Course offerings in history are intended to familiarize students with both the American and Western heritage, as well as with some aspects of the history of the non-Western world. The study of history is presented as a means of integrating college experiences and developing certain perceptual and analytical skills. Students are exposed to a broad range of modern historical methodologies, establishing close ties between history and many other academic disciplines.
The study of history is aimed at students who are motivated by diverse goals. It offers excellent preparation for careers in law, civil service, journalism, business, foreign service, museum work, and archives. It also prepares students well to pursue graduate study, including law school.
The history department offers two majors: History and Social Studies.
The History Major
The history major provides the opportunity to study a variety of historical topics. Students have considerable choice of courses, and professors encourage majors to take full advantage of the diversity of courses that the department offers. Additionally, the history major provides students with high-level analytical skills that emphasize historical inquiry. Students should note, for example, that the department offers courses that introduce a wide range of methodologies, including oral history, intellectual history, social history, cultural history, and gender history. The major requirements, although minimal, are designed to ensure that all students gain some knowledge of both U.S. and non-U.S. history beyond the introductory level. They also ensure that every student majoring in history has the opportunity to confront a diversity of historical interpretations and acquires practice in designing and executing historical research.
The Social Studies Major
The social studies major is designed for students who plan to become secondary history/social studies educators. This major meets all of the competencies required by the Commonwealth of Virginia for secondary education certification in social studies. In addition to history, areas of study include government, civics, international studies, economics, and geography. This major also emphasizes the nature of historical interpretation and provides the opportunity to pursue independent historical research. In addition to completing the departmental requirements, social studies majors who seek certification in secondary education must complete all secondary professional teacher training courses stipulated in the education section of the current catalog.
Major(s): History; Social Studies (Secondary Teacher Certification)