In a society too often characterized by uncritical worship of the new, whether it be a new technology or the latest in intellectual fashions, the study of history both connects us to the human experience that has preceded us and shows how that experience has value, interest, power, urgency, and usefulness. Organized to reflect and demonstrate the idea that history matters, History department offerings are designed to help students learn to interpret their world (present as well as past) and to help them gain an appreciation for the fullness of human experience. History courses emphasize a grasp of themes and contexts' the experience of people in the past rather than rote and tedious memorization. They also focus on helping students learn to write clearly and critically about primary sources as well as more complex historical issues.
Most history courses are divided among three geographically distinct fields of concentration: American history, European history, and the history of Asia and the Middle East. History majors will choose to concentrate in one of these areas, while being required to take a minimum number of credits in each of the other fields. As a result, students majoring in history will gain a working knowledge of world history, as well as in-depth knowledge of one of the worlds major geographical areas.