History is the research and interpretation of human
experience in the past
LEARN FROM THE PAST
Being a historian is more like being a crime scene investigator than it is about memorizing facts and dates. You learn to ask good questions about the historical “crime scene.” What happened? Why? Who was involved? How did it go down?
Our students work to collect original evidence, organize and analyze it and present it to an audience in a compelling way. All majors do a substantial senior research project—from African-American debutante balls to 19th-century prison reform movements—that breaks new ground.
As a historian you may be digging in a field with archaeologists, through old letters in an archive or into the pockets of a centuries-old coat trying to determine what was kept there.
And you’re not just focusing on the distant past. Our students learn how to collect oral histories from living people who have witnessed what might otherwise be lost. They know historians of the future will thank them.
Careers Made easy
Some of our alumni continue to research, write and teach history for a lifetime. Others work for museums. We also launch those who go on to be attorneys and physicians, or work in key roles in government or nonprofits.
We stay connected with our alums. We help them get where they want to go. It’s one of the benefits from having worked so closely with them as undergrads; we really know whether they are politically minded, teaching-centric or whether they are into the long ago and far away.
In fact, our alums, seeking to keep this close-knit atmosphere alive, funded a summer scholarship to support current students with research or internship stipends. The Leavell-Oberg Scholarship honors and continues a beloved Drew history professor’s legacy of supporting student research.
As a history major, I’ve become much more critical of other people’s accounts of the past. I question why someone is writing something and critically analyze different perspectives of history.
I interned with the N.J. Amistad Commission, adding secondary source materials to a series of web-based textbooks integrating African-American history. It’s an important project in helping diversify how students learn about the American experience.
My SHEAR/Mellon Fellowship for history at the University of Pennsylvania helped complete my voluminous research for my honors thesis on the antebellum penitentiary system. I couldn’t have done it without the overwhelming support of my Drew professors.
My research and teaching interests center on early American history. My new research project is a study of the little-known consequence of the abolition of slavery in New Jersey and Pennsylvania—human trafficking in the early American republic.
Ph.D., Harvard University
I’m working on book that looks at private donations to Ireland during the Great Famine. It is an uplifting story. I’d call myself a jobbing historian—happy in an archive or classroom.
Ph.D., Trinity College, Dublin
C. Wyatt Evans
My current work is a study of Civil War domestic security for Oxford University Press as well as a longer-range project on the “memory of the good” in American history.
Ph.D., Drew University
My teaching and research interests include Russia and the USSR, medicine, disability and sexuality and the body. I’m working on a new book, Empire of Broken Men: Disability and Medicine at the End of World War II.
Ph.D., Columbia University
I’m working on a study of Winston Churchill’s literary career. (Indeed, he even published a novel.) I’d say I take great satisfaction in writing, in making words do things on the page.
Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania
I’d call myself a Europhile. My work on the history of European philosophy allows me to travel all over Europe, and I enjoy getting to experience different ways of life around the continent. And I am always interested in how American students think about and understand European history.
Ph.D., Harvard University
Lillie J. Edwards
Professor & director
I’d say I’m an idealist. This probably comes from my own liberal arts training that showed me the intellectual, creative and spiritual power human beings have to change the world in which they live. My current work includes a book project about the social mobility of the black middle class, using my late mother’s college diary.
Ph.D., University of Chicago
James M. Carter
Associate professor & chair
I’m working on two research projects: one on U.S.-China relations during the Boxer Rebellion, the second on the relationship between the government and private corporations in the realm of foreign policy from World War II through the 1960s.
Ph.D., University of Houston
- Senior foreign affairs officer
U.S. State Department
- Assistant prosecutor
Warren County, New Jersey
- Senior producer/writer
Learn more about when you graduate
My Favorite Course
“I loved learning about the imperial rivalry of the greater European powers. Professor Rose is like a walking history book, and he gave great insight into the political, strategic and cultural influences.”
James Fargher on Europe, 1914–1945: The World Wars and the Great Dictators
- HIST 101 - History of the United States, From Contact to 1877 (4)
A study of the development of the United States from first contact between Europeans and Native peoples through the Civil war and reconstruction. Covers such issues as the rationale for contact and conquest, the nature of colonial development, the American revolution, the transformation of the republic into a democracy, expansion to the Pacific, industrialization, the development and implications of slavery, and national collapse and reunion.
Offered: fall semester.
- HIST 102 - History of the United States, 1876-Present (4)
A survey of the development of American society from Reconstruction to the present. Treats major events, such as the Great Depression, and explores significant themes, such as industrialization and world power.
Offered: spring semester.
- HIST 104 - European History 1492-1789: Reformation, Enlightenment, and Revolution (4)
A survey of European history from Columbus to Napoleon. Emphasizes broad themes, such as European exploration, the rise of absolute monarchy, the triumph of parliamentary government in England, the culture of the Enlightenment, and the French Revolution.
Offered: fall semester.
- HIST 105 - European History 1789-1989: Nationalism, Totalitarianism, and Rebirth (4)
A survey of European history from the Congress of Vienna to the collapse of Communism. Emphasizes such topics as German and Italian unification, imperialism, the phenomenon of total war, the Bolshevik revolution, Fascism, the Cold War and European revival after 1945, and the collapse of Communism.
Offered: spring semester.
Consult the history department course listings each semester
24 additional credits inhistory department course offerings.
- HIST 210 - Historical Research Methods (4)
Introduction to the research methods historians use to gather information and interpret historical processes. Practical experience in exploring a variety of primary sources including oral history and historical archives. Introduction to historical reading and reasoning.
- HIST 400 - Capstone History Research Seminar (4)
Students concentrate on writing a major research paper on a topic of their choice, under the direction of the seminar instructor, but with the advice of members of the department who possess expertise in the area of a student's interest. Oral presentations and discussion of projects are required.
Signature of instructor required for registration.
Maybe repeated for credit.
Prerequisite: HIST 210.
A score of 4 or 5 on the American history examination exempts the student from HIST 101 or HIST 102. A score of 4 or 5 on the European history examination exempts the student from HIST 104 or HIST 105.
In completing the above requirements, at least 20 of the 44 credits must be in upper-level history. It is recommended that majors take HIST 210 in their sophomore year, and that students who want to write an Honors thesis takeHIST 400 in their junior year.
Students are encouraged to consider minoring in specific areas such as American history, European history, non-Western history, and intellectual and social history.