Why study history? When students ask this question, there are usually at least two other questions implied: "How can it help me make a living?" and "How can history make me a better person?" The answer to the first question is that history is a very broad subject including everything that has happened in the past. Because of its breadth, the study of history prepares a person for a considerable number of occupations and professions. In fact, the career possibilities are infinite (see the careers page). The second question is even more important, since making a living is only part of one's life. History is the collective experience of mankind. It provides perspective and knowledge which helps us understand the present and it presents a hope that we may avoid mistakes made in the past. As the most wide-ranging of all academic disciplines, history helps satisfy the curious mind which is not content with the present, but must query the past and attempt to peer into the future. History teaches us to collect, analyze and use evidence; such a trained mind is the most practical tool available to the human race.
The History Department offers a variety of programs for students interested in studying, researching or learning how to teach the past. In addition to the traditional undergraduate History Major, students may adopt a program of study which includes a History Minor or may choose to pursue a Social Studies Major with an emphasis in History. The faculty also offer specialized Honors courses for advanced undergraduate majors in History. Off-campus students may pursue any of these degrees by taking advantage of Interactive Television course offerings.
Information for potential majors and answers to frequently asked questions about the major, minor and social studies programs can be found below.
Declaring a Major: The principal advisor for the undergraduate program is Dr. Richard Weigel, who counsels students about their studies, signs degree programs and coordinates course offerings. Those interested in the program should contact him directly. You may sign up for an appointment with him in the department office or by calling during regular business hours at 745-3841. If you have a specific questions you may email him directly.
Frequently Asked Questions about Undergraduate Programs:
1. I'm choosing history as my major and who would be my advisor?
Your advisor would be the Undergraduate Advisor for History, Dr. Richard Weigel (see the sidebar to the left at the top of the page).
2. Where do I go to declare history as my major/minor?
You may declare a major or minor at the Department office.
3. If I need to make an appointment with the advising coordinator, where do I come to do that?
Come to the History Department Office (200 Cherry Hall), where we keep a clipboard with sign-up times for appointments with the Undergraduate Advisor, Richard Weigel.
4. Who teaches the western civilization classes?
All members of the faculty teach Western Civilization in rotation. If you discover that your course has a listing of "staff" you may contact the main department office to discover who is teaching that section.
5. Can I get a list of the requirements for a history major from the history office?
Yes. You may also get them from the undergraduate program requirements page.