History Major & Minor

History, the disciplined study of the past, uses rigorous methods and diverse sources to understand the changes that occur over time. Historians seek to address the human need to know who we are and where we came from. They seek out the continuities between remote times and our own day, while imaginatively recapturing lost worlds vastly different from our own. History can focus on both ordinary people and on famous names. Studying ideas, belief systems, political institutions, and social and economic structures can make events and facts more meaningful to people. History also entails understanding the writings, methods, and attitudes of earlier historians, whose views and narratives contributed to older and newer debates about the past. Far more important than merely mastering dates and details is the greater respect for the past and greater humility about the present gained by students of history. History students learn to appreciate the lesson that deliberate actions often have unanticipated consequences. They learn to see individual intentions and actions in context, and they question commonly-held assumptions about the naturalness or inevitability of our own ideas and ways of doing things. In seeking to understand the past, students of history hone their skills as writers, readers, researchers, and critical thinkers.

Learning Objectives

Southern Virginia University history major graduates will:
  1. Demonstrate familiarity with, and understanding of, human experience changing over time in a variety of places and eras.
  2. Gain the ability to think in historical context and understand the causes and consequences of historical events in terms of the motivations (agency, resources, ideology, needs, etc.) experienced by historical actors.
  3. Understand and appreciate how and why historians’ interpretations and approaches to the past have changed over time.
  4. Understand the proper use of primary and secondary materials in constructing arguments and in coming to sound conclusions.
  5. Know how to develop a research topic, find and use evidence to generate a well-reasoned historical argument, and present their findings in lucid prose.

Program Coordinator: Dr. Virginia Mosser

Major Requirements (33 credit hours)

Major Core (12 credit hours and senior examination):

HIS 210 Western Civilization I (GE) (3)
HIS 215 Western Civilization II (GE) (3)
HIS 303 Historical Methods (3)
HIS 498 Senior Paper (3)
Senior Examination

Major Electives I: 3 credit hours from among the following:

HIS 223 American History to 1877 (3)
HIS 325R Topics in American History (Var.)
HIS 326 American Civil War and Reconstruction (3)
HIS 328 American Politics & Foreign Policy since WW II (3)
HIS 329 American History from 1877 (3)

Major Electives II: an additional 18 credit hours from among the following:

HIS 223 American History to 1877 (3)
HIS 253 Asian Civilization (3)
HIS 325R Topics in American History (Var.)
HIS 326 American Civil War and Reconstruction (3)
HIS 328 American Politics & Foreign Policy since WW II (3)
HIS 329 American History from 1877 (3)
HIS 331 History of Great Britain from 1066 to 1688 (3)
HIS 332 History of Great Britain from 1688 to present (3)
HIS 335R Topics in European History (Var.)
HIS 346 History of the Holocaust (3)
HIS 347 Gender in Modern Europe (3)
HIS 354 Japanese Cultural History
HIS 355R Topics in Asian History (Var.)
HIS 374 History and the Performing Arts (3)
HIS 375R Topics in History (Var.)
HIS 385R Directed Study in History (Var.)
HIS 475R Advanced Topics in History (3)

Minor Requirements (18 credit hours)

Minor Core (9 credit hours):

HIS 210 Western Civilization I (GE) (3)
HIS 215 Western Civilization II (GE) (3)
HIS 303 Historical Methods (3)

Minor Electives: 9 credit hours from among the major electives.