Department of History, Philosophy, and Religious Studies

History major and minor

History is a kind of introduction to more interesting people
than we can possibly meet in our restricted lives; let us not neglect the opportunity.

Dexter Perkins


Students in classHistory is the analysis and interpretation of the human past that enables us to study continuity and change over time. It is an act of both investigation and imagination that seeks to explain how people have changed over time. Historians use all forms of evidence to examine, interpret, revisit, and reinterpret the past. These include not just written documents, but also oral communication and objects such as buildings, artifacts, photographs, and paintings. Historians are trained in the methods of discovering and evaluating these sources, and the challenging task of making historical sense out of them. Nevertheless, historians do not always agree on interpretations of the past. The debated differences help expand and enhance our understanding of human development.

When you choose to study history at Benedictine University, you will learn to:

  • acquire, understand and synthesize discipline-based knowledge through intensive work with primary sources.
  • examine and understand the dominant historiographical schools of thought, their development and change, as well as understand the trends and challenges facing the discipline and the historian's craft.
  • apply the techniques and methodologies of the historian to produce an article-length primary source work, and present that work at undergraduate conferences.
  • confront ethical and moral issues from our historical past and make connections to contemporary parallels.
  • understand the historical interdependence of the United States with the rest of the world historically and understand, in a broad way, the economic, social and political interdependence of nations historically and the implications for the future of a globalizing world.

Requirements for History major

Students talk with a professor

Students majoring in history must complete at least 36 hours in this field with a grade of "C" or better. At least 24 semester hours must be at the 200-level or above, of which at least nine semester hours must be at the 300-level. The 36 hours must include the following:

  • HIST 111 (American History to 1865)
  • HIST 112 (American History since 1865)
  • HIST 203 (Historiography)
  • HIST 240 (Converging Hemispheres)
  • HIST 399 (Senior Thesis)
  • one course each in American, European and non-Western history above 203 level

History majors must also take HUMN 220 (The Mediterranean World), HUMN 230 (The Baptism of Europe) and HUMN 250 (The Contemporary World) in the Cultural Heritage core. Transfer students must take HUMN 240 (Converging Hemispheres) and HUMN 250 as core courses and substitute HIST 101 (Western Civilization to 1715), or equivalent, for HIST 240.

History majors are required to demonstrate competency in a foreign language by completion of at least one foreign language course at or above the 202 level

Requirement for History minor

A minor in history consists of at least 21 hours of history courses completed with a "C" or better. At least 12 semester hours must be at the 300-level. Students must complete HIST 111 (American History to 1865), HIST 112 (American History since 1865), and HIST 203 (Historiography).