Aug 07, 2020  
2010-2011 General/Graduate Catalog - Expires August 2016 
2010-2011 General/Graduate Catalog - Expires August 2016 [Archived Catalog]

History (BA)

Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: Schools & Departments

Affiliation: School of Social & Cultural Studies
Degrees Offered: Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science
Minor Offered: History

The discipline of history as it is practiced today, with its emphasis on meticulous research and dispassionate interpretation of the events of the past, has claimed a central role in the modern liberal arts curriculum since the Mid-nineteenth Century. Perhaps immodestly but justifiably, historians see themselves as the benefactors of as well as the debtors to virtually all the other liberal arts and sciences. The working historian draws continuously upon the content and methodologies of other disciplines, while contributing critical dimensions of depth and cosmopolitanism to other scholars’ understandings of their own disciplines by recalling and illuminating the political, economic, and social contexts in which those disciplines and their subjects of study evolved.

At the undergraduate level, history serves much the same function. Historians do not predict the future, but they do help to explicate the present by focusing on the choices that individuals and societies have made as they faced the exigencies of the past; the “winning” choices that carried our human universe to where it is today as well as the “losing” choices – the roads not taken. The undergraduate should carry a familiarity with the history of his/her own and other societies to his/her study of the arts and sciences and to his/her role as a responsible, knowledgeable, active citizen of the cosmopolis.

Besides fostering tolerance, informed civic responsibility, and an attitude of celebration toward the social and aesthetic richness of cultural pluralism, the study of history should aid the undergraduate in developing skills of meticulous research, critical thinking, and lucid, graceful, effective expository writing.

The undergraduate who majors in history at Truman must gain familiarity with the history of the United States, Europe, and at least one other area of the world. All majors will fulfill three core requirements: a foundational course (Introduction to History and Historiography); a research-oriented course; and a senior seminar. In addition to these nine hours of required courses, majors will complete 24 hours of electives for a total of 33 hours.

The required one-semester course, Introduction to History and Historiography, acquaints students with the research methods underlying historical investigation, the different ways historians choose and investigate their subjects, and several of the major issues and debates in European and American history and in the history of other parts of the world. Students will develop skills vital to informed citizenship and effective leadