History Major

The Department of History offers introductory survey courses, research methods seminars and upper level subject studies in American, European, African, Asian and Middle Eastern history. Thematic courses address film and history, military history, biography, and gender, race, and cultural studies. The senior capstone seminar provides opportunity for independent research by examining historical documents. Departmental honors, Phi Alpha Theta, history club and field trips provide students additional opportunities to interact with faculty. The department encourages students to consider studying abroad or to complete an internship as a supplement to the major or minor.

The history program offers two tracks, one for history majors, and the other for students pursuing majors in both history and secondary education. Track 1: History, requires a minimum completion of 33 credit hours. Track 2: History-Secondary Education requires a minimum of 27 hours. Do note, Track 2: History-Secondary Education requires the necessary Department of Education courses needed to earn a major in Secondary Education. Please refer to the Secondary Education page for specific requirements.

The following courses are required for all history majors. 

Methods in History Course (3 hrs.)

Choose one: 

HIST 250: Engaging the Past: Colonial America
3 credit hours

This course examines the history of colonial societies in the Americas. Through the use of the course’s thematic material, students will be introduced to the basic skills used by historians in their investigation of the past, including a close reading and contextualization of primary source texts, the study of historical interpretations and controversies, citation and research methods, effective writing techniques, and oral communication skills.

HIST 255: The Black Death
3 credit hours

This course examines the history of the bubonic plague and other contagions, focusing particularly on the Black Death of 1347 to 1351. Through the use of the course’s thematic material, students will be introduced to the basic skills used by historians in their investigation of the past, including a close reading and contextualization of primary source texts, the study of historical interpretations and controversies, citation and research methods, effective writing techniques and oral communication skills.

HIST 258: Revolutions, 1789-1917
3 credit hours

This course examines the history of revolutions. Through the use of the course’s thematic material, students will be introduced to the basic skills used by historians in their investigation of the past, including a close reading and contextualization of primary source texts, the study of historical interpretations and controversies, citation and research methods, effective writing techniques and oral communication skills.

(Students must meet this requirement before enrolling in any 300-level history course):

American History Courses (6 hrs.)

HIST 101: United States History to 1865
3 credit hours

A broad survey of the major political and social developments from the time of Columbus to the Civil War.. Offered fall semester.

HIST 102: United States History 1865 to Present
3 credit hours

A broad survey of the major political and social developments from the Civil War to the present. Offered spring semester.


Track 1: History

American History (3 hrs.)

Choose one additional course from American history: 

HIST 251: History of Slavery
3 credit hours

Exploration into the history and social, political and cultural significance of slavery and the slave trade in various societies and cultures; from slavery in the ancient world to transatlantic slave trade to slavery and its legacy in the modern era.

HIST 265: Native American History
3 credit hours

Examines the history of Native Americans from the 1400s to the present. Topics include cultural diversity before European invasions as well as Indian-European encounters. The slave trade, Indian Removal, accommodation and resistance will also be discussed. From Cahokia mounds to the Great Plains resistance, the class provides insights into the complexity of Native American societies and the diversity of the American experience.

HIST 266: The Atlantic World, 1400-1800
3 credit hours

This course examines the Atlantic world, particularly the connections between the peoples of Europe, Africa, and the Americas. Topics include merchant trade, piracy, exploration, conquest, indigenous peoples, slavery, religion, and empire. Primary sources include maps, chronicles, newspapers, and slave narratives. Special focus on cultural history especially the impact and legacy of negotiation, conflict and exchange.

HIST 274: Vietnam and American Society
3 credit hours

This course examines America’s participation in the Vietnam War and how the conflict shaped the lives of Americans who lived through that era. Offered fall semester.

HIST 320: The American Revolution
3 credit hours

This course examines the revolutionary origins of America and its transition into a new nation. Topics include the experiences of soldiers, the transformation of politics, and the social revolution that followed war. Changes for Native Americans, African Americans and women will also be examined as well as the global implications of the Revolution, and its influence on future anti-colonial rebellions.

