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Department of History

Why history?

The study of history is an essential part of a liberal arts education. Rigorous examination of primary documents, artifacts, oral testimonies, and other evidence help historians understand the past on its own terms and explore the complex interaction between continuity and change. Experience in documentary and statistical research, critical analysis, writing, and rhetorical communication prepares students for careers in a variety of fields like education, communications, publishing, archive and library information management, civil and foreign service, public history, and business.  Some students pursue graduate and professional study in history, politics, law, and international studies.

To ensure that students can develop breadth and depth across periods and subject areas, the department offers a variety of courses covering US, European, African, and Caribbean histories. On-demand courses focus on smaller geographical and chronological pieces of history.

Ouachita's carefully-developed history program allows each student to acquire the professional skills and knowledge base required to succeed in a variety of careers and vocations.  Each student takes an introductory course exploring historical research, analysis, and presentation as well as available professional and career paths (some of which require graduate study). Each student then uses those basic skills in more advanced courses. The experience culminates in Research Seminar, which utilizes research, writing, and presentation skills to investigate a self-selected topic, and Topical Seminar, which investigates a specialized part of human experience in a more self-directed study.


What is public history?

What is public history? Making historical scholarship available and accessible to people who are perhaps unaware that they enjoy history. Public History stands at the intersection of a coherent understanding of the human past (the discipline of History) and human acceptance of and use for that understanding in a public setting. Public historians convey historical understanding to the general public. Their work involves critical thinking about history, understanding historical significance, and analyzing, evaluating, synthesizing, and interpreting historical findings at more than 15,000 chartered public history venues. Most commonly, public historians apply historical perspective to contemporary issues while honoring historical interpretations from diverse cultural traditions and values. They present historical narratives in the public sphere, developing collaborative relationships between members of the academy and the general public. Their community-based research methods are grounded in the discipline’s professional standards, ethics, and practices.

The practice of Public History involves work in museums, archives, tourism, community history, historic preservation, cultural resource management and interpretation, and media. The discipline offers students an opportunity to follow their love for history while acquiring the practical skills to succeed in an ever-expanding field. Its study is highly experiential, gained in skills-based courses.

Students completing the program will understand the core concepts and theories pertaining to museum studies, archival administration, historic preservation, and local history. Through experiential learning they will acquire the skills to present history to the public through completion of projects such as museum exhibits, archival finding aids, community history programming, and digital resource creation. These practical applications will exist within the scope— and use the methodologies and procedures—of public history.


Degree Requirements

History Major (B.A.): SSCI 4601 and the following courses, in which a 2.000 GPA is required for graduation: HIST 1003, 1013, 2003, 2013, 2023, 4603, the Topical Seminar (HIST 4703-4793), and additional courses in the department to total a minimum of thirty hours. Three junior/senior hours must be taken in both United States history and in other areas of history (Neither Topical Seminar nor Research Seminar may apply to this aspect of the requirement). Students majoring in history must achieve a grade of C or higher in HIST 4603 (Research Seminar) and HIST 47_3 (Topical Seminar).

History Major with Social Studies Teaching Emphasis (B.A.): SSCI 4103; HIST 1003, 1013, 2003, 2013, 2023, 3523, 4603, a Topical Seminar (4703-4793), and additional courses in history to total thirty hours. Three junior/senior hours must be taken in an approved world history course; PSCI 2013, 2033; ECON 1013; six hours in Geography; six hours in Sociology. In addition, students must complete a second major in education as outlined on page 83.

History Minor: A minimum of eighteen hours in the department including at least six hours of United States history, six hours in other areas of history.

Public History Major: PUHI 2103, PUHI 3103, PUHI 3203, six hours among PUHI 4703-4793, six hours of Public History Practicum, and SSCI 4601. The final Public History Practicum requires the completion of a Sutton School-approved portfolio depicting at least five, varied, successfully-disseminated public-history projects. Further, the major requires HIST 1003 or 1013 (meets CORE 2213 requirement), HIST 2003 or 2013 (meets CORE Civic Engagement requirement), HIST 2023, and four additional department-approved, 3-hour, Jr/Sr. HIST courses of which at least one must be non-US. Additionally, the Sutton School requires that public history graduates complete nine hours chosen from among GEOG 1003, PSCI 2023, PSCI 3063, PSYC 1013, PSYC 3013, or SOCI 2053. Though the Public History major requires no minor, we encourage students to consider a second major in History or a minor in Political Science or Sociology or a minor among the schools of business, fine arts, or humanities.

Public History Minor: PUHI 2103, PUHI 3103, PUHI 3203, six hours among PUHI 4703-4793, and three hours of Public History Practicum.


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