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History

Undergraduate Program in History

The study of History enriches all who undertake it.  It sits at the center of the liberal arts, for it is concerned with all areas of human endeavor—politics, economics, social arrangements, psychology, thought, and religion.

In Duquesne University’s Department of History, students will:

  • engage in a challenging education
  • learn to apply the methods of historical scholarship in contemplative and ethical ways
  • deepen their understanding of the United States of America and the world and how and why different cultures have developed as they have

The faculty members of the Department of History:

  • endeavor to help students become educated and conscientious citizen scholars
  • serve not only the students at Duquesne but also students of history elsewhere and through time by contributing to historical discourse through presentations and publications
  • offer a wide variety of courses in American, European, Latin American, Middle Eastern, Asian, and African histories

The majority of our courses are taught by full-time faculty who, in addition to being fine teachers, are all published scholars in their fields.  They bring to the classroom both their enthusiasm for the discipline and the rich insights of their scholarship.  All of the Department’s instructors, whether full-time or adjunct, are committed to excellence in education.  That commitment is reflected in the Department’s reputation for first-rate instruction.

I'm a Current DU Student. How Do I Declare My History Major or Minor?

Declaring your History Major or Minor is easy! Just follow these steps:

1. Log into DORI.

2. In the upper right corner, click on INDEX.

3. Select ACADEMICS>>>SCHOOLS>>>LIBERAL ARTS

4. Under BACHELOR'S PROGRAMS in the center of the page, click on RESOURCES FOR UNDERGRADUATE STUDENTS.

5. Select MAJOR/MINOR DECLARATION FORM.

6. Just fill out the online form and you're done!

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Honors

Honor Society

Phi Alpha Theta is a professional honor society whose mission is "to promote the study of history through the encouragement of research, good teaching, publication and the exchange of learning and ideas among historians. It seeks to bring students, teachers and writers of history together for intellectual and social exchanges, which promote and assist historical research and publication by our members in a variety of ways."

To join, undergraduate students must:

  • complete a minimum of 12 credits (4 courses) in History
  • achieve a minimum GPA of 3.1 in History and a GPA of 3.0 or better overall
  • be in the top 35% of their class

Students enrolled in an online program are not eligible. Membership is not limited to History majors.

Each spring semester, the Department of History inducts its new members in a community gathering that includes a reception afterwards.  For more information, please contact our administrative assistant, Laura Donaldson.

Graduating with Honors in History

Students who are planning to pursue a graduate degree in History should apply for the Department’s Honors Seminar in the fall of their senior year.  This course is offered every spring.  Students receiving Honors in History must meet the following criteria:

  • a 3.3 or better overall QPA
  • a 3.5 QPA or better in their History courses
  • the completion of Writing History (HIST 311W) with a grade of B+ or better
  • two letters of recommendation from History professors attesting to the student’s ability to do advanced research and writing
  • the completion of the Seniors Honors Seminar (HIST 491W) with a grade of B or better

OR

  • a 3.3 or better overall QPA
  • a 3.6 or better QPA in History courses
  • the completion of Writing History (HIST 311W) with a grade of B+ or better
  • the completion of eleven courses within the major (at least 9 are DU graded courses) of which two must be 400W-level courses with a grade of B+ or better

    Departmental Honor Awards

    Each year, the Department of History awards the Joseph M. Morice Award for Academic Excellence to its top graduating History major and the Jean E. Hunter Award for Excellence in Writing History to a junior/senior History major who excelled in his/her HIST 311W Writing History course.  Each of these awards consists of a beautifully framed certificate and a monetary gift.

    Mentoring

    The Department of History was the first department in the McAnulty College and Graduate School of Liberal Arts to develop a mentoring program to guide students through its major. Once you officially declare as a History Major, you will be assigned a faculty mentor.

    Your mentor will:

    • meet with you before each registration period to help you decide on the appropriate classes to meet your requirements and interests
    • provide guidance concerning your studies in History
    • advise you regarding potential graduate study
    • address any concerns you have about your studies, the Department of History, or your professors

    You will:

    • schedule meetings with your mentor before each registration period in order to discuss class selections
    • keep in contact with your mentor throughout your undergraduate career regarding your studies in History, your experience within the Department of History, and any concerns you may have
    Opportunities

    Undergraduate Professional Track

    The Department of History provides opportunities for its undergraduate majors to explore the field of public history and to undertake internships at local historical institutions.  Students who are admitted to the “Professional Track” program choose to take either HIST 526: Museum Studies (3 credits) in the spring semester of their junior year or HIST 525: Archival Studies (3 credits) in the fall semester of their senior year.  Upon the successful completion of the course, they will become eligible for a three-credit internship aspect of their course work.  The Department will make every effort to place the student in an internship, depending on the availability of an appropriate placement.  The 6 credits in the professional sequence will not count towards the required 30 credits in History, but they serve as electives.

    Students apply for this program during the fall semester of their junior year.  They must meet the following requirements:

    • 3.0 overall QPA
    • 3.3 QPA in their History courses
    • completion of 15 credits in History by the end of the fall semester of their junior year, including U.S. to 1877 and U.S. since 1877  (HIST 203 and HIST 204, respectively) and Writing History (HIST 311W)
    • letters of recommendation from two History professors
    • Students are strongly urged to take HIST 396 (Public History: People's Pasts) before or as they are applying for this track.

    For informaiton on how to apply for the Undergraduate Professional Track, please contact Dr. John J. Dwyer, Chair of the Department of History.

    Joint Degree Programs


    B.A. in History/B.S. in Education

    As the content demands for aspiring secondary teachers increase, one way for a student to prepare better for a career in education is to get both a B.A. in History and a B.S. in Secondary Education.  The Department has put together a program, in conjunction with the School of Education, which will allow students to receive both degrees.  The total credits for the joint program will range from 128 to 136 credits, depending on the number of credits required to complete the College’s language requirement.  Students should be able to complete the program within four years by taking an occasional overload or enrolling in summer classes.

    For more information, please speak to an Academic Advisor.

    Career Opportunities

    What can you do with a degree in History?  The answer: a lot!

    Here are just some of the areas where History majors are working:

    • government
    • politics
    • journalism
    • education
    • non-profit organizations
    • law
    • preservation and restoration
    • genealogy
    • corporate archives

    For further information about careers in History, visit Duquesne's Career Services Center and The American Historical Association's Careers for History Majors guide.

    Organizations

    Department of History Organizations


    Art/History Club
    • Interested in art and/or history?
    • Want to go to galleries, museums, and other areas of interest?
    • Passionate about art and public history advocacy?
    • Like participating in social events for the historically and artistically inclined?

    The Department of History and the Art History Program offer students the opportunities to engage in the above-mentioned activities through the Art/History Club. Faculty advisor Dr. Julia Sienkewicz can answer your questions about the club and is happy to take any recommendations for activities.

    Phi Alpha Theta

    The Department of History at Duquesne University is a member of the Epsilon Phi chapter of Phi Alpha Theta, the National History Honor Society. Each spring semester, our department holds an initiation ceremony and social for new inductees. You can learn more about membership requirements here.

    Professional Organizations

    The Department of History holds memberships in several professional organizations in the field of History. We encourage our students to explore all these organizations have to offer, including student memberships.