
    3. Formulate research questions and strategies, conduct research using print and digital tools and resources, and properly incorporate and cite primary and secondary sources as evidence.  
    4. Identify historical arguments, evaluate them critically and ethically, and apply the study of the past to real world issues of contemporary concern, including structural racism, the erosion of democratic institutions, climate change, and the need for social justice. 
    5. Demonstrate knowledge of diverse human experiences across time and space, reflecting an understanding of the histories of people of varied races and ethnicities, origins and nationalities, sexualities, gender identities, religions, socio-economic classes, and other intersectional identities. 
    6. Engage in making the past accessible and relevant in the public sphere.