Bachelor of Arts
College of Arts and Sciences
History is the investigation of change and continuity in human societies. The focus is to understand the development of these societies in order to enhance comprehension of both the past and present.
Today’s historians explore such topics as the causes and consequences of war, foreign policy, popular attitudes and beliefs, religious and legal traditions, the social roles of women, electoral politics, immigration, race and racism, commercial and industrial development, and conflict between social groups.
In piecing together the puzzle of human experience, historians use many means of investigation and many kinds of evidence. But their goal is always the same: not simply to gather and report facts, but to interpret the past and understand its relationship to the present.
For undergraduates, history can open the way to understanding why people and institutions act as they do. It also provides an essential background to comprehend current political, economic,cultural and social problems. History sets daily events in perspective and generates a serious and usable awareness of trends in today’s world. Of equal value, historical thinking is a flexible, widely used form of reasoning and a problem-solving discipline.
Students learn to gather and organize information efficiently, analyze and evaluate evidence critically, argue persuasively and communicate ideas clearly. History stresses the importance of defining problems accurately and examining their origins in the search for solutions. It also exposes students to a variety of ways problems can be attacked. These intellectual abilities, combined with a realistic understanding of people and institutions, are the basis for many careers.
Most history students do not intend to be historians or history teachers. Employers and professional schools look for solid academic backgrounds, proven intellectual abilities and mature judgment.
Students use their knowledge, skills and communication abilities as the springboard to a variety of careers. This is especially true for careers in business, government, journalism and law. Others range from research positions in business and public agencies to archival and curatorial work, from the ministry to professional editing, from public relations to social work. There are very few careers for which history does not provide essential preparation.
The history major is designed to provide a progression of introductory, intermediate and advanced courses. It focuses on critical thinking, understanding and communication, not memorization.
History majors must complete 33 credit hours in history. A total of nine credit hours is to be chosen from introductory American, Asian and world civilization courses. Of the remaining credit hours, a minimum of nine is to be taken in senior-level courses in American, European, Asian, African, Latin America or Ancient History.
Within these limits students are free to design their own programs emphasizing areas of greatest interest. In addition to scheduled course offerings, students may arrange reading or research courses, or internships on specific topics with individual faculty members.
A significant part of the history major is the commitment of the faculty to effective teaching at all course levels, whether introductory, intermediate or advanced classes taught by professional historians. This direct access to faculty, both inside and outside the classroom, is of great importance, especially to freshmen and sophomores.
The History Society is an organization of students, both majors and non-majors, interested in historical topics and in the academic and nonacademic uses of history. Majors have the opportunity to join the local chapter of Phi Alpha Theta, the international history society.
The department recognizes the best undergraduate work in history each year and students are invited to many informal faculty presentations throughout the year. Well-known speakers from outside the University visit each year and many meet with students in small-group discussions.
Every effort is made to place interested students in internships related to their career goals.
The most important areas of preparation are reading, writing and critical thinking skills. Basic grounding in mathematics and foreign languages is useful. History students should also have a genuine curiosity about their own and other societies and the motivation to pursue serious study.
Completing the requirements for high school graduation is necessary for admission to BGSU, but only finishing the minimum coursework will leave you unprepared for college. Consider taking four years of mathematics instead of the three that are required. Two, three or even four years of the same foreign language is excellent preparation for college. You will also benefit from competency in computer use. Courses that provide exposure to or training in the visual and performing arts are excellent choices.
BGSU's website for future students contains University highlights, admissions procedures, financial aid information and many department profiles. It can be accessed at www.bgsu.edu.
Bowling Green State University is a vibrant university that engages, challenges and prepares students for meaningful futures. At BGSU, students enjoy an education that integrates personal growth, academic excellence and an environment that expands their thinking and potential. A mid-size residential university, BGSU has an enrollment of approximately 20,000 and a full-time faculty of more than 900 on its main campus. More than 200 undergraduate majors and programs are offered as well as master's and doctoral level programs.
NOTE: Information in this guide is subject to change without notice. To learn more about the official program of study for History, please check the undergraduate catalog online at www.bgsu.edu/catalog/A_S/A_S55.html.