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Why Study History?

History is an ambitious discipline that takes as its subject all of the activities of humanity from its earliest days to the present.  Historians try to reconstruct the past based on evidence that includes documents, cultural artifacts, and for more recent history, interviews with people who have memories of the events.  The study of history is important because it helps you to better understand the world in which you live and the people who inhabit it; history provides you with an explanation of how we got where we are now.   The study of history should leave you with a level-headed and long-term perspective based on the knowledge that the world has always been affected by good and evil, that change is the result of complex and often unpredictable factors, and that the flow of human experience is made up of both continuity and change. 

Perhaps most importantly, the study of history allows you to acquire skills and habits of mind that are broadly useful and transferable to a variety of life situations and jobs.  History emphasizes examining situations from different perspectives, careful reading of texts, a critical attitude towards information with an eye towards bias and/or falsity, the ability to answer difficult questions by conducting competent research, making conclusions based on careful consideration of evidence, and being able to clearly explain your ideas to others.  This knowledge and skill set not only makes you a more informed citizen, but allows you to go on to jobs in teaching, public history, or into the popular paths of business, law, or government.  The abilities gained through the study of history are also an excellent preparation for the growing range of jobs in the service sector that require adaptability and strong communication skills.  Whatever direction your career may lead, the knowledge and skills gained through the study of history can help you land a first job, succeed in your profession, and lead a more thoughtful and engaged life.

Recent graduates have gone to law school and various Master’s and Doctoral graduate programs.  Others have gone directly into careers in teaching, public history, law enforcement, military service, sales, and management.

Through our department, you can obtain a Major in History and Minors in History, Political Science, and American Studies. The Department contributes to both the CBU Day and Evening programs with a wide variety of courses. You can choose among introductory courses on World History, US History, American Government, World Politics, and Comparative Politics. You would also be able to pick from a variety of upper division courses offered, ranging from Ancient History to the Civil War, Modern America, Modern East Asia, and Modern Europe.  Upper level political science courses include International Law, US Foreign Policy, Politics and Science Fiction, and Politics on Film.  The department also has Pre-Law program that offers Pre-Law courses, guidance on preparing for law school, and campus events of interest to students planning to attend law school. 

Our department encourages all history majors to consider study abroad and internship opportunities.  Students have recently studied abroad in Scotland, England, and South Africa.  They have completed internships with the National Civil Rights Museum, the Mid-South Peace and Justice Center, the Memphis Public Library, the Pink Palace, and local congressional and law offices. 

We also invite you to join the History faculty and a number of students and become active in Phi Alpha Theta, the International Honorary History Society. Alpha Delta Phi, the local chapter, is regularly engaged in service projects and stages a number of social and educational events that are open to members and non-members during the academic year. These include the sponsoring of speakers to the campus as well as visits to exhibitions and museums. Our members have also presented scholarly papers at regional and national Phi Alpha Theta conferences.