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B.A. History

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Fast Facts: History Major and Minor

  • Designed for students who want to dig deeply into the historical roots of today's world and to learn how to think critically about current issues.
  • A truly global curriculum, with courses that span a wide range of periods, geographic regions and topics.
  • Courses are challenging, classes are small, and faculty work closely with students.
  • Professors are experts in their areas of study and dedicated to excellence in teaching, research and service.
  • Students learn how to effectively analyze, organize, assess and interpret information, while honing their persuasive writing and discussion skills.

Program requirements

Major: 36 Credits
Minor: 20 Credits

Research and internships

History majors and minors complete a research project in the required 4000-level seminar, and are encouraged to pursue independent research projects supervised by faculty mentors. A wide range of internships are available at the St. Louis County Historical Society, with which the department has close ties; at numerous other organizations and agencies in Duluth and in Minnesota; and in Washington, D.C., through the Washington Semester Program at American University. There are also research and internship opportunities available with The Middle Ground, a professional online journal for world historians, edited in the Department of History and Politics.


Skills that history majors learn - critical thinking, effective writing, excellent organization and more - are essential for success in many professions. While some history majors become professional historians, most go on to work in education, law, politics, journalism, media, publishing, business, public policy, interest group advocacy, civil and foreign service, archival and library science, museum studies, historic preservation and public history. Obtaining a degree in History is also excellent preparation for graduate school in these and other fields; our students  have gone on to graduate or law school at Harvard, Columbia, UCLA, the University of Minnesota and many other fine institutions.

Become a history or social studies teacher by pairing this program with the middle/secondary education major. Go to the B.A./B.S. Middle/Secondary Education page

Pair with a language

Boost your brain power and give yourself a competitive edge in our global economy by pairing your major with a language. St. Scholastica offers programs and courses in American Sign Language, French, German, Latin, Ojibwe, Russian and Spanish.

Sample curriculum

Here are some classes you could take as part of this major or minor. Please note that you would not necessarily need all of these courses to fulfill a major or minor. This list doesn't include general education courses. Be sure to create your course plan in consultation with your advisor.

Course Creation Center

Expand and Collapse Coursework

Expand and Collapse HIS 1101 - World History I

Introduces world history from the origins of civilization to 1500. The course focuses on the societies and cultures of Eurasia: Southwest Asia (the Middle East), India, Persia, China, Greece and Rome, and Europe. Major themes include the founding and development of the world's great religions; political ideas, institutions and practices; law and legal institutions; society and economy; war, conquest and empire; the expression and meaning of human dignity in varied contexts; and the richness and diversity of human experience and aspiration in the foundational eras of the world's civilizations.

Expand and Collapse HIS 1102 - World History II

Introduces world history since 1500. The course surveys the societies and cultures of Europe, Asia, Africa, the Middle East and the Americas. Themes include Europe's impact on the world, modernization and tradition, imperialism and empire, the great ideologies of the modern era, and growing consciousness of human rights and world citizenship. The course traces global patterns of change and continuity, while striving to understand the particular perspectives of distinct world cultures and the meanings these cultures have given to their historical experiences.

Expand and Collapse HIS 1112 - Religion in the United States

Offers students an introduction to the history of religion and culture in the United States from the pre- Colonial era to the present. Explores the varieties of religious life in the United States (e.g. Native American religions, Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, and various "non-traditional" religions such as Mormonism, Spiritualism and Christian Science) from a combination of historical, literary and cultural perspectives.

Expand and Collapse HIS 2201 - American Indian History I

Studies political, economic, social and cultural development of the American Indian from pre-contact through conquest.

Expand and Collapse HIS 3206 - Historiography and Historical Methods

Introduces hands-on survey of the concepts, methods, sources, and tools involved in the writing of history and in other forms of historiography. Includes a review of major historiographical trends, past and present.

Expand and Collapse HIS 3212 - The Renaissance and Reformation in Global Perspective

Exploring the historical, social and cultural formation of Renaissance and Reformation Europe in global perspective, ca. 1300-1650, this History course begins with Jacob Burckhardt – the 19th century Swiss historian and art critic who set the terms of debate for modern interpretations of the Renaissance – before examining the startling changes in religion and culture, economics, science and technology, and world-wide exploration during the Renaissance and Reformation. The Renaissance was an age of amazing intellectual and political awakening, from the literary and aesthetic achievements of Petrarch, Leonardo da Vinci, and Raphael to the philosophical humanism of Erasmus and Thomas More. This era in European history was also a time of religious conflict and warfare, as Martin Luther in Germany, Huldreich Zwingli of Zurich, and Jean Calvin of Geneva ushered in the “Reformation” to protest and resist the religious and political practices of the Roman Catholic Church. Topics and critical issues include the rise of historiography, the Black Death, the Italian City-State, humanism, the development of the nation-state in Northern Europe, the rise of science, the wars of religion, the place of women in Renaissance and Reformation history and culture, and last but not least, widespread ideas about witchcraft, the apocalypse, and the last days.

Expand and Collapse HIS 3214 - The World Since 1945

Introduces world history from the end of World War II to the present. Major themes include the origins, course and end of the Cold War; the Soviet Union from Stalin to Gorbachev; China under Mao and his successors; decolonization, nationalism and the retreat from empire; the Vietnam War; Africa since independence; democracy, dictatorship and intervention in Latin America; war and peace in the Middle East; the Islamic world; human rights and the struggle for justice; the role of the United States in the contemporary world; and the meaning and responsibilities of global citizenship.

