Return to: Majors
History Mission Statement
According to its mission statement, Westminster College seeks to help students “develop competencies, commitments and characteristics which have distinguished human beings at their best.” The History program at Westminster College is a central element of that mission and, more generally, of Westminster’s “quest for excellence.” The History program is designed to prepare its students for futures as knowledgeable historians, informed and active citizens, critical thinkers, life-long learners, and as servants of, and contributors to, their communities. The History major will master a range of analytical and critical thinking and writing skills; have exposure to a broad historical literature; and will acquire the skills necessary to read, decipher, analyze, and make use of historical primary sources.
The program offers and cultivates these general goals in two major tracks: pre-professional and secondary education.
Graduates will be able to:
- describe the main outlines of the history of Western Civilization and within that context, and a global context, the history of the United States of America;
- describe the main outlines of non-Western history (for geographic areas in which graduates have taken classwork);
- describe seminal events and developments in western history from the ancient, medieval (European), early modern, and modern periods;
- interpret and analyze primary documents within the document’s own historical contexts;
- summarize secondary sources and determine their historiographical context/origins;
- describe the main thematic lines within and approaches to historical writing from Herodotus to the present day;
- formulate well-articulated historical questions for investigation;
- write synthetic and logical arguments in response to particular historical research questions;
- write well-structured essays that are grammatically and mechanically sound;
- structure and deliver oral presentations that communicate their historical research findings clearly and effectively;
- demonstrate proficiency with the basic elements of word processing and presentation software;
- demonstrate effective problem-solving practices/skills;
- continue reading and engaging historical literature and integrate new knowledge into their daily lives;
- continue exposing themselves (and their children) to diverse works of art and culture;
- participate in local, state, and national service and political activities and organizations;
- advance in their professions and be recognized by peers and supervisors as effective and enthusiastic professionals;
- be able to identify major features of physical geography for geographic areas about which they have taken classwork.
The program in history is designed to assist all students to develop an understanding of the varied eras of humankind’s social and cultural heritage. As a major, history prepares students to pursue careers in numerous fields where the research, analytical, and presentation skills of an historian are useful. The history major is frequently used as a preparation for professional training in business, law, library and information science, or the ordained ministry. History majors also frequently teach social studies in secondary schools or pursue advanced degrees in history or related fields.
Interdisciplinary Program: Students pursuing an International Studies major may choose an emphasis in history.
All-College Honors Program: The program encourages eligible history majors to pursue entrance into the All-College Honors Program .
The Major in History
44 semester hours, comprising:
History majors seeking secondary education teacher certification must use EDU 452 in place of HIS 590 . Majors enrolled in the All-College Honors Program must use HIS 664 in place of HIS 601 .
Plus, two of the following courses in American history:
History majors seeking secondary education teacher certification must include HIS 107 as one of the two courses in this distribution.
Plus, one of the following courses in non-Western history:
Plus, one HIS course numbered 301-321.
This series of courses broadens the history curriculum by offering a challenging, yet accessible historical analysis and by providing an intermediate course between the introductory courses and those with prerequisites. Special topics will be taught by individual faculty members in areas of interest to them and incorporate new research material, in-depth analysis, and stimulating readings. The topics will demand that students build up an appreciation for the continuities in one area of analysis. Finally, these courses will give students an opportunity to work beyond the introductory course level. Since Explorations in History courses are intended primarily for majors and minors in history who have already taken some lower-level courses, enrollment will normally be limited to declared majors and minors in history who have at least junior standing. However, with instructor’s permission, other students may enroll in these courses, as space permits.
Plus, one HIS elective.
4 semester hours.
Chronological Distribution Requirement
In fulfilling the above distributions, history majors must select courses that concurrently fulfill a chronological distribution requirement consisting of one course (four semester hours) whose content is primarily focused on each of the following periods:
Ancient/Medieval (prior to 1300):
Early Modern (1300-1789):
Requirements for Secondary Education Teacher Certification
For majors who are not seeking secondary education certification, no additional supporting courses from other disciplines are required. For majors who are seeking secondary education certification, the required supporting courses from other disciplines are listed below.
Students who desire secondary education teacher certification in social studies with a major in history must successfully complete all requirements for the major as described above, plus the following supporting courses:
Plus, one of the following:
Plus, one of the following:
Plus, the Secondary Education Minor
In addition to the curriculum outlined above, students must also complete the Secondary Education Minor .
They are also strongly encouraged to take HIS 450 - Teaching Social Studies in Secondary Schools (2 SH).
The prerequisites for admission to the Senior Teaching and Learning Block in Education are cumulative GPA of 3.000 in all college work and a 3.000 in the major.
Students who are interested in secondary education should contact the chair of the School of Education as soon as possible for complete information. If all requirements are to be completed in four years, careful planning in both the major field and in the minor is essential.
Return to: Majors