History has been defined as the collective memory of things said and done, arranged in a meaningful pattern. Such knowledge of the past supplies context, perspective, and clarity in a diverse and changing world. The members of the history department offer widely differing views of the history of a broad variety of peoples, yet they agree that the study of the past provides meaning in the present and informed choices for the future.
The study of history teaches an appreciation of both change and continuity, the critical examination of evidence, the construction of arguments, and the articulation of conclusions. In addition to teaching and to graduate studies in history and law, majors find careers in related fields, such as work in museums and archives, public service, indeed any profession requiring skills of research, analysis, and expression.
Courses in the history department are designed to be taken in sequence: first, introductory survey courses (100-level), then more specialized intermediate courses (200- and 300-level), and ultimately advanced seminars (390). While nonmajors are welcome in any history course, all students are encouraged to begin their study of history with 100-level courses.