History Department

The History Major at Hanover

The History Department welcomes all students to the study of history at Hanover College!

Those who major in history have the opportunity to explore the past with more breadth and depth.  In consultation with their advisers, they develop a sequence of courses that includes introductory and upper-level courses from different areas of the history curriculum.


The requirements of the History major are:

(1) Seven Elective History Courses (not including 100-level courses) chosen from among introductory comparative courses and advanced specialized courses.

  • Introductory Comparative Courses
        • The three-course sequence on "the West" (His215-217) and "Genres of History" (His218) serve to introduce students to the study of history, provide breadth and context, and encourage integration and comparison. 
  • Advanced Specialized Courses
      The 200- and 300-level courses focusing on particular geographic areas, chronological periods, or themes presuppose a greater level of sophistication in historical analysis and interpretation than the introductory courses. These courses treat historiographical problems in a more systematic and comprehensive way, and, although more specialized, they continue to emphasize integration.

(2) Historical Research (History 371)
In their junior year (typically in the winter term), majors are to participate in a seminar devoted to reflecting on the practice of history (through a study of historiography and historical methodology, for instance). The junior seminar provides an opportunity for focused study of questions and subject matter that inform all historical inquiry and have bearing on all other history courses as well as many courses outside of history. The seminar is designed to complement and provide a foundation for the Independent Study.

(3) Senior Thesis (History 471)
For their culminating experience, history majors are to pursue a semester-long research and writing project resulting in a substantive and original thesis paper and presentation. Together, "Historical Research" and the senior thesis provide majors with an opportunity for a year-long experience in the theory and practice of historical research. A sampling of recent theses is here.

(4) Comprehensive Evaluation (History 499)
The History Comprehensive Evaluation gives seniors the opportunity to demonstrate their understanding of different civilizations and eras, to integrate material from across the curriculum, and to demonstrate their skill in analyzing and interpreting historical problems. Details are here.


The major program allows considerable room for flexibility and choice. The department endorses the development of independent plans of study, including directed studies and internships.

History majors are also encouraged to pursue studies in disciplines related to history and to integrate their work in those disciplines with their work as historians. The department recommends that majors continue work in a foreign language beyond the expectations of the general degree requirement.

The history faculty are committed to providing majors with assistance in developing coherent and thoughtful academic programs and in formulating post-graduate plans. They believe that quality advising is central to the mission of the department and of the liberal arts. Advising should not simply be a matter of registering for classes, acquiring signatures, and shuffling papers; advising should complement and extend the objectives of teaching. Students, together with their advisers, can discuss, for example, the relationship between different courses and disciplines, the coherence of academic programs, the relationship between particular requirements, courses, or programs and the bearing that academic options will have on post-graduate plans. Together with the Career Center, major advisers will assist students in identifying and exploring post-graduate education and career options.

The History Department seeks to promote and sustain a community among the majors and among all those interested in the past.  The History Club, a student organization open to majors and non-majors alike, sponsors a variety of activities to bring history enthusiasts together. History students and faculty have also worked on a number of internet projects, including the Today in Hanover History project (an almanac of historical news items relevant to Hanover students), Steamboat Adventure (primary sources about the first steamboat trip down the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers), an edited transcription of a Hanover student's nineteenth century diary, edited transcriptions of the Civil War letters of the Monfort and Adkinson families, and the forthcoming Learning in Black and White (primary sources on the first African-American students at Hanover).  The Hanover Historical Review, a student-edited journal of student history papers, is published in both print and digital form.

The History Department celebrates community among history faculty and students -- a community founded upon mutual respect, enthusiasm for history, and a shared commitment to the enduring value of teaching, scholarship, and the liberal arts tradition.

Last Updated: Sept. 30, 2017