HIST 330: The American Civil War
3 credit hours

The causes, nature and consequences of the Civil War; emphasis placed on political and social interpretations of the war, as well as its military events.

HIST 343: Latin American History
3 credit hours

This course examines the history of Latin America. Beginning with the indigenous societies of Central and South America, as well as the Caribbean, it follows the growth of colonial societies as indigenous, European, and African populations formed new and diverse cultures. Concludes with a history of decolonization and modern Latin American history.

HIST 350: African-American History
3 credit hours

A survey of nineteenth and twentieth century African-American history, with an emphasis on cultural, social, economic and political issues.

HIST 290, 390, 490: Selected Topics
1-3 credit hours

Selected Topics are courses of an experimental nature that provide students a wide variety of study opportunities and experiences. Selected Topics offer both the department and the students the opportunity to explore areas of special interest in a structured classroom setting. Selected Topics courses (course numbers 290, 390, 490) will have variable titles and vary in credit from 1-3 semester hours. Selected Topic courses may not be taken as a Directed Study offering.

European History Courses (9 hrs.)

Choose three courses from European history:

HIST 223: Medieval Europe
3 credit hours

This course provides an introduction to the Middle Ages, examining the multiple influences that shaped European history from the fourth to the fifteenth century. Particular emphasis placed on Christianity, the twelfth-century Renaissance, medieval cities, and society and culture.

HIST 225: Renaissance and Reformation
3 credit hours

This course provides an introduction to European history from the thirteenth to the seventeenth century, focusing on the Italian Renaissance and the Reformation. The first half of the class examines late medieval society, especially the society, religion and politics of the Italian city-states. The second half examines the reasons for the Reformation, with special emphasis given to the variety of religious reformations in sixteenth-century Europe.

HIST 230: Modern Europe
3 credit hours

This course will examine European history from 1650 to the present, focusing on key historical developments such as absolutism and the state, the scientific revolution and Enlightenment, revolution, and ideologies of race and empire, nationalism, liberalism, and socialism. Addresses the emergence of fascism, communism and the Cold War. Also considers the effects of these developments on the wider world.

HIST 273: Rome, the City: Ancient to Renaissance (Study Abroad)
3 credit hours

An introduction to the art, architecture and the history of Rome to 1650. Site visits focus on ancient Roman monuments, early Christian symbolism, medieval churches and the centrality of Rome as a Christian center from Peter to the papacy. Offered as a study abroad course.

HIST 321: Women in European History
3 credit hours

Exploration of the lives and voices of European women throughout history and the ideologies that Western society has projected concerning women.

HIST 322: Joan of Arc: Film and History
3 credit hours

Through an examination of trial records and documents, this course examines the life of the peasant Joan of Arc, one of the most popular figures in history. Additional focus on the context of the Middle Ages as well as myth-making and representations in literature, art, film and propaganda. In what ways are historical interpretations shaped by popular culture and cultural biases about the past? How has Joan remained an important cultural construction long after her death?

HIST 342: The European Witch Hunts
3 credit hours

This course examines the witch?hunts in Early Modern Europe. To understand the historical context, the course examines magic, heresy, witch?hunts and the shifting definitions in the late Middle Ages. Primary sources highlight the words of the accused and the accusers. Additional foci include the popular modern myths associated with the witch-hunts, as well as examination of modern witch-hunts. This course has been approved as an Honors qualified course.

HIST 380: Hitler and Stalin
3 credit hours

This course will consider the phenomena of Nazism and Stalinism, focusing on systems of authority, culture, daily life and the use of violence. This course has been approved as an Honors qualified course.

HIST 381: The Holocaust
3 credit hours

A detailed study of the origins, motivations and consequences of the Holocaust. Special focus on historiographical debates and primary sources documents. Is the Holocaust unique or does it share commonalities with other genocides?

