Learning about what came before is critical to navigating what comes next. That’s why studying history is so important – and so much more than just memorizing names and dates.

As a history student, you will gain the ability to:

  • Succeed in the contemporary workplace

In the process of studying history, you’ll develop useful skills – like research, critical thinking, identifying and explaining trends, considering multiple points of view, and presenting information orally and in writing – that are in high demand by many employers.

  • Understand people and societies – and yourself

History is the study of human behavior, institutions, and cultures. Learning about people in past contexts leads to insights about diverse cultures’ similarities and differences. History explores different times and places, and by facing the foreign and strange, historians cannot help but examine themselves.

  • Explain change and continuity, cause and effect

Historians study people in context and examine how and why events happen. Understanding the many causes of change and continuity leads to an appreciation of personal motives, social processes, irrationality, unintended consequences, and accident. It helps us understand history not as singular events, but as an interconnected and ongoing sequence.

  • Develop moral understanding and judgment

By exploring stories of heroes and villains, of wisdom and foolishness, of good choices and bad, historians learn to balance empathy with judgment.

  • Participate as an active citizen

History sketches the development of national values, institutions, and problems. And in studying international relations and developing comparative perspectives, historians gain insight into current issues and how policy decisions impact politics, economics, culture, the environment, and beyond.

John Hendricks '74

BA History

Hendricks is the founder of Discovery Communications, the world’s largest nonfiction media company and owner of numerous television networks, including Discovery Channel, TLC, and Animal Planet.

Why UAH?

UAH’s Department of History combines the scholarly expertise of a research university with the educational environment of a small liberal arts college.

Here are some of the many reasons why students from all over the country – and the world – choose to study history here at UAH:

  • Our professors are committed teachers

All of our classes, including freshman surveys, are taught by full-time faculty members and dedicated lecturers. While each faculty member might have a different style of teaching – some deliver lectures while others moderate discussions, for example – they all believe that students learn best through intensive reading, writing, and analysis of sources. More important, they provide the tools and the personal attention for them to do so.

  • Our professors are published scholars

Because UAH is a research university, faculty members are required to publish in their field to earn tenure. Our history professors are no different. As published scholars who have won awards and grants from institutes and professional associations, they offer both a thorough understanding of the old and a commitment to staying on top of the new when it comes to historical scholarship.

  • Our class sizes are small

History students at UAH will not lead anonymous academic careers in huge classes or cavernous lecture halls. Freshman classes are limited to 40 students and upper-level classes have 10-25 members. Graduate seminars have 6-10 students normally.

  • Our curriculum fosters growth

Our students start with general surveys and proceed to specialized electives, with every course designed to build skills in investigating problems and crafting narratives. A required course in historical methods builds expertise in finding, evaluating, understanding, and writing charitably and critically about historical sources. The capstone history seminar allows seniors to write a lengthy research paper based on primary sources.

  • Our graduate curriculum has multiple tracks to meet your needs

We offer a Master of Arts in history for those who want to pursue an advanced degree in history; students can get a head start through UAH’s Joint Undergraduate Master’s Program (JUMP). UAH’s Fifth-Year Program, meanwhile, combines a master’s degree and a Class A certificate for graduates who plan to teach high school history in Alabama. Finally, we offer a graduate certificate in Comparative Cultures and Conflicts for those seeking additional knowledge in world cultures.

  • We’re here to help you succeed

From our numerous scholarships to our multimedia equipment to our online resources, we offer the assistance you need to excel both in the classroom and beyond.


cropped shiloh trip 2023

"I have been on multiple Civil War staff rides, including Chickamauga and Gettysburg, but the History Department's field trip to Shiloh National Military Park was the most educational visit I've been on in many years!" - Kris Beasley (M.A. History Student) 

Photo Credit UAH History Department

Want to know more?

These links will give you further insight into why studying history is so important and where a degree in history can take you.