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Department of History and Political Science

The College of Arts and Sciences


John E. Moser, Professor of History

Director, Ashbrook Center

Jeffrey Sikkenga, Professor of Political Science


Duncan R. Jamieson, Professor of History

John E. Moser, Professor of History

Cara (Rogers) Stevens, Assistant Professor of History

David T. West, Assistant Professor of History

Degrees Offered

Bachelor of Arts

Bachelor of Science in Education


The history program is designed to introduce students to the great individuals, events, and ideas of the past; to broaden and deepen their knowledge and understanding of historical continuity and change; and to help students to interpret the forces that shape human events. By examining the political, cultural, and moral forces that have shaped the modern world, we hope to provide the context by which students can better understand themselves and the world in which they live.

Put another way, we see the study of history as one path to becoming a liberally educated person, one who can think for himself or herself about the most important questions that we face as human beings and citizens, and is in the habit of doing so by reading carefully, following arguments closely, writing clearly, and speaking thoughtfully.

Student Learning Outcomes

Students who successfully complete the major in history will be able to:

Identify, compare, and evaluate concepts, texts, persons, and events in American history

Identify, compare, and evaluate concepts, texts, persons, and events in European history

Evaluate sources of information about the past and draw appropriate conclusions from them (that is, demonstrate the capacity for historical reasoning)

Facilities and Equipment

The main library has a large collection of historical literature, books, government documents, newspapers, magazines, maps, references, and media which complement the study of history and listed history courses. Classrooms are also provided with maps.

Student Honor Society

Students who have excelled in history are eligible for membership in Phi Alpha Theta, Omicron Zeta chapter, an international honor society in history. Membership is by invitation, selected from junior and senior students with a 3.1 or higher GPA and a minimum of 12 hours of history.

Description of Major

History, the study of how human beings have lived in the past, tries to describe the past and account both for continuity and change over time. While every aspect of human life falls within the historian's concern, in this department we focus particularly on political and intellectual history. In our history courses, students will interpret historical figures and events; they will study times and places very different from our own, and they will examine the political, intellectual, and cultural forces that produced and now shape the modern world. The overall aim of these studies is to help students better understand themselves and their world. The major in history does not aim to produce specialists in a particular area, but to enliven students' minds with the capacity to think seriously about human affairs and to consider prudently the important social and political questions they will face as citizens. Our strengths are American and European history (both ancient and modern); we also offer courses on particular areas of the world, most notably Africa, the Middle East, Latin America, and Modern Asia.

Degree Requirements

Assessment – As part of the department's assessment process, history majors will be asked to complete a test during their freshman year and again during their senior year.

History Courses and Descriptions

See Course Descriptions section of catalog.