The discipline of history concerns itself with fleshing out and maintaining the record of the human past, thereby forming an indispensable background for all other areas of knowledge—in the humanities, the social sciences, and the natural sciences. While study of history is far-reaching, it also brings close all the individual things that make people and their times distinct and captivating. By learning history, we define and measure ourselves and gauge both our progress and our significance.
The history Department offers a series of courses in the Liberal Arts Core that address the significant events in the human past for the purpose of contributing to the liberal education of students from all areas of the university. The department also offers a major with two distinct emphases—a liberal arts emphasis and a teaching emphasis—as well as a minor. Just as the secondary education emphasis available to our majors is designed to equip future teachers of history at the undergraduate level, our master's degree program can also deepen the knowledge of currently practicing history teachers, as well those who are interested in careers in the academy and beyond.
The members of our faculty are the mainstay of the department as well as the source of its excellence. Having won the university’s Distinguished Scholars, Advisor of the Year, and Teaching Excellence awards, they contribute in manifold ways to the education of all of UNC’s undergraduates.
Most of the courses in our curriculum are lecture/discussion courses on various aspects of both American history and world history. In the required senior Seminar in History, our majors write significant historical essays of 20-25 pages using knowledge and research methods learned in their previous studies. Our students also have the opportunity to study particular subjects in depth through independent studies with individual members of the faculty.