The field of history has changed significantly in recent decades—and public interest in history has grown. From the development of the field of women's and gender history to new perspectives on cultural analysis and cultural diversity, the discipline of history has expanded in scope, theory and methodology. Moreover, increasing attendance at historical sites and museums, as well as interest in documentary films and the History Channel, has spurred the growth of the field of public history.
The Department of History's curriculum reflects these changes, while maintaining Loyola's traditional strengths in Medieval, Modern Western European and United States history. In our core offerings, students now may choose among courses in European, American, African, Asian, Latin American and World history. For upper-level undergraduates, the department offers a variety of specialized courses in all of these geographical areas. Our faculty and courses play a significant role in Loyola's interdisciplinary programs, including Global and International Studies, Asian Studies, African Studies and the African Diaspora, Peace Studies, Urban Studies, and Women's Studies and Gender Studies. At the graduate level, we were one of the first in the nation to offer a master's degree in public history, and now are one of the first to offer a PhD in the field.
The Department of History offers:
- an undergraduate major and minor in History;
- master's programs in History and Public History;
- a master's program in Public History and Library Information Science (jointly with Dominican University); and
- a doctoral program in History
Graduates are prepared for careers in teaching and public history, but they also have transferable skills, and many undergraduate majors make careers in law, business, government and research institutions.
Our curriculum is designed to develop a deep understanding of the human past and to provide students with insight into the world in which they live through a perspective of time and change. History courses include a consideration of ideas, values and value systems, enhancing students' understanding of and appreciation for both their own and other cultures. At the same time, our curriculum teaches historical writing, analysis and research, and it fosters an appreciation of historical prose as a distinctive form of literature.
History is a form of inquiry and understanding that encompasses all aspects of the human experience and illuminates how the past causes the present and thus the future. Graduates should demonstrate understanding of the importance of chronology, sequential development, and geography; be able to evaluate historical evidence; understand the forces and processes of historical change and continuity; and have the capacity to handle diverse historical interpretations.
In terms of program outcomes and competencies for our undergraduate majors and minors, Loyola graduates should be able to:
- Produce analytical arguments by using evidence and facts to interpret past events, behavior and processes in their own historical writing and projects.
- Identify the arguments put forth by historians in order to compare, evaluate and criticize different interpretations of the past. In doing so, our graduates will be able to evaluate the adequacy of evidence (including a variety of sources: documents, films, diaries, images, oral and digital histories, etc.) that historians use to make truth claims about the past.
- Demonstrate an understanding of the processes of historical change and be able to discuss and evaluate causes, complexities and consequences of change over time in relationship to historical events and processes.
- Demonstrate an understanding that human values and beliefs are shaped by historical context and they will gain the capacity to make informed judgments about past and present behavior and ideas with a goal of fashioning a more just world. In this endeavor, students will gain an understanding of the ethical practices and standards for historical research and writing.
In addition, undergraduate History provides students with transferrable skills. History teaches its students to evaluate issues and societies in chronological perspective on the basis of the evidence left behind by human beings. History majors learn to evaluate that evidence critically, argue from it logically, and speak and write about it clearly. This provides a deeper understanding of our own and other cultures, which in turn, helps us to avoid oversimplification and stereotypes. Thus, History enriches us as human beings and makes us better citizens of the world. But it also provides skills and tools that make us eminently employable in a wide variety of fields. In short, the History major is well trained for life, for citizenship, and for any career involving the analysis of data and its clear and persuasive presentation.
In each of our courses, we try to give our students practical skills by teaching them how to analyze a document, perform complicated research, weigh evidence, contribute to and decide complex debates. These are skills that all professionals need. In short, History at Loyola will teach you to:
- Communicate effectively in clear and engaging written and spoken language.
- Think clearly and critically.
- Compose arguments in writing utilizing evidence to advance truthful claims.
- Employ correct citation format for notes and bibliographies (show mastery of the technical requirements of historical writing).
The strength of the History department lies in the achievements and quality of its 32 full-time faculty. They have a national reputation for scholarship, as reflected in their extensive records of publication with major scholarly presses and journals. Two current faculty members have been John Simon Guggenheim Foundation Senior Scholars, four have been Fulbright awardees, and ten have received awards or fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Other faculty members have received awards from the Andrew Mellon Foundation, the Woodrow Wilson Center, the American Council of Learned Societies, and the Paul Mellon Fellowship of American History at Cambridge. Our faculty members bring their expertise to the classroom, and the department is known for the fact that our senior faculty teach both introductory and advanced undergraduate courses. We offer many small classes, which facilitate close interaction between faculty and students, who appreciate the quality of the teaching provided and the personal attention they receive.
Loyola belongs to the Chicago Inter-University Consortium for Advanced Studies in Renaissance and Early Modern European History. The department's faculty participates actively in the consortium, which includes faculty from the University of Chicago, Northwestern University and the University of Illinois at Chicago, and staff from the Newberry Library. Seminars offered by this consortium, held at the Newberry Library, are open to Loyola graduate history students. Annual research seminars at the Newberry Library are also open to accepted Loyola undergraduates.