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Department of History

Department of History

Dr. Victoria Ott teaching class on the Quad

Choose to study history at BSC, and you’ll immerse yourself in the study of change and be prepared to tackle the changes taking place in the world today. You’ll also learn skills that will serve you no matter what you choose to do: how to organize information, how to write and argue persuasively, and how to think creatively. What’s more, you’ll see the past in ways you’ve never considered.

If you study history at BSC:

  • You’ll find professors that are outstanding in their fields and deeply committed to teaching. Whether it’s ancient China or the new South, they’ll bring history to life. Many classes are capped at only 15 students, making for lively discussion.
  • You’ll be on a great path for a number of careers, including law, medicine, business, teaching, government, and non-profit work. Our flexible units make it a great option for a double major, including secondary education.
  • You’ll find plenty of opportunities for internships, including history internships with the local historical groups like the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute and Turkey Creek Nature Preserve. History majors also study overseas in BSC’s program at Oxford University in England.
  • You can use our unique January Exploration Term to check out a subject that’s new for you, whether it’s a course on the Russian revolution, the Holocaust in film, or an introduction to gender studies.
  • You’ll tackle a research paper as part of the senior research symposium capstone under the guidance of a professor and present your findings at a senior conference.



    Dr. William P. Hustwit, Associate Professor and Chair, Department of History

    Dr. Randall D. Law, Associate Professor of History

    Dr. V. Markham Lester, Professor of History

    Dr. Matt Levey, Professor of History

    Dr. Victoria Ott, Associate Professor of History

    Dr. Mark S. Schantz, Professor of History


    Learning outcomes

    The history faculty engages students in an inquiry into the past. By reconstructing earlier civilizations and perceiving various ages within a time frame stretching from prehistory to the present, the history student comes to see an age in relationship to what came before and what follows. A sense of continuity is developed that expands mental horizons, permits fruitful comparisons to be made with the present, and allows a more acute awareness of one’s surroundings. The effort to understand the peoples of the past makes use of various skills and techniques including the evaluation of evidence, employment of imagination, research skills in diverse sources of information, and effective oral and written communication skills.

    Upon completion of the history major, students will be able to

    • articulate a thesis that is historical and argumentative,
    • compose an historical argument using primary sources in support of an appropriate thesis,
    • and engage with secondary sources by situating one’s own thesis and argument within the topic’s historiography

    Success stories

    BSC history graduates follow a number of diverse paths. All are equipped and succeed regardless of the direction their careers take.

    • About a quarter of our majors go on to law school, including recent graduates at Michigan, Alabama and Cumberland.

    • Others are pursuing graduate programs in history at Georgetown, South Carolina, University of Massachusetts Amherst and North Carolina.

    • We have alumni completing graduate degrees in archeology, political science, art history, as well as careers in elementary and secondary education.

    • Many of our graduates go on to do service in the military, careers in government ser­vice or work in the non-profit sector.

    “My experiences at BSC, and particularly the skills I developed in my history courses, have proven absolutely invaluable here at Michigan Law School. Michigan Law is one of the best and most competitive law schools in the country. I am competing with kids from Princeton, Harvard, Stanford, and the rest of the big-name schools and I’m as prepared or better prepared than the average student here.” 
    PETER STARR ‘09 / History 
    University of Michigan Law School