History | Major & Minor

The study of history allows one to see how past and present actions can affect the future and provides understanding into the writings, methods, and attitudes of earlier historians who have contributed to older and newer debates about the past.

About the History Major

At Southern Virginia University, students in the history major not only study past events to help explain and illuminate today’s world, but also become effective writers, perceptive readers, skilled researchers, and critical thinkers to enhance the world. The study of history allows students to see, learn, and understand how past, present, and future actions often have unanticipated consequences, and study individual intentions and actions in context of the time period. The study of history cultivates empathy as students study the past and learn about historical figures and what drove them to their actions.

With many prominent historical sites and museums less than a day away, Southern Virginia students are able to study, explore, and immerse themselves in what they study, and small class sizes allow professors to focus on individuals and their interests. With an emphasis on reading historical documents, research, and writing academic papers, history majors have opportunities to attend history conferences, present their work, and compete in state-wide conferences, where many Southern Virginia University students have won awards. Learning to write and think critically, students in the History major are well prepared for graduate programs, where serious research and analytical skills are required.

Learning Outcomes

  • Practice historical inquiry by analyzing changes and continuities within human experience across a variety of geographic regions and historical periods.
  • Acquire the skills of historical inquiry as they develop original research topics, find and analyze primary sources.
  • Construct original historical arguments grounded in primary evidence that comprehend the nuanced causes, contexts, and consequences of historical events.
  • Analyze how and why historians’ interpretations and approaches to the past change over time, and how their historical inquiry and arguments fit within scholarly conversations.
  • Articulate their original historical arguments and research in an appropriate medium to relevant audiences, and present it in logically-organized, lucid prose in written and verbal forms.

Getting Started in the History Major

  1. Enroll

    Begin by taking Western Civilization I (HIS 210) or Western Civilization II (HIS 215) in your first year

  2. Contact Your Advisor

    Get in touch with Professor Andrew Sorber to discuss your interests and goals

  3. Declare

    Turn in a completed Declare Major form to the Registrar’s Office


  • Historian
  • Librarian
  • Archivist
  • Lawyer
  • Politician
  • Museum Curator

Alumni Success

Randi Cline (’15)

M.S. in American History at the University of Missouri-Kansas City

Read more
Rex Winslow

Rex Winslow (’16)

M.S. in Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Edinburgh

Read more

Apply Now


Faculty Contacts:

“An important thing about history is that it provides examples of places and points in time where the decisions of human beings make all the difference, and one can learn the consequences of ideas and the consequences of actions. Studying history increases empathy because it allows you to imagine yourself there and gives you some understanding of the people and why they did what they did.”

– Professor Lora Knight