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  • College of Arts and Sciences

    • Humanities Division
    • Kapelski Learning Center, Room 302
    • tel: 610-499-4341
  • Rachel A. Batch, PhD

    • Chair of the History Department and Associate Professor
    • Kapelski Learning Center, Room 311
    • tel: 610-499-1137

Curriculum, History

History majors gain a breadth of historical knowledge in four 100-level courses then advance to eight 300-level courses for depth in historical understanding by period (for example, Colonial America) or by topic (Nazi Germany and the Holocaust.) Students choose their courses to understand societies, economies, political systems, and conflicts in the U.S., in the world, and in regions such as Western Europe or East Asia. 

Two additional courses are critical for history majors

        • In Research Methods, sophomores learn historical methods, theory, and modes of historical writing and analysis.
        • In Senior Research Seminar, advanced students conduct original research that culminates in a senior thesis.

Both courses contribute to the mastery of skills and historical content and serve as intermediate and final capstones within the history curriculum. 


View a sample of courses students may take as a history major

HIST 100 Western Civilization I (Ancient World–1300)

History is a journey, and yours might begin with this course: A study of select themes in historical development from ancient Egyptian and Mesopotamian civilizations, through Classical Greece and Rome, and to the Later Middle Ages. A humanistic analysis of the traditional and popular elements in social behavior.

HIST 105 Wives, Witches, and Warriors

This course examines Western attitudes toward women from ancient to modern times. It focuses on three types of women: those who conformed to societal expectations (wives), those who resisted those expectations (witches), and those who consciously sought to change society's attitudes about women's roles and status (warriors).

HIST 329 World War and Memory

The course examines the memory and commemoration of the two world wars, with an emphasis on Europian memories. Students study the political, social and cultural construction of both personal and national memories during and after the wars. Students read about and discuss the fierce debates regarding major political decisions, personal initiatives, the experience of the war, and issues of personal and national guilt and responsibility for war crimes.

HIST 376 Slavery and Resistance

This course examines the development of the slave system in the British colonies of North America and the

United States along with the efforts to abolish that system. The course places American slavery within a global-historical context and includes topics such as the varied experience of slaveholders, slave revolts, slavery and American politics, the economics of slavery, racial abolitionism, and emancipation.

HIST 390 U.S. – China Relations since 1900

This course is an overview of U.S-China relations since 1900. Throughout the semester, students analyze how cultural identities, geo-political interests, commercial interests, religious establishments, and prominent individuals have influenced the historical trajectory of the relationship between the two countries.

HIST 372 Studies in American Immigration History

A focused examination of key themes in American immigration history from colonial times to the present. Topics include push-pull factors in immigration, assimilation and cultural diversity, changing immigration patterns, th development of American immigration policy, and the impact of immigration on American history.

HIST 401 Research Methods

This course is designed to impart the basic skills needed to do historical research. It includes instruction in organizing and completing a research project; the nature, variety, uses. strengths, and weaknesses of primary and secondary sources; assessing the biases and reliability of source materials; use of traditional and computerized finding aids; synthesis and presentation of historical evidence; and citation and bibliography preparation.

For more information about courses and requirements for history, please refer to page 50 of our course catalog.