Expand and Collapse HIS 3300 - Russia: Kievan Beginnings - 1917

Introduces Russian history from the first Russian state (centered on Kiev and traditionally dated from 882) to the fall of the Romanov dynasty in 1917. Over these roughly 1,000 years, Russian history is divided into four main periods: Kievan Rus (until 1240), appanage Russia under the Mongols (1240-1462), Muscovy (1462-1689), and imperial Russia (1689-1917). After considering the historical background, this course will concentrate on the imperial period. Topics and themes include the nature and development of the Russian autocracy, Orthodoxy and religious experience, the growth of empire, serfdom, state and civil society, the intelligentsia, and the revolutionary movement. There will be some emphasis on intellectual and cultural history.

Expand and Collapse HIS 3301 - Russia Since 1900

Introduces Russian history from late tsarism to the post-communist era. The first half of the course treats the last years of the tsarist autocracy, the Russian Revolution, Lenin and Stalin, the nature of Soviet communism, and the concept of totalitarianism. The second half of the course considers the Khrushchev and Brezhnev eras, Gorbachev and perestroika, the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russia under Yeltsin and Putin, and the Chechen wars. Cultural and intellectual history is an integral part of the course.

Expand and Collapse HIS 3304 - Modern European Intellectual History

Explores some of the critical issues and currents in European intellectual history from the eighteenth century to the present. Themes and topics include the European Enlightenment and its legacy; the idea of progress; modern social philosophies and ideologies such as liberalism, conservatism, socialism and anarchism; Romanticism and nationalism; communism and fascism; major developments in philosophical, religious, historical, and scientific thought; and recent trends such as feminism, existentialism, deconstruction, post colonialism, and postmodernism. The course will consider thinkers such as Rousseau, Kant, Hegel, Marx, Darwin, Nietzsche, Freud, Einstein, Heidegger, Adorno, Sartre and Foucault.

Expand and Collapse HIS 3305 - Issues in Mod European History

Study of major selected themes and problems in European history since 1789. Topics may include intellectual history, nationalism, liberalism and democracy, religion, revolution and social change, and the role of the modern state.

Expand and Collapse HIS 3307 - Modern Latin American History

Provides an introduction to 19th and 20th century Latin American history. Themes and issues will include the colonial legacy, modernization and nationalism, religion and politics, the revolutionary experience of the 20th century, the role of women and the continuing struggles of indigenous people.

Expand and Collapse HIS 3310 - United States Foreign Relations

Studies American foreign relations from the emergence of the U.S. as a world power at the end of the 19th century to the present. Examines principles, personalities and politics involved in the creation of modern American foreign policy.

Expand and Collapse HIS 3324 - African American History I

Examines significant topics in African American history from the period of forced migration to the Americas through Reconstruction. Analyzes the roles African Americans of different classes and genders have played in shaping U.S. history.

Expand and Collapse HIS 3325 - African American History II

Examines significant topics in African American history from Reconstruction through the current experience of diverse members of the African Diaspora living in the U.S. Analyzes the roles African Americans of different classes and genders have played in shaping U.S. history.

Expand and Collapse HIS 3327 - U.S. Economic History

Uses historical events as case studies for basic economic principles. Students use historical analysis to investigate economic concepts and use economic theories to analyze U.S. history. Requirements: develop critical thinking skills so that students can evaluate the influences and trends that have shaped the economic institutions and events of the United States, both past and present.

Expand and Collapse HIS 3355 - Islam and the Modern World

An introduction to Islam from its founding to the present day. The course traces the establishment of Islam as one of the world's great religions and explores the fundamentals of Islamic belief and practice (in theology, mysticism, law and way of life). The focus is on Islam in the 20th century, including topics such as the colonial legacy; the Israeli-Palestinian conflict; the Iranian revolution; militant Islam, jihad, and terrorism; the diversity of Muslim cultures; and the liberal tradition in Islam.

Expand and Collapse HIS 3356 - History of Modern India

Examines the history and culture of modern India from the origins of British colonialism in South Asia to the present. Beginning with a brief introduction to ancient, medieval and Moghul history (Muslim rule), the course focuses on British rule in India and the colonizing logic of its various forms of knowledge, from efforts by British Orientalists to study Indian languages and law to anthropology and the history of religions. Topics and critical issues include the vexed relations between Hindus, Shikhs and Muslims, the invention of authentic Indian religious "tradition" by British interpretations of ancient Hindu scriptures, the colonial history of the caste system, representations of Indian women by British missionaries and colonial officers, the role of Gandhi's rise to power and other indigenous nationalist movements, the origins of independence and the partition of the subcontinent between India and Pakistan in 1947, and the religious politics of contemporary Hindu nationalism.

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  • "Never in my life have my own thoughts and beliefs been challenged as much as through my experience with the history program. Not only has it challenged how I think about history, but also how I think as a human."

    – Samantha Roettger, ‘16

  • "The history department at CSS has prepared me for my future profession, and has grown my interest in history. Professors in the history department are kind, helpful and extremely intelligent."

    – David Miller, ‘16

  • "I learned a lot about myself as an individual and how I react to history. I have learned many important life skills, such as, the importance of critical thinking, questioning the past and looking for credible answers. I learned much more than history, I learned about life."

    – Samantha Roettger, ‘16

  • "The History department at CSS prepared me to be a well-rounded citizen and responsible scholar, as the professors have incorporated deeper meaning of history into their courses through moral philosophy and commitment to the Benedictine Values."

    – Becca Smith, ‘16