Purdue’s approach to the study of history is equally varied among politics, society, culture, gender, race, war, diplomacy, science, and technology. The Department of History is deeply involved in educating students to think critically, with courses that teach not only what happened in the past but also how the past informs the present. History majors acquire skills in critical thinking and communication.

Points of Pride

  • Each year, the department coordinates study abroad trips around the world, most recently to Germany, Egypt, England, Greece, China, and Turkey.
  • The department is dedicated to excellence in undergraduate and graduate teaching as well as historical research. The department's faculty members take pride in fostering close working relationships with students. The faculty members have national and international reputations for research, and the department has earned campus-wide recognition for excellent teaching. Departmental faculty consistently win major research awards and grants, hold offices in professional organizations, and serve on editorial boards at home and abroad as well as publish articles in major journals and critically acclaimed books.
  • Department members have received several prestigious awards: Whitney Walton was announced co-winner of annual Webb Smith Essay Competition, 2009.  John Larson received a Senior Fellowship from the McNeil Center for Early American Studies. Larson and Michael Morrison were co-directors of a National Endowment for the Humanities summer seminar for university and college professors. John Contreni has been elected as a fellow of the Medieval Academy of America. Nancy Gabin was recently elected to the board of the Labor and Working Class Historical Association. Rebekah Klein-Pejsova was selected as a Fellow for the 14th Annual Summer Institute on the Holocaust and Jewish Civilization, sponsored by the Holocaust Education Foundation. Caroline Janney was appointed as a Distinguished Lecturer for the Organization of American Historians.
  • Excellence in teaching remains the hallmark of the department.  The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching named Michael Morrison (1997) and Randy Roberts (2006) the Indiana Professor of the Year..  Five current faculty members are in Purdue University’s Book of Great Teachers. Four faculty members have received the Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching Award, in the memory of Charles B. Murphy.  Current faculty members have been awarded the College of Liberal Arts Teaching Excellence Award a total of nine times. Three faculty members have been admitted to the University’s Teaching Academy. Five have been awarded Teaching for Tomorrow Grants.
  • The Department of History's Honors Program offers students the opportunity to engage in challenging courses, research, and sustained historical writing. 
  • Purdue has History student organizations such as Phi Alpha Theta and the Purdue History Organizations. 


  • Archives
  • Libraries (reference, catalog, research, or technical librarian)
  • Museums (curator, conservator, educational, or publications specialist)
  • Research institutions
  • Publishing, editing, media
  • Departments of education
  • Foreign service
  • Intelligence services
  • Historic preservation offices
  • Business jobs in training and management
  • Law school
  • Graduate school

Plan of Study

Students must earn a "C-" or better in each History course.

See Plan of Study for list of courses to select from the following sections.

A. At least TWO courses in U.S. History (6)

B. At least TWO courses in European History (6)

C. At least TWO courses in Latin American, Asian, Middle Eastern or African History (6)

D. At least ONE course in a course whose content substantially lies in the period before A.D. 1500

E. At least FOUR courses at the 40000 or 50000 level (excluding 49900) ONE course MUST be HIST 49500.
HIST 59000 may be taken only one time to satisfy Requirement E.

F. Other

HIST 39500

Program Course Requirements (57-58 credits): (See PDF for full list here)

ONE of the following:

ENGL 10600 First Year Composition
ENGL 10800 Accelerated First Year Composition

COM 1140 Fundamentals of Speech Communication
Other Language (12) (Proficiency through level IV in one language)
West Heritage
United States Tradition
Other Cultures
Aesthetic Awareness
Racial and Ethnic Diversity
Gender Issues
Social Ethics
Individual and Society
Global Perspective
Natural Sciences
Natural Sciences Lab

Electives (20-21 credits)

University Core Requirements

Courses selected above must meet the following University Core Requirements:

Human Cultures Humanities
Human Cultures Behavioral/Social Science
Information Literacy
Science Selective
Science Selective
Science Technology Society Selective
Written Communication
Oral Communication
Quantitative Reasoning

For more information, visit http://www.purdue.edu/provost/initiatives/curriculum/course.html

 Print Plan of Study

Print History Honors Plan of Study

Department of History

Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907 (765) 494-4600

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