History: Major & Minor

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Students of history at Southern Virginia University not only study past events to help explain and illuminate today’s world, but also use their studies of the past to become effective writers, perceptive readers, skilled researchers and critical thinkers. Southern Virginia’s small class sizes and 16 to 1 student-to-professor ratio enhance each student’s opportunity to comprehend a connected view of history and to gain perception and understanding into the influence of history’s parts upon the whole.

The study of history at Southern Virginia requires a disciplined mind and the use of rigorous methods and diverse sources to understand changes that occur over time. Historians address the human need to know who we are, where we have come from, and why we are who we are as societies. They seek out the continuities between remote times and our own day, while imaginatively recapturing lost worlds vastly different from our own.

History focuses on both ordinary people and on famous names. Studying ideas, belief systems, political institutions and social and economic structures make events and facts more meaningful to people of today.

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.

Southern Virginia 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.


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Eric Griffin ’12
“Eric is funny, enthusiastic and full of life. What is special about him is that he’s so interested in everything that he pursues.”
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