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Maxwell School
Maxwell / Department of History

Letter from the Undergraduate Director

Dear Students:

Welcome to undergraduate studies in the History Department of Syracuse University! Thank you for your interest in our department and all it has to offer.  

Our dynamic scholarly community includes 24 current and 10 emeriti faculty, who specialize in the history of the United States, Europe, Africa, the Middle East, South Asia, and Latin America.  Faculty teaching covers all periods of history, from ancient to contemporary. In addition to chronological and regional specializations, faculty members focus on diverse subjects, including political, social and cultural history - with particular interests in religious, legal, intellectual, women’s, and comparative histories, as well as the history of gender and sexuality, race and ethnicity, violence, disease, globalization and family. We are passionate about teaching and take great pride in being an excellent teaching department. Four of our current faculty have won the Meredith Award for excellence in teaching!  

Are you considering majoring or minoring in history? A history major provides fantastic training for many diverse careers, from law and international relations to journalism, non-profit work, and business. The unique opportunities we offer our undergraduate majors, from publishing articles in, and developing a website for Chronos, our undergraduate history journal, to completing senior capstone research projects prepare our majors well for all kinds of jobs that require excellence in critical thinking, research and writing. We are happy to say that there are approximately 150 history majors, whose academic programs range from Engineering, Newhouse, and the Visual and Performing Arts, to the College of Arts and Sciences and the Maxwell Program in Citizenship and Civic Engagement. With the skills they learn by studying history, our alumni go on to careers in many fields.  

The major introduces students to history with both breadth and depth. Majors must take ten courses, including seven at the upper division level (300 and above).  Each student concentrates in the history of a specific area (U.S., European, or Global  history) and takes at least five courses within this concentration, as well as at least one course from each of the other two areas of concentration. All majors take History 401, the senior research seminar. Students matriculated from Fall 2016 are also required to take History 301, a seminar that introduces students to the goals, methods, and skills related to individual historical research. Majors are also required to develop breath in historical knowledge by taking 2 courses in each major chronological period, pre-modern and modern. The best students may pursue a BA with Distinction in History, which requires a two-course independent study structured around a specific topic and a senior thesis.  

We also offer a minor in history, which requires six courses. Minors take at least four courses in their concentration and at least one course outside it. More information about both majors and minors can be found on the undergraduate requirements page on our website.  

We look forward to having you in our classes and hope you will consider becoming a major or minor. We are always welcoming excited students who are passionate about history. We provide opportunities for service and engagement beyond the classroom, from participating in Phi Alpha Theta (PAT), a history honor society, to editing Chronos, to joining us for lunches and award ceremonies! If you have any questions, stop by our office at 145 Eggers Hall, or schedule an appointment with me to discuss opportunities. And if you are dead set on declaring a history major or minor, fill out the required academic forms and come see me right away!  

Sincerely,  

Junko Therese Takeda

Director of Undergraduate Studies