The History Major at Hanover

Members of the History Department welcome students to the study of history at Hanover College. History majors, in consultation with their advisers, are expected to develop a well-balanced major program combining breadth and depth and including both 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
      General education courses (such as LADR courses taught by historians) and the three-course sequence on "the West" (History 215-217) serve to introduce students to the study of history, provide breadth and context, and encourage integration and comparison. Majors, especially those who did not participate in the entire Eurasia sequence (GW123, GW124, MS125, MS126), are encouraged to take courses in the History 215-217 sequence. In a multidisciplinary context, Eurasia fulfills similar functions to that sequence.

  • Advanced Specialized Courses
      200- and 300-level courses focusing on particular geograpic 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) Independent Study (History 471)
For their culminating experience, history majors are to pursue an Independent Study (471), a semester-long research and writing project resulting in a substantive and original thesis paper and presentation. Together, the Junior Seminar and Independent Study provide majors with an opportunity for a year-long experience in the theory and practice of historical research, thus opening up options for sustained research projects.

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

The major program allows considerable room for flexilibity 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 seek to integrate their work in those disciplines with their work as historians. The department recommends that students participate in the expanding number of multidisciplinary courses offered at Hanover and 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 also offers the History Department Career Network, providing students with the opportunity to discuss educational and career plans with former Hanover history majors currently employed in a variety of occupations.

The History Department seeks to promote and sustain a community among history faculty and students. The History Club, a student organization open to majors and non-majors alike, sponsors a variety of activities to bring history enthusiasts together. In recent years, for example, the History Club sponsored visits to local Madison historic sites and sponsored game and movie nights. The Department encourages historical research and work experience outside of the classroom. For example, history students and faculty have also worked on a number of internet projects, including an award winning electronic texts project, The Hanover Historical Review, a student-edited journal of student history papers, and the Today in Hanover History project. The History Department wishes to celebrate 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: April 13, 2010