About the Department

Studying history is about more than sorting through the dusty names, dates, and dry bones of the past. We study history so we can place our own world in historical perspective as a means of living rich and intelligent lives.

History students analyze historical documents to learn what life was like in a given time period..In this department, you’ll learn how to research, how to analyze written material and material evidence, how to recognize that knowledge varies as our viewpoint shifts, and how to communicate in such a way that order is created out of disorder. These are the abilities that carry over well into the business world, to the study and practice of law or medicine, and into our actions as citizens.

By emphasizing the link between the past and the contemporary world, the history department seeks to help students understand themselves and the time in which they live.

The department encourages students to compare elements of their own culture with those of other cultures from other time periods. Students of history gain a sense of what is unique in—as well as generally characteristic of—individuals, groups, and national cultures in the present as well as the past.

The UIS History department offers both on-campus and online opportunities to pursue the Bachelor of Arts degree or minor in History. Graduate students may pursue the Master of Arts degree (on-campus only).

Learning experiences available to history majors include regular classroom courses, independent study and tutorials, and applied study internships at libraries, archives, historic sites, and other institutions, particularly in state government.

The history curriculum includes period courses covering America from the colonial era to the present; thematic courses in such areas as imperialism, women’s history, and religious history; courses in European, Middle Eastern, Asian, Greek and Roman history; courses analyzing historic forces shaping the contemporary world; public history courses, and courses in local and regional history.