Dr. Susan Farnsworth, Professor of History (program chair)
Dr. Mary Lynn Rampolla, Associate Professor of History
The history major is particularly flexible. Students may select an orientation suiting their own individual interests, supported by complementary courses in art, literature, the social sciences, theology, and philosophy.
The study of history is integral to a liberal education. Students develop an informed perspective about the varieties and diversity of human experience and about their own inherited cultural traditions. They learn ways to study the past and to make connections between the past and the issues of the contemporary world. Through their investigation of human experience, they develop an understanding of institutions, ideas, and values different from theirs, and, in turn, recognize and deepen their own values. In the process, they acquire skills in interpretation and synthesis based on systematic inquiry and research, analysis of evidence, and the formation of critical judgment.
Training in history offers a foundation for many different careers. Broad reading, the development of critical perspective, the discipline of research, organizational ability, logical presentation of evidence and conclusions, intuitive insight, understanding of human nature — all these prepare the student for a wide variety of professions. As a result of this academic preparation, Trinity history majors have pursued careers in law, business, print and broadcast journalism, public relations, teaching, and museum education and curatorial work.
The History Program offers both a major and a minor to students in the College of Arts and Sciences.
Prerequisites for History Courses
Only 100-level courses satisfy FLC, Core, or General Education Curriculum requirements. (See course descriptions for specific information.
200-level courses do not have pre-requisites and are open to all interested students.
Most 300-and 400-level courses require a research paper; therefore, familiarity with historical methodology is highly recommended.
Required Courses (33 credits)
Students majoring in history must take the following distribution of courses at the 200-level or above:
TWO courses in Europe before 1700, including either
- HIS 231 The Renaissance and ReformationStudies the political, social, and economic history of the major centers of the Italian Renaissance, the Northern Renaissance and Christian humanism, the scientific revolution, the relationship between humanism and reform, the continental and English Reformations, and popular culture in early modern Europe.
HIS 234 Kings, Commoners and ConstitutionsExamines religion and politics in the 17th century, the English constitutional conflicts and the triumph of the common law tradition, the mystique and reality of royal power in the court of France, the trend toward secularization of thought, and the growing role of commoners in political institutions.
General Education: Leadership
TWO courses in Europe after 1700, including
- HIS 485 Age of Dictators: Europe 1914-1945Examines the transformation of the European order as a result of World War I and the peace of 1919; analyzes the rise of the dictatorships, the leadership of Mussolini, Hitler, Lenin and Stalin; and investigates the outbreak of World War II.
THREE courses in United States history, including
- HIS 337 The United States 1789-1865Studies the evolution of United States political and constitutional institutions, emphasizing the presidency, the extraconstitutional emergence of political parties, and the political implications of economic policy. Chronological development highlights the Federalist achievement, Jeffersonian period, the Market Revolution, and the causes leading to the Civil War.
HIS 338 United States Comes of Age, 1865-1941Studies the political and economic consequences of the evolution of the United States to an urbanized, industrialized society, the dilemmas of Reconstruction, the formation of a national economy, the politics of equilibrium from 1865-1896, the Progressive Movement, the New Deal, and the emergence of the United States as a world power.
TWO courses in Non-Western history
ONE elective course in history
ONE seminar: HIS 466 Senior SeminarProvides an in-depth examination of specialized topics in U.S., European, and world history. Subjects for analysis are selected according to the interests of the students and the instructor. This course fulfills the seminar requirement for history majors.
History majors are advised to take at least two upper-division courses in a complementary discipline, such as art, literature, any one of the social sciences, theology, and philosophy.
Where applicable, interdisciplinary courses may also fulfill requirements.
Required Courses (18 credits)
To earn a minor in history, students must take the following distribution of courses at the 200-level or above:
ONE course in European history
ONE course in United States history
ONE course in non-Western history
THREE elective courses in history
A score of 4 or 5 on the AP examination is accepted for credit toward the degree. AP credit does not fulfill FLC, Core, major, or minor requirements.
CLEP credit is not accepted to fulfill history major or minor requirements.
Grades in Major and Minor Courses:
Students are required to maintain an average of “C” (2.0) or better in the major and minor.
With the exception of practica and internships, courses fulfilling a major or minor requirement may not be taken pass/no pass.
Senior history majors are required to pass a written and an oral comprehensive examination, normally administered early in the spring semester.
To support their major, students are encouraged to study abroad, preferably in their junior year.
TELL credits may count towards the major if the student is able to document active participation in an event, movement, or issue that has shaped contemporary history.
Students may apply transfer credits toward the major in history if the accepted courses parallel courses required for the major at Trinity. In all, transfer students must complete a minimum of 15 credits in history at Trinity, including a colloquium or seminar.