Minor in History

The History Department plays a vital role in the university’s undergraduate and graduate educational programs. Its offerings afford students a critical component of a liberal arts education by providing a historically informed perspective on the contemporary world and the challenges that it faces. Undergraduate courses at all levels enable students to fulfill general education, constitution, humanities, multicultural, and international requirements. Four-hundred level courses are designed primarily for majors and prepare them for a broad array of vocational opportunities and for graduate and professional education. The department also provides graduate programs at both the master’s and doctoral level and prepares students for a variety of public history and teaching positions. The department’s broader objectives include (1) transmitting the accumulated knowledge of the human past through formal teaching by tenured and tenure-track faculty at all levels of the curriculum; (2) generating and disseminating new knowledge of the past through innovative research; (3) training students in the skills of research, critical analysis, and effective communication; (4) contributing fundamentally to the University’s efforts to promote understanding of global, multicultural, and international issues; and (5) providing services to the local community as part of a robust relationship based on interdependence and reciprocity.

In its efforts to attain these objectives, the department embraces a series of values at the core of its activity. It shares with the larger institution a commitment to UNLV’s status as “a research institution”; to the “highest standards of a liberal education”; and to the development of the region and the state, as well as to national and international communities. The department likewise espouses the undergraduate learning outcomes specified in proposals for the reform of general education in 2010-11: intellectual breadth, life-long learning, inquiry and critical thinking, effective communication, ethics and citizenship, and global and multi-cultural awareness. The department also shares with institutions such as the Brookings Mountain West an aspiration to engage business, political, and community leaders from across the entire Mountain region to promote the development of Las Vegas and the region in robust, inclusive, and sustainable ways. Beyond these shared goals, the department is committed to having its regular faculty teach at all levels of the curriculum. It aspires to attain recognition for its accomplishments regionally, nationally, and internationally. The faculty strives to make core service contributions to the historical profession through editing, peer review, committee work, and translation. The department promotes engaged forms of learning at all levels, with an emphasis on the process and practice of historical inquiry, intellectual rigor, and imagination. In all instances, the department evaluates its success in terms of the impact that it has on students, colleagues, institutions, and fellow citizens. And at a most basic level, the department regards a cultivated historical consciousness as being crucial to the cultural health of Nevada and to an informed understanding of the problems and challenges facing the present world.

History faculty continues to be productive in their scholarship and recognized for their teaching and service accomplishments. Since 2001 they have published more than twenty-five monographs with leading university publishers such as California, Columbia, Cornell, Edinburgh, Illinois, Kansas, Louisiana State, North Carolina, and Oxford, as well as articles in some of the most prominent journals in the world: the Journal of Modern History, Journal of American History, Diplomatic History, Victorian Studies, Environmental History, Chaucer Review, Law and History Review, Journal of Turkish Studies, Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, and Women’s History Review. They have published extensively in foreign countries, including China, Estonia, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, Turkey, and the United Kingdom — both in English and in foreign languages. They have won highly competitive national and international fellowships and awards from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the American Historical Association, the Huntington Library, the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), the Newberry Library, the Institute of American Cultures (UCLA), the US Department of Education, the Ford Foundation, the National Humanities Center, the Kagi Foundation, and the Slavic Research Center in Sapporo (Japan). History faculty members have been invited to give presentations at some of the leading universities in the US — including Michigan, Berkeley, UCLA, Stanford, Harvard, Penn, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Illinois, Virginia, NYU, Notre Dame, and Northwestern — as well as universities and venues in Ankara, Cambridge, Istanbul, Lyon, Munich, Münster, Oxford, Paris, Toronto, Venice, and Warsaw. Faculty members have made central service contributions through the writing of textbooks and the editing of encyclopedias (published by Norton, Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford, Routledge, Macmillan, and others); participating in teachers’ institutes; appearing on television programs with historical content; through peer evaluations for the NEH and similar foundations, journals, and publishers. Two faculty members meanwhile serve as editors for the leading journals in their respective fields, and many have provided advice or consultation to entities such as the Chicago Historical Society, the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, the Getty Museum, the American Institute of History Education, the California African-American History Museum, the Mystic Seaport-Museum of America and the Sea, and — our biggest coup — Pawn Stars. These and other achievements have also gained recognition within the Nevada System of Higher Education (NSHE) and UNLV, where in the last ten years department faculty have received at least twenty awards for research, service, and teaching & advising at the levels of the state, university, and college. In the best traditions of these past achievements, the History Department is determined to maintain its reputation as one UNLV’s best and most visible departments.

Learning Objectives

Purpose and Focus

The History Department seeks first to provide students with a broad knowledge of the human past and experience and the appreciation of diverse cultures crucial in a smaller and smaller world. A degree in history also provides students with the skills necessary for success in a wide range of careers and professions ranging from business to law, social services, and education. These skills include training in the collection, analysis, and evaluation of information; critical thinking; clarity of expression orally and in writing; and the ability to make independent judgments. Finally, the department seeks to train majors in the specific skills and knowledge necessary for public school teaching and for graduate study in history or in professional schools.

Degree Objectives/Learning Outcomes

Students completing the baccalaureate program will:

  • Demonstrate a broad knowledge of the development of the West from antiquity to the present.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of two of the four geographical areas including United States, Latin America, Europe and Asia.
  • Demonstrate an awareness of the changing nature of historical interpretation and the ability to make independent judgments about conflicting historical interpretations.
  • Demonstrate training in the collection, analysis and evaluation of historical information.
  • Demonstrate training in critical thinking and the ability to construct a cogent argument on the basis of historical information.
  • Demonstrate training in clarity of expression orally and in writing.

Career Possibilities

A degree in history provides students with the skills necessary for success in a wide range of careers and professions ranging from business to law, social services, and education. The department seeks to train majors in the specific skills and knowledge necessary for public school teaching and for graduate student in history or in professional schools. For more information about specific careers and job openings, the UNLV History Department encourages its students to refer to the American Historical Association’s Guide to Careers in History.