HIST - History course descriptions

History Department



Lori Witt (chair), Mark Barloon, Chia Ning, Timothy Olin


Statement of philosophy

The history department believes that one of the most important ways in which people establish who they are is through an accounting of what they have done over time. Since all human activities provide resources for this understanding, the history department includes in the study of history all social and cultural activities in which people have engaged. History is more than past politics. To insure that its students have the opportunity to know the variety that characterizes the human experience, the history department offers courses in all periods from ancient to modern and in most regions, including the Middle East, Africa, Asia, Europe and America.

Since history involves more than the simple setting forth of facts, the department exposes its students to the variety of interpretations and arguments that have characterized historians’ study. It also seeks to make them aware of the difficulties in coming to agreement in these matters. The department intends that engagement in such investigation assists students in developing their reasoning skills, as well as advanced reading and writing skills, which provides excellent preparation for graduate and professional study.

In addition to the standard major, the history department offers two options that lead either to certification in secondary education or an emphasis in public history. Course work in cultural anthropology, archaeology, art history, cultural and historical geography, and environmental studies is encouraged depending on individual student interests.


Study abroad opportunities

All history courses taken abroad can be used for the major. Study abroad is strongly encouraged for history majors.


Major Communication Skills

Evaluation in all skills is based on student’s performance in HIST 485 and 486. This two-course sequence requires extensive writing and reading in addition to development of research skills, and the student must successfully complete each course to obtain departmental recommendation for graduation with a history major. Preliminary evaluations of all skills are made when evaluating the student’s performance in the western civilization sequence. The student’s skills will be continually monitored through subsequent course work in the major.


History Major Requirements (38 credits)

  1. Complete one of the following courses:
     HIST 125 World History to 1500 (3)
     HIST 126  World History Since 1500 (3)
  2. Complete one of the following:
     HIST 130  United States to 1877 (3)
     HIST 131  United States Since 1877 (3)
     HIST 132  Issues in American History (3) (topic varies)
  3. Complete 16 credits from the following courses:
    HIST 210 History of Modern Europe (4)
    HIST 212 World War & Shaping of 20th Century (4)
    HIST 213 The USSR (4)
    HIST 215 The Balkans: Between East and West (4)
    HIST 216 Germany and Central Europe (4)
    HIST 217 Contemporary Europe (4)
    HIST 220 Middle Eastern Civilization (3)
    HIST 230 Foundations of American Nationalism (4)
    HIST 231 Emerging United States (4)
    HIST 232 Origins of Modern America (4)
    HIST 233 The Fifties & Sixties: US History: 1945-1975 (4)
    HIST 234 Recent United States (4)
    HIST 237 American Environmental History (4)
    HIST 250 Latin American Civilization (4)
    HIST 271 History of Modern China (4)
    HIST 275 History of Modern Japan (4)
    HIST 276 Early East Asian Civilization (4)
    HIST 277 Modern East Asian Civilization (4)
    HIST 280 Modern African Civilization (4)
    HIST 397/497 Internship (maximum 4 credits allowed to count)
    Up to 2 courses from the following may also count toward the 16 credits requirement. Students seeking secondary education licensure should consult their history and education advisors prior to enrolling in these courses:
    POLS 211 American Political Parties (4)
    POLS 222 African Politics Since 1935 (3)
    POLS 225 Modern Latin America (4)
    POLS 231 The Middle East in World Affairs (4)
    POLS 235 The U.S. in World Affairs (4)
    POLS 361 American Political Philosophy (4)
    REL 250 American Religious Thought (3)
    REL 252 The Reformation (3)
    REL 253 Medieval Christendom (3)
    REL 254 The Early Church (3)
  4. Complete 8 credits of the following:
    HIST 310  Studies in World History (4)
    HIST 330  Studies in American History (4)
    Note: Each of these courses may be repeated for credit with different topics.

  5. Complete all of the following:
      HIST 485  Historiography Seminar (4)
      HIST 486 History Research Seminar (4)

History Minor Requirements (22 credits)

  1. Complete a minimum of 22 credits including seven credits each of American and world history distribted as follows:
    • Two HIST courses at the 100-level or above (6-8 credits)
    • Three to four (12 credits required) HIST* courses 200-level or above. Up to 4 credits of HIST-397/497 may count.
    • One HIST course at the 300-level or above (excluding HIST-397/497) (4 credits)

    *Students may count up to four credits from the approved list of political science or religion courses noted within the history major requirements.

    Note: The history minor will not meet the State of Iowa requirements for teaching certification in history as a minor field.


Secondary education teaching licensure

Students seeking education teaching licensure must, depending on the endorsement they are seeking, complete the History Major Rquirements listed above, which must include:


Students should consult their history and education advisors for courses needed. In addition, students seeking teaching licensure must earn a GPA of 3.0 in the history major and complete all education (EDUC) courses required for licensure.