HIST 290, 390, 490: Selected Topics
1-3 credit hours

Selected Topics are courses of an experimental nature that provide students a wide variety of study opportunities and experiences. Selected Topics offer both the department and the students the opportunity to explore areas of special interest in a structured classroom setting. Selected Topics courses (course numbers 290, 390, 490) will have variable titles and vary in credit from 1-3 semester hours. Selected Topic courses may not be taken as a Directed Study offering.

World History Courses (9 hrs.)

Choose three courses from world history:

HIST 108: World History from 1500
3 credit hours

A broad survey of world history from 1500 to the present. Exploration of various modern world cultures with a focus on connections and conflicts between them.

HIST 109: Asian History to 1700
3 credit hours

This course examines the cultural traditions and transformations in Asian history from its origins to around 1700. Identifies specific historical events, political developments and philosophical, religious and social innovations in the history of East Asia, South Asia and Southeast Asia as well as highlights the contributions and transformations as it interacts with other world civilizations.

HIST 110: Ancient Civilizations
3 credit hours

This course provides an introduction to ancient civilizations from the earliest societies through the Byzantine Empire, approximately 700 CE. The class concentrates on the ancient civilizations of India, Mesopotamia, Egypt, Greece, and Rome, while also examining the influence of other societies such as the Hebrews, the Phoenicians, the Minoans, and the Mycenaeans. Emphasis placed on culture and society, texts, and surviving artifacts and monuments.

HIST 212: Food, Culture and Identity in Asia
3 credit hours

Food is a powerful cultural symbol that connects individuals and the community. This course examines the relationship between food and the history of agricultural practices, religion, social structure, rituals, family dynamics and state policies in Asia, particularly China, Japan, Hong Kong and Taiwan.

HIST 213: China: Film and History
3 credit hours

This course examines major themes and changes in Chinese history through films and texts. Some of the themes include modernization, political and economic transformation, the Cultural Revolution and globalization.

HIST 244: Russia and the Soviet Union
3 credit hours

This course examines the history of Russia from its origins in medieval Kiev to the present-day. Areas of study include the imperial Russian state, revolution, communism, nationalism, and the Soviet Union. Attention given to the multi-cultural nature of its empire and successor states in Central Asia, Eastern Europe, and the Caucasus.

HIST 325: Gender and Culture: East Asia
3 credit hours

This course explores the complex relationships between women and culture in two major civilizations in East Asia: China and Japan.

HIST 344: History of Modern Africa
3 credit hours

This course examines the history of Africa since 1700, especially the slave trade, missionary activity and imperialism. Second half of class focuses on the development of nationalist ideologies and independence movements, decolonization and the formation of independent African states, as well as contemporary crises.

HIST 346: History of Modern China
3 credit hours

An in-depth study of contemporary Chinese culture and history, with an examination of revolutionary movements and modernization.

HIST 347: History of Modern Japan
3 credit hours

An in-depth study of contemporary Japanese history and culture examining the Meiji Restoration, Japanese expansion and interaction in Asia, World War II and the challenges faced by Japan after World War II.

HIST 385: Cold War
3 credit hours

An analysis of specific Cold War controversies, particularly those that took place in the Third World; an examination of ideological, cultural and socio-historical aspects of the Cold War.

HIST 290, 390, 490: Selected Topics
1-3 credit hours

Selected Topics are courses of an experimental nature that provide students a wide variety of study opportunities and experiences. Selected Topics offer both the department and the students the opportunity to explore areas of special interest in a structured classroom setting. Selected Topics courses (course numbers 290, 390, 490) will have variable titles and vary in credit from 1-3 semester hours. Selected Topic courses may not be taken as a Directed Study offering.

Capstone Course (3 hrs.)

