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What is history and how does it integrate with your wider academic and career goals? In 1931, Carl Becker told the American Historical Association that the study of history enables a society to judge "what it is doing in the light of what it has done and what it hopes to do."

Sixty years later, William McNeil told the same body: "Historical knowledge is no more and no less than carefully and critically constructed collective memory.... [T]he changing perspectives of historical understanding are the very best introduction we can have to the practical problems of real life." And, in the 21st century, Peter Stearns' answer to the question was: "Because we virtually must, to gain access to the laboratory of human experience."

Analyzing past events, traditions, and experiences strengthens your understanding of society, culture, and politics; gives you ways of comparing human cultures; and affords opportunities for informed reflection and writing.

The Department of History at EIU offers over 60 courses, ranging from sweeping surveys of long periods to tightly focused seminars on specific topics and countries. Core courses provide grounding in American and World History as well as the tools to research, write, and present focused subjects. Core and elective history courses provide ample opportunity to develop and hone writing skills. The ability to gather and analyze information is essential to almost every professional pursuit. History majors learn to read and to think critically, and to synthesize their research into understandable English.

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