201 Humanities

(831) 459-2982


For Classical Studies


For East Asian Studies


For Jewish Studies


Programs Offered

History B.A.

History Minor

Classical Studies B.A.

Classical Studies Minor

East Asian Studies Minor

Jewish Studies B.A.

Jewish Studies Minor

History M.A.

History Ph.D.

History is the stories humans tell about the past. For professional historians, those stories are based on evidence that is carefully collected and rigorously interpreted. Both the evidence and interpretation are passionately debated in the classroom, in articles and books, and in the public sphere. This makes history a dynamic enterprise. Students of history ask new questions, find new evidence, incorporate more voices, and reconsider old assumptions. Studying history enriches our understanding of the world by deepening our knowledge of the past and by pushing us to ask new questions that provide insight into our own time. Our History Department is committed to helping students learn to think historically, which entails asking not just what happened, but why it happened the way it did.

Thinking historically cultivates the empathy and imagination necessary to understand multiple perspectives on events both past and present.

It is impossible to understand the world we inhabit, including its complex global conflicts, climatic transformations, and fundamental shifts in understandings of individual identity, without history. Yet, as much as history can illuminate the present, its study also requires recognizing that often, “the past is a foreign country,” where words, ideas, and even bodies themselves operate on radically unfamiliar terms. Our department’s strengths in transnational, gender, environmental, cultural, and social history, including critical race and ethnic studies, enable students to engage in a variety of approaches to studying history.

This training equips students to be engaged citizens and prepares them for a wide range of careers. History majors develop skills in critical reading, effective research, analytical thinking, and clear, persuasive communication. Such skills are the essential foundation for jobs directly connected with the field, like teaching, research, and working in public history venues such as museums, archives, and libraries. These skills are also invaluable to careers in law, business, government, foreign service, management, publishing, journalism, social media, and many other areas. The ability to identify and access salient information, evaluate it critically, and use it to engage in constructive debate is essential for navigating a complex, dynamic, and global world.

In addition to the degree programs and minors, the History department offers elementary instruction in Greek and Latin.