Jul 20, 2024  
2018-2019 Undergraduate Catalog 
2018-2019 Undergraduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

History, Department of

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, M. Gubser, S. Guerrier, S. M. Hanifi, K. Hardwick, R. Hyser, G. Lanier,  M. Mulrooney, D. Owusu-Ansah, S. Reich, M. Seth

Associate Professors
R. Brannon, S. Chappell, J. Davidson, C. Davis, T. Fitzgerald, M. Gayne, H. Gelfand, Y. Hu, L. King, K. McCleary, R. Meixsel, A. Sandman, W. Van Norman, E. Westkaemper, A. Witmer

Assistant Professors
E. Friss, M. Galmarini-Kabala, P. Herrington


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.

Inside the Classroom

Students of history will become well-rounded and engaged citizens by:

  • Acquiring knowledge of the human condition through the study of political, cultural, and social experiences of people around the world
  • Learning the historical contexts of major political, intellectual, social, economic, religious and environmental events and transformations
  • Understanding the major cultural developments in fine and popular arts in societies around the world in their historical contexts
  • Discerning how people from a variety of societies hold differing values, ethics, and legal concepts and comprehending how these ideas relate to each other and to Western ideas and values

Students of history will gain the following skills

  • Reading, writing, and speaking effectively and critically
  • Making informed judgments based on existing evidence
  • Locating printed and online information to research a topic exhaustively
  • Critically evaluating textual evidence by identifying its thesis, sources, conclusions, perspective, bias, and reliability

Beyond the Classroom

While at JMU, students of history will bring the insights and skills they learn in the classroom to their relationship and experiences with their broader communities.

Possibilities for such interactions include:

  • Leading efforts to promote open dialogue, civic engagement, and public service.
  • Fostering interdisciplinary relationships by engaging with the larger scholarly community at the university.
  • Participating in partnerships and events that expand and challenge their own worldview.
  • Studying abroad to deepen their understanding of cultural differences and non-US historical perspectives and experiences.
  • Becoming involved in professional work through internships.

Career Opportunities

Students graduating with a major or minor in history leave JMU with skills that are sought after by a wide range of employers.  History graduates are adaptive learners and able project managers. As a result, they are particularly marketable in a world where professions change rapidly.  Some of the career paths that history majors follow include:

  • Advertising
  • Archives and Libraries
  • Business
  • Communication
  • Digital humanities
  • Education
  • Government
  • Information Management
  • Journalism
  • Law
  • Non-Profit and Non-Governmental Organizations
  • Project Management
  • Public History and Museums
  • Public Policy
  • Research
  • Teaching
  • Writing and Editing

Undergraduate work in history is also a successful foundation for advanced degrees in the humanities, law, the social sciences, medicine, and other disciplines.

Co-curricular Activities and Organizations

Cross Disciplinary Minors

Students majoring or minoring in History should consider adding a Cross Disciplinary minor.  The programs below are supported by History faculty and include courses that can be double-counted in the History major or minor.  For more information, refer to Cross Disciplinary Minors .

Credit by Examination

The Department of History offers credit by examination for HIST 101 HIST 102  and HIST 225 . Students who want permission to take an examination must apply in writing to the department head during the regular registration period. The examinations are administered during the first month of each semester at a time and place set by the department. Additional information on credit by examination may be found at the Department of History website.