Mission Statement: The major is designed to introduce the students to the principles of historical study, to provide them with the tools to become an effective researcher and writer, and to deepen their knowledge and understanding of the past. Significant emphasis is put on reading original texts and scholarship written by historians. Most courses also emphasize the interpretation of the past and the ability to present one's analysis in persuasive prose.
1. Provide students with a broad and deep understanding of past societies and cultures and the forces that shaped them.
2. Instill students with an understanding and appreciation of the past.
3. Foster a wider, more cosmopolitan view of the contemporary world in our students by studying the world's peoples, cultures, and institutions in an historical context.
4. Challenge students' prevailing assumptions that the human condition always improves or that progress is inevitable.
Skill and Process Goals:
5. Introduce students to a wide variety of historical sources (primary and secondary, print and online) and teach them how to assess their merits and use them for historical analysis.
6. Hone student writing skills by teaching students how to present their analysis in persuasive prose. All of our courses require extensive written work. Some are specifically designated as "writing intensive." We expect that students' writing will grow in clarity and sophistication as they move through our curriculum.
7. Promote student's critical thinking skills. We aim to develop students' higher order reasoning abilities by teaching them how to synthesize and analyze disparate forms of information.
8. Provide students with basic and advanced historical research skills, including fluency with relevant printed source materials and bibliographies, as well as online databases, primary source collections, and research engines.
The History Major At Muhlenberg
The history major at Muhlenberg has recently been revised. The major is designed to introduce the students to the principles of historical study, to provide them with the tools to become an effective researcher and writer, and to deepen their knowledge and understanding of the past. Significant emphasis is put on reading original texts and scholarship written by historians. Most courses also emphasize the interpretation of the past and the ability to present one's analysis in persuasive prose.
Students are required to take three courses: History 100: An Introduction to History (a one-semester topical course that will introduce the study of history), History 400: Historical Method (which emphasizes research and writing), and History 500 (to 549): History Seminar. In addition, students are required to take six advanced courses, with at least one course in each area of study (European, American, or Non-Western) and one course whose content falls before 1789. Minors are required to take History 100, 400, 500 (to 549), and three advanced courses.
The History Department offers two variations on the basic history major. First, students seeking social science certification in secondary education are required to take History 100, 400, 500 (to 549), and five advanced courses. In addition, there are six courses in the social sciences required by the Education Department. Second, in cooperation with the Political Science Department, the History Department offers a History/Government major. History/Government majors are required to take 100, 225, 525 or a seminar in Political Science, with three History courses paired with appropriate Political Science courses plus electives.
The History Department attempts to offer a wide range of advanced courses its strengths are in the Ancient History, European History from the medieval period to the present, Latin America, and the United States. Courses are also offered in Asian History. Most advanced history courses are offered every other year.