The study of history is the study of humanity, of society, and of civilization. In its simplest definition, history is the study of the way in which present ways of doing and thinking have come about in the past.
Only in a vague sense is history prophetic; essentially history is descriptive and analytic in its approach. It seeks to describe the past to the degree that the record will allow. It is an analysis of human motivation, of those institutions that people have created to further social well-being, and of those patterns of habit and thought that make for security and stability in any age.
History is both humanistic study and social science. History deals with facts, but the facts are always viewed with perspective.
Two units of History 150, completed in the first and second year.
One unit of history lab. Lab courses include History 190, 293, 294, 295. History 190 is strongly recommended for students in their first and second year.
A historical breadth requirement involving coursework engaging history across chronological and geographical fields. In consultation with their advisors, students must construct a plan to develop historical breadth.
A historical depth requirement involving at least 3 units at the 100- or 200-level within a particular period and geographical field. One unit from outside the department may count toward this requirement with departmental approval. Students are encouraged to continue the development of historical depth through writing a research paper in their depth field in a 300-level seminar.
Two units at the 300-level involving significant historical research-based writing. History 395, 396, and 397 do not satisfy this requirement. History 390 or courses from outside the department may fulfill the requirement if approved in advance by the department. One unit from off-campus programs, such as the ACM Newberry Library Program, may count toward this requirement.
Writing/communication requirement: Reading and writing are the primary tools of historical inquiry, and while historians may evaluate oral and material sources as they set out to discover the past, the normal means by which they communicate their discoveries to a wider audience is through essay writing and the formal research paper. It is our conviction that mastering the art of the historical essay benefits all of our students because the skills required are at the heart of what it means to think critically. Students fulfill the writing/communication requirement through the incremental development of writing skills through the curriculum. Thus, students must complete 1 W departmental unit at the 100-, 200-, and 300-level.