History involves the study of most aspects of the human experience over time—politics, social life, cultural developments, military affairs, diplomacy, ethnicity, technology, economics, religion, literature, and so much more. It is a story of real people and how they acted and reacted when facing change or choice or conflict.

Studying History offers us a perspective on events, whether they are at a world, national, regional, state, local, or individual level. Students in the History Department learn critical skills useful not only to the study of the past, but in numerous other areas as well—how to do research, how to analyze evidence, how to put the findings in proper context, and how to communicate the results in a clear and coherent way. Internships and study abroad represent examples of the ways students can learn more outside the college classroom. The History Department encourages student leadership opportunities in various ways, including Phi Alpha Theta, the History honorary. In short, the History Department prepares students to do well in the wider world.

History majors will complete requirements for the major—including producing and defending a primary research paper—in a timely fashion while meeting departmental standards. Additionally, students that major in history will be presented with opportunities for involvement in the field of history outside of the classroom, including membership in the Phi Alpha Theta history honorary, field study, study abroad, and attendance at and submission of papers to history conferences and contests.

History majors will:

  • develop a workable knowledge of important facts, themes, and issues of American, European, and world history
  • become familiar with varieties of sources, techniques of source evaluation,
    and methods of historical interpretation utilized by historians;
  • develop skills of critical thinking, analysis, and written and oral communication that allow for informed assessment, debate, and defense of historical issues an arguments;
  • develop the ability to distinguish historical similarities and differences among different cultures/societies and across time.


(B. A. degree) Thirty-three hours required in History including HIS 111, 113, 250, and 450. Students must take at least three hours of American, three hours of European, and three hours of Asian/non-Western history. Eighteen hours must be at the 300-level or above.


Eighteen hours required in History including at least one course in two of the following three areas: American, European, or Asian/non-Western.


111. History of Civilization to 1648. (3 hours) A study of human origins stressing the continuity of development through 1648. The course will be taught on a chronological or topical basis and attempt to combine historical interpretation with a general knowledge of the significant developments of the past. Fall

113. History of Civilization Since 1648. (3 hours) A study of civilization from 1648 to the present. The course will be taught on a chronological or topical basis and attempt to combine historical interpretation with a knowledge of the significant developments of the past. Spring

211. Asian Civilization I. (3 hours) This course will survey the development of East and South Asian civilizations, covering their origins as well as their cultural influences, from prehistoric times to approximately 1800 AD. Fall

213. Asian Civilization II. (3 hours) This course will explore the development of East and South Asia from about 1800 AD to the present. Students will compare and contrast the similarities and differences among the national experiences in modern Asia. Spring

223. Introduction to American History: 1492-1877. (3 hours) This course is a survey of the political, economic, intellectual, social, and religious development of America before 1877. Fall

225. Introduction to American History: 1877 to Present. (3 hours) This course is a survey of the political, economic, intellectual, social, and religious development of America after 1877. Spring

250. Historical Methods. (3 hours) An intensive introduction to concepts, methods, and issues in the study of history. Emphasis will be on the framing of historical questions and immersion in the actual sources of history. Prerequisite: Sophomore standing. Spring

302. Traditional China. (3 hours) This course provides the student with an overview of Chinese history in pre-modern times. It traces the growth of Chinese civilization from its pre-historical genesis until about the 19th century. It will explore the dominant philosophical and religious traditions, the nature of political culture, and the social structure of traditional China through a variety of sources. It will also look at groups and individuals outside of the central power structure, and at longer socio-economic trends which transcended dynastic changes. The class meetings will consist of lectures, media, and discussions of the readings. Odd Falls

304. Kentucky History. (3 hours) The study of statemaking as an important contribution to the understanding of the political, social, and cultural life of the United States. Kentucky as the first frontier state. Spring

306. Colonial and Revolutionary America, 1607-1783. (3 hours) An intensive investigation of the American colonies, their political and social origins, their culture developments, and their subsequent revolution with and separation from Great Britain. Odd Falls

308. History of the Early Republic: 1783-1848. (3 hours) This course is a study of the formative years of the United States. The course covers the early years of government under the Articles of Confederation, the adoption of the United States Constitution, and the political development of the new nation through the Mexican War. Additionally, the course will cover the social, ethnic, economic, intellectual, cultural, and religious transformations which characterized American life in the 1780s-1840s. Even Falls

310. History of the South. (3 hours) The contribution of Southern civilization to the total life of the nation, with emphasis on the New South. Fall

312. Civil War and Reconstruction. (3 hours) Intensive investigation of some aspect of the period. Topics selected to give insight into the war and its effect on American history. Even Springs

314. Gilded Age through the 1920s. (3 hours) An intensive overview of America between 1877 and 1930. This course explores the political, social, economic, and cultural developments of the period, especially in their relationship to the formation of industrial capitalism. Odd Falls

316. Modern China. (3 hours) This course is a study of modern Chinese history since 1800. It examines the political, cultural, social and economic developments in the last two centuries and offers a comprehensive view of China’s unique path to modernization. Even Springs

