Department of History

Sean M. Quinlan, Dept. Chair (315 Admin. Bldg. 83844-3175; phone 208/885-6253).

Faculty: Katherine G. Aiken, Somaditya Banerjee, Matthew Fox-Amato, Dale T. Graden, Andrew Kersten, Ellen E. Kittell, Rebecca Scofield, Adam Sowards, Richard B. Spence, Pingchao Zhu. Affiliate Faculty: William L. Smith.

History studies human experience in all its diverse aspects. To interpret the present, one must understand the past- and there is no better predictor of the future than past behavior. History is by nature interdisciplinary and international in its scope. History courses train students to think analytically, to evaluate source materials, and to interpret human behavior by careful use of evidence. Through writing and independent research, students hone their analytical and communication skills, learning to conduct in-depth data retrieval and analysis. They also acquire greater cultural and international awareness as they come to understand the sociocultural setting that shapes human consciousness and action.

A degree in history offers excellent preparation for students to pursue careers in international business, international relations, management, government and military service, law, education, library science, communications and media, tourism and recreation, museum studies and curatorships, and working with public documents and government records.

The department offers courses of study leading to the B.A. or B.S. degree and holds a faculty of nine full-time professors, all who hold doctoral degrees in history. Currently the program has over 130 undergraduate history majors, and there are 12 M.A. students working in history graduate studies. In addition, we offer a Ph.D. in history with a focus in historical archaeology in coordination with the Department of Sociology and Anthropology.

The undergraduate curriculum focuses on the United States (colonial times to the present); Europe (Antiquity to the current EU); Latin America (modern); Asia (modern); and History of Science, Health & Environment.

History faculty members also offer coursework for students in Environmental Science, International Studies, Interdisciplinary Studies, and Latin American Studies, as well as for minors in Religious Studies, Women and Gender Studies, and American Indian Studies.

Graduate study is offered in the history of America, Europe (medieval through modern), Latin America, and History of Science, Health, and Environment. The degree programs include Master of Arts and Doctor of Philosophy, for which dissertation topics are limited to the fields of the North American West, U.S. since 1877, historical archaeology, and Europe since 1750.

Students applying for admission to graduate study in history must be approved by the majority of the history faculty. Students seeking graduate degrees in history must present recent GRE scores, an undergraduate transcript with at least a 3.00 average in all history courses and a 2.80 overall average that shows at least 12 credits earned in a foreign language.


See the course description section for courses in History (HIST).