The history program focuses not only on historical events, individuals, and institutions, but also on methodology, analysis and interpretation, and the critical examination of sources. Faculty employ various approaches to show the diversity of historical study. All courses include assignments designed to develop analytical and critical skills and the ability to present arguments based on evidence. The acquisition of an effective, clear style of written and oral expression is emphasized. The practical knowledge and skills acquired by the history major are respected by business, government, and professional and graduate schools.
In consultation with the staff, the major is encouraged to develop a field within the Department, specializing in a period, such as eighteenth- or nineteenth-century history, or in a thematic area, such as diplomatic or social history. Majors may also choose to focus on a geographic region, taking courses in language, politics, and economics as well as history.