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Bachelor of Arts

Briar Cliff believes that students must become more broadly educated in order to be prepared to live in an increasingly complex society. By gaining awareness of historical traditions as well as the critical thinking skills of the historian's craft, students will be better prepared to confront this complex society as informed citizens. The purpose of the major is to bring together both the factual background and the analytical tools necessary to understand and interpret historical events.

Upon graduation, students majoring in history will be able to demonstrate a basic knowledge of key themes, issues and trends that have shaped the history of humankind by taking required courses in American, European and non-western history. Their knowledge in this area will be assessed by the individual courses that we require through exams and other course requirements. 

Students will develop skills of written and verbal expression. Opportunities to develop these skills will be available throughout the educational process through oral presentations and reflective and research papers. Our senior project requires students to write a substantial research paper, to present their findings and to defend their assertions. As such, this capstone course will assess their oral and written communication skills.

Students will develop skills of critical thinking and analysis. In both their classes and their senior project, they will need to weigh competing historical interpretations. This skill will be assessed both in their class papers and in their senior project.

Students will demonstrate knowledge of methods of the historical craft including both conceptual approaches to history and research methodologies. As part of their capstone sequence, they will examine different historical approaches in the seminar on the intellectual history and the fundamentals of research in the methods course. Their success will be assessed both in these classes through written assignments and class participation and in their senior project.

Core History Courses

HIST 110 - An Introduction to World Civilizations

This survey will study the various patterns of world civilizations, beginning with ancient societies. The course will focus mainly on their social and cultural influences, trans-cultural interactions, and the impact of these societies on the present. Read more »

HIST 113 - Western Civilization I

This survey traces the origins of important movements in early Western Civilization from the Greeks to the Romans, developments in Judaism and Christianity and feudal Europe up to the Renaissance and Reformation. Read more »

HIST 114 - Western Civilization II

This survey traces the origins of important movements in early Western Civilization from the Scientific Revolution and Age of Absolutism through French Revolution, Napoleonic Wars, and German unification to World War I. Read more »

HIST 203 - Historical Inquiry

Historical Inquiry is for students considering a major or minor in history or related field. The main purpose of the course is to investigate what it means to be a historian. This course explores the nature, uses, and methodologies of historical inquiry as well as the various career options available for those interested in History. Read more »

HIST 231 - American History to 1877

A survey of the history of the American people from the colonial period to the end of the Civil War. Read more »

HIST 232 - U.S. History Since 1877

A survey of the history of the American people from the South's reconstruction to the present. Read more »

HIST 337 - Twentieth Century World History

This survey seeks to find the causes and effects of current world problems and crises. Special emphasis will be placed on countries and events that are focal points in world affairs today. These include the nation-state and minorities, radical communist, fascists, and religious ideologies, de-colonization, modernization and Westernization. Read more »

HIST 468 - Intellectual History

This course will briefly survey the five major intellectual currents of metaphysics, politics, ethics, logic and aesthetics, followed by an analysis of how various historical figures, thinkers and events fit into one of the five categories. This course will point out major trends in Western thought, as well as developing higher-level thinking, writing and verbal skills. Prerequisites: HIST: 335, 336, 337 Read more »

HIST 470 - Senior Thesis

The senior thesis represents the "capstone" of the history degree, the last step in a student's undergraduate education at Briar Cliff. In the course of the seminar, you will select a topic, organize a bibliography, conduct research and write a thesis. Read more »

SPEC 111 - Public Speaking

An introduction to the craft of public speaking. Emphasis is placed on techniques of speech composition. A study is made of the different types of speeches with special attention given to informative and persuasive speaking. Read more »

WRTG 109 - Introduction to College Writing

Introduction to College Writing offers students multiple opportunities to practice essay planning, writing, and revision on a variety of topics. Read more »

WRTG 159 - Contemporary Argument and Research

Our world is full of dialogue and debate, and those who want to make their voices heard must choose their words carefully. In this class, students will explore current events and discuss their own reasoned perspectives on contemporary issues. Read more »

Additional Program Requirements

All history majors must take three elective HIST classes and complete one of the following courses: HIST 351, 352 or 353.

To satisfy university competencies, history majors must complete any 3- or 4-credit hour math course, SPEC 111, and 10 hours of community service.

History majors must also present their senior thesis.