HPRL 493: Capstone Research Seminar
3 credit hours

Prerequisite: At least two upper-level HIST courses before enrolling in HPRL 493: Capstone Research Seminar.
In this senior capstone seminar, students design and direct a research project as a culminating experience. Students choose, contextualize, and explicate a series of documents, artifacts, and/or images to shape an argument. Through the process, students demonstrate strong research, writing, and interpretive skills. As a result each student produces a 16-18 page paper and presents at the Capstone Conference. This course fulfills the Core Engaged Learning requirement. Offered fall only.


American History 

Choose one additional course from American history (3 hrs.): 

HIST 251: History of Slavery
3 credit hours

Exploration into the history and social, political and cultural significance of slavery and the slave trade in various societies and cultures; from slavery in the ancient world to transatlantic slave trade to slavery and its legacy in the modern era.

HIST 265: Native American History
3 credit hours

Examines the history of Native Americans from the 1400s to the present. Topics include cultural diversity before European invasions as well as Indian-European encounters. The slave trade, Indian Removal, accommodation and resistance will also be discussed. From Cahokia mounds to the Great Plains resistance, the class provides insights into the complexity of Native American societies and the diversity of the American experience.

HIST 266: The Atlantic World, 1400-1800
3 credit hours

This course examines the Atlantic world, particularly the connections between the peoples of Europe, Africa, and the Americas. Topics include merchant trade, piracy, exploration, conquest, indigenous peoples, slavery, religion, and empire. Primary sources include maps, chronicles, newspapers, and slave narratives. Special focus on cultural history especially the impact and legacy of negotiation, conflict and exchange.

HIST 274: Vietnam and American Society
3 credit hours

This course examines America’s participation in the Vietnam War and how the conflict shaped the lives of Americans who lived through that era. Offered fall semester.

HIST 320: The American Revolution
3 credit hours

This course examines the revolutionary origins of America and its transition into a new nation. Topics include the experiences of soldiers, the transformation of politics, and the social revolution that followed war. Changes for Native Americans, African Americans and women will also be examined as well as the global implications of the Revolution, and its influence on future anti-colonial rebellions.

HIST 330: The American Civil War
3 credit hours

The causes, nature and consequences of the Civil War; emphasis placed on political and social interpretations of the war, as well as its military events.

World/European History (12 hrs.)

Choose four courses from world/European history: 

HIST 108: World History from 1500
3 credit hours

A broad survey of world history from 1500 to the present. Exploration of various modern world cultures with a focus on connections and conflicts between them.

HIST 109: Asian History to 1700
3 credit hours

This course examines the cultural traditions and transformations in Asian history from its origins to around 1700. Identifies specific historical events, political developments and philosophical, religious and social innovations in the history of East Asia, South Asia and Southeast Asia as well as highlights the contributions and transformations as it interacts with other world civilizations.

HIST 110: Ancient Civilizations
3 credit hours

This course provides an introduction to ancient civilizations from the earliest societies through the Byzantine Empire, approximately 700 CE. The class concentrates on the ancient civilizations of India, Mesopotamia, Egypt, Greece, and Rome, while also examining the influence of other societies such as the Hebrews, the Phoenicians, the Minoans, and the Mycenaeans. Emphasis placed on culture and society, texts, and surviving artifacts and monuments.

HIST 212: Food, Culture and Identity in Asia
3 credit hours

Food is a powerful cultural symbol that connects individuals and the community. This course examines the relationship between food and the history of agricultural practices, religion, social structure, rituals, family dynamics and state policies in Asia, particularly China, Japan, Hong Kong and Taiwan.

HIST 213: China: Film and History
3 credit hours

This course examines major themes and changes in Chinese history through films and texts. Some of the themes include modernization, political and economic transformation, the Cultural Revolution and globalization.

HIST 223: Medieval Europe
3 credit hours

This course provides an introduction to the Middle Ages, examining the multiple influences that shaped European history from the fourth to the fifteenth century. Particular emphasis placed on Christianity, the twelfth-century Renaissance, medieval cities, and society and culture.

