Oct 02, 2023  
2016-2017 Undergraduate Catalog 
2016-2017 Undergraduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Department of History

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Dr. Gabrielle M. Lanier, Interim Department Head
Phone: (540) 568-6132
Email: laniergm@jmu.edu
Location: Jackson Hall, Room 201
Website: http://jmu.edu/history


J. Arndt, K. Borg, J. Butt,
P. Dillard, M. Galgano, S. Guerrier,
S. M. Hanifi, K. Hardwick, R. Hyser,
G. Lanier, D. Owusu-Ansah, S. Reich,
M. Seth

Associate Professors

R. Brannon, S. Chappell, J. Davidson,
C. Davis, M. Gayne, H. Gelfand,
M. Gubser, L. King, K. McCleary,
R. Meixsel, M. Mulrooney, A. Sandman,
W. Van Norman, E. Westkaemper,
A. Witmer

Assistant Professors

T. Fitzgerald, E. Friss,
M. Galmarini-Kabala, P. Herrington, Y. Hu

Mission Statement

The Department of History supports the academic mission of James Madison University by providing the highest quality educational experiences within the liberal arts tradition that meet students’ needs and prepare students for meaningful careers and active citizenship. The department focuses on the student as individual learner and global citizen. Our dedicated faculty members are classroom innovators and scholars who work responsibly and supportively with students to expand their knowledge and skills, and to create a foundation for their lifelong learning.


To carry out the above mission, the Department of History seeks the following goals, which focus on student knowledge skills and experiences.


Students studying history at JMU will:

  • Acquire knowledge of the world’s great literary, philosophical, religious and artistic traditions.
  • Comprehend the historical and social context of major political, intellectual, religious, economic and cultural developments.
  • Comprehend the major achievements in the fine arts in world civilizations and the achievements’ historical, social and cultural context.
  • Evaluate the evidence, ideas and models needed to perceive how people relate to each other, to institutions and to communities as well as to make judgments about the world.
  • Discern the values, ethics and legal issues in world civilizations, including their own, and how these issues relate to Western ideas of a free society.


Students studying history at JMU will:

  • Read, write and speak critically, mastering how to make informed judgments based on existing evidence.
  • Locate printed and online information sources to research a topic exhaustively.
  • Critically evaluate textual evidence by identifying a thesis, noting sources used in the argument, discerning the conclusions, and determining the perspective, bias and reliability of the argument.
  • Write clear, well-organized, grammatical prose.
  • Solve problems.
  • Communicate persuasively.
  • Use social media and digital technologies effectively.
  • Speak a foreign language proficiently.


Students studying history at JMU will:

  • Become independent, creative and self-directed learners, and complete scholarly projects on time.
  • Consider thoughtfully a number of perspectives before supporting one.
  • Develop ways of perceiving, evaluating and behaving within cultural systems different from their own.
  • Understand the importance of change and continuity over time, different peoples’ responses to change and the importance of cause and effect in history.
  • Discern the dynamics of an increasingly multicultural society.

Career Opportunities

A history degree provides individuals with skills that are sought after by a wide-range of employers. Career opportunities for those with a B.A. in history include:

  • Advertising
  • Archival work
  • Education
  • Government
  • Information Management
  • Legal work
  • Museum Curator
  • Social Media and Technology
  • Writing and Editing

With additional training, many graduates pursue careers in law or academia. Many graduates also have pursued careers in the health and technology professions. Students completing an undergraduate degree in history possess marketable abilities applicable to a variety of professions, such as:

  • Analyzing
  • Researching
  • Writing

Most also possess skills in:

  • Digital humanities
  • Statistical analysis
  • Website development
  • Social media

Co-curricular Activities and Organizations

Degree and Major Requirements

Bachelor of Arts in History

The requirements for a major in history consist of introductory, mid- and upper-level courses. All courses introduce students to the nature of history and survey the globe in a historical context. In addition to involving reading, writing and critical thinking, these courses develop students’ elementary computer skills in identifying and interpreting research sources and presenting research results. The 100- and 200-level courses are world or regional surveys, covering extensive periods of time, while the 300- and 400-level courses focus on specific nations, time periods or themes. The upper-level courses also require more extensive analysis of sources, texts and interpretations. Courses at the 400 level are capstones where students are expected to show an advanced ability to meet all department objectives. Majors in history are strongly encouraged to continue study in foreign languages beyond the minimum university requirement and, when appropriate, to integrate their
foreign language studies into their history classes.

This major requires three core courses. Two of these courses are introductory: HIST 101. World History to 1500 [C2HQC]  and HIST 102. World History Since 1500 [C2HQC] . The third required course is HIST 395. History Seminar . This seminar on research methods teaches students the most sophisticated computer applications for research and writing.

In addition to the core requirements, majors must take eight elective courses: two on the 200 level and six on the 300 and 400 levels. At least three of the six upper division courses must be taken at the 400 level. For students writing a senior honors thesis, only three hours of HIST 499. Honors , may be counted among the three 400-level courses required for the major. Majors must also complete one course at the upper division level in each of the following fields: U.S. history, European history and World history.

Public History

Historians today practice their discipline in a variety of careers as well as in more traditional academic settings. Those historians who work in museums, archives, government agencies, libraries, historic preservation organizations, businesses, contract history firms, cultural resource management firms and historic sites are known as public historians because they use their skills as historians to serve a public audience. The concentration in Public History trains students in the broad range of skills and issues associated with public history while providing them with a solid general background in history.

Students pursuing the public history concentration augment their foundation of traditional history courses by taking introductory and specialized public history courses and completing a semester-long internship. History majors opting to pursue the public history concentration will complete seven elective courses, six of which must be 300/400 level history courses. The public history concentration consists of five courses (15 credit hours).

Students are required to complete two public history core courses and three elective courses. Two of the three elective courses should be chosen from the list of primary electives; the remaining elective course may be chosen from either the primary or secondary list of elective courses.


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