About the Majors and Minors

Learn about the majors and minors of the Department of History and Philosophy. We stress study of the humanities curriculum. Our faculty value close interaction with students and their academic work.

History

The History faculty seeks to impart knowledge of the societies and cultures of the past both to inform students and help them better understand present day events. The courses and programs of study are designed to develop an appreciation of the study of history as one of the major modes of humanity’s search for knowledge of itself as well as a familiarity with the methods historians employ. The historian’s investigative techniques sharpen students’ capacity for logical and critical thought. Class discussion and writing assignments help them to attain clarity and facility in oral and literary expression.

The History major prepares a student for a career in a number of diverse fields: as an archivist, business executive, diplomat, foreign service officer, professional historian, intelligence analyst, journalist, lawyer, management trainee, museum specialist, personnel worker, public relations officer, reference librarian, research assistant, teacher, travel guide, and writer. While some of these professional activities require further study in graduate school, others can be entered directly upon receipt of a bachelor’s degree in history.

For more information about scholarship, careers, and professional issues in history, please visit the website of the American Historical Association.

Philosophy

The philosophy program seeks first and foremost to show all students, as an essential element of the liberating objective of general education, the unexamined assumptions in all their studies, and to introduce them to the tradition of exploring and criticizing those assumptions. Philosophy courses explore basic ideas in natural sciences, behavioral and social sciences, the arts, and religion. In learning the methods of the philosophical tradition, students will develop their powers of logical thought and coherent expression, which will assist them in other studies, in the pursuit of careers, and in the exercise of the human rights of citizenship and of full participation in the arts and sciences of contemporary cultural life. Majors will learn to engage in sustained analyzes of a variety of issues, preparing them for graduate studies in philosophy, professional schools, etc.

For more information about the academic field of philosophy, visit the website of the American Philosophical Society

Liberal / Interdisciplinary Studies

This major combines a wide scope of studies with concentration on the skills of textual analysis. Liberal Studies majors learn to discover the structure of meaning in accounts of facts in history and social science texts, in literary plots of imaginative possibilities, in theories of natural and social science, and in philosophical reflections on the assumptions and methods of the arts and sciences. Requirements  in history, social science, literature, and philosophy also ensure a  global perspective on what it means to become a liberally educated person.

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