HIST 225: Renaissance and Reformation
3 credit hours

This course provides an introduction to European history from the thirteenth to the seventeenth century, focusing on the Italian Renaissance and the Reformation. The first half of the class examines late medieval society, especially the society, religion and politics of the Italian city-states. The second half examines the reasons for the Reformation, with special emphasis given to the variety of religious reformations in sixteenth-century Europe.

HIST 230: Modern Europe
3 credit hours

This course will examine European history from 1650 to the present, focusing on key historical developments such as absolutism and the state, the scientific revolution and Enlightenment, revolution, and ideologies of race and empire, nationalism, liberalism, and socialism. Addresses the emergence of fascism, communism and the Cold War. Also considers the effects of these developments on the wider world.

HIST 244: Russia and the Soviet Union
3 credit hours

This course examines the history of Russia from its origins in medieval Kiev to the present-day. Areas of study include the imperial Russian state, revolution, communism, nationalism, and the Soviet Union. Attention given to the multi-cultural nature of its empire and successor states in Central Asia, Eastern Europe, and the Caucasus.

HIST 322: Joan of Arc: Film and History
3 credit hours

Through an examination of trial records and documents, this course examines the life of the peasant Joan of Arc, one of the most popular figures in history. Additional focus on the context of the Middle Ages as well as myth-making and representations in literature, art, film and propaganda. In what ways are historical interpretations shaped by popular culture and cultural biases about the past? How has Joan remained an important cultural construction long after her death?

HIST 325: Gender and Culture: East Asia
3 credit hours

This course explores the complex relationships between women and culture in two major civilizations in East Asia: China and Japan.

HIST 342: The European Witch Hunts
3 credit hours

This course examines the witch?hunts in Early Modern Europe. To understand the historical context, the course examines magic, heresy, witch?hunts and the shifting definitions in the late Middle Ages. Primary sources highlight the words of the accused and the accusers. Additional foci include the popular modern myths associated with the witch-hunts, as well as examination of modern witch-hunts. This course has been approved as an Honors qualified course.

HIST 344: History of Modern Africa
3 credit hours

This course examines the history of Africa since 1700, especially the slave trade, missionary activity and imperialism. Second half of class focuses on the development of nationalist ideologies and independence movements, decolonization and the formation of independent African states, as well as contemporary crises.

HIST 346: History of Modern China
3 credit hours

An in-depth study of contemporary Chinese culture and history, with an examination of revolutionary movements and modernization.

HIST 347: History of Modern Japan
3 credit hours

An in-depth study of contemporary Japanese history and culture examining the Meiji Restoration, Japanese expansion and interaction in Asia, World War II and the challenges faced by Japan after World War II.

HIST 380: Hitler and Stalin
3 credit hours

This course will consider the phenomena of Nazism and Stalinism, focusing on systems of authority, culture, daily life and the use of violence. This course has been approved as an Honors qualified course.

HIST 381: The Holocaust
3 credit hours

A detailed study of the origins, motivations and consequences of the Holocaust. Special focus on historiographical debates and primary sources documents. Is the Holocaust unique or does it share commonalities with other genocides?

HIST 290, 390, 490: Selected Topics
1-3 credit hours

Selected Topics are courses of an experimental nature that provide students a wide variety of study opportunities and experiences. Selected Topics offer both the department and the students the opportunity to explore areas of special interest in a structured classroom setting. Selected Topics courses (course numbers 290, 390, 490) will have variable titles and vary in credit from 1-3 semester hours. Selected Topic courses may not be taken as a Directed Study offering.

Geography (3 hrs.)

HIST 111: Geographical History
3 credit hours

A study of various ways to examine the connection between geography and history-how geography has affected and been shaped by historical developments, including but not limited to physical, political, cultural and environmental elements. Specific attention will be placed on how the movements of people and human-environmental interactions impact ecosystems and cultures.


Majors must complete 12 hours at the 300 level.

Optional: Professional learning experiences include Internships and HIST 496: Honors Research.

Selected topics should be confirmed with the chair of history for consideration as major or minor credit.