318. History of Canada. (3 hours) This course is a survey of Canada’s political, economic, intellectual, social, and religious development. As needed

321. History of Japan. (3 hours) This course will cover Japanese history from the sengoku period to the Russo-Japanese War. While covering the political, institutional, religious, economic, and cultural history of Japan, particular attention will be paid to the significant influence of China as well as Japanese social structure and reaction to the outside world. Even Falls

323. Renaissance and Reformation. (3 hours) This course will cover the intellectual, cultural, political, and economic development of Europe with particular focus on the Italian Renaissance and the Reformation in Germany. The course will continue through the Counter-Reformation and the Thirty Years War. Odd Springs

325. United States Diplomatic History. (3 hours) The course will survey the historical development of United States diplomatic policies and positions which have influenced American attitudes toward other peoples or significantly affected domestic development. American economic, religious, racial and cultural values will be integrated into the study. Even Falls

331. Revolutionary Europe 1789-1871. (3 hours) A survey of European history from the period of the French Revolution through the unification of Germany, emphasis will be given to the revolutionary political, economic, social, cultural, and military/diplomatic changes transforming Europe in this period. Odd Falls

333. Europe in Crisis 1871-1949. (3 hours) A survey of European history from the period of German unification to the beginning of the Cold War, emphasis will be given to the challenges posed by nationalism and militarism; the two world wars; technological, economic, and social change; imperialism; the emergence of fascist, national socialist, and communist movements and governments; and the evolution of cultural modernism. Even Springs

335. History of England. (3 hours) Study of the political, social, economic, religious, and constitutional history of England to the end of the Stuart period. Odd Falls

337. Modern England. (3 hours) This course describes the role of the English nation in the modern world as well as its contributions to modern society. Anglo-American relations will be given special emphasis. Even Falls

338. Religion in American History. (3 hours) Role of religion in American history; impact of religion on major social and political developments. Odd Springs

343. Modern Central Europe. (3 hours) A survey of German, Austrian, and Hungarian history from the 19th century to the present; topics include the industrial revolution in Central Europe, the 1848 revolutions, the creation and collapse of the German and Austro-Hungarian Empires, the rise of radical ideologies after 1918, the Second World War, and Germany’s division and reunification. Odd Springs

345. Military History. (3 hours) A survey of the role of warfare and the military in Western society from prehistory to the present. Topics will include the origins of war and military institutions; the relationship of military organizations to the state; philosophies/doctrines regarding the state’s use of war as policy; the evolution and impact of new military technologies, tactics, and strategies; the role of leadership, organization, and logistics in war; moral and ethical issues of war; and the perspective of the individual combatant. Odd Falls

356. Medieval History (3 hours) Beginning in the fifth century CE, this course follows the disintegration and rebirth of political, economic, and social life in Europe after the collapse of the Roman Empire through the fourteenth century. Those developments are contrasted to what is happening in China and the Middle East during the same time frame. Even Falls

360. Public History. (3 hours) Introduction to various aspects of public history in a philosophical and practical way. Odd Springs

378. Tutorial Topics. (3 hours) Special topics in History using a one-on-one tutorial method of instruction similar to that used in humanities courses at Oxford University. Prerequisites: History 111 or 113 and permission of the instructor. As needed

409. Modern Kentucky Politics and Government. (3 hours) An introduction to the state’s recent political history and an examination of how state government is structured and functions. Odd Falls

412. Ancient History. (3 hours) Roots of western civilization; primary source material for the ancient Near East, Greece and Rome. Even Springs

417. History of Modern Russia. (3 hours) A survey of Russian history from the 19th century to the present, topics will include the social and cultural trends of Imperial Russia, Russia’s role in European and world affairs, the 1917 revolutions, the Communist era and Cold War, and the collapse of the Soviet Union. Even Falls

424. History of the Middle East. (3 hours) Political, economic and cultural events and institutions from the time of Muhammad, with emphasis on the contemporary period. Odd Falls

426. History of the American Indian. (3 hours) This course traces the multifarious history of American Indians with particular emphasis on the course of American history from their perspectives. It is designed to digress from the traditional view of Indian history as one of Indian-white warfare and frontier violence, and explore a deeper understanding of Indians as human beings caught up in dramatic historical events that continue to shape their lives. Spring

430. Recent America. (3 hours) American technological and industrial growth since 1930 and the social, political, and intellectual adjustments which that growth has required. Even Falls

440. Independent Study. (1, 2, or 3 hours) As needed

450. Senior Seminar. (3 hours) Historical criticism, historiography and research. Prerequisite: HIS 250 with a grade of C or better. Fall

470. Topics in History. (3 hours) Some topics might include African-American history, History of Feminism, Hitler and National Socialism; History of Revolutions; History of American Labor; History of Race Relations; History of American Business; History of Latin America. As needed

475. Topics in the Social and Intellectual History of the United States. (3 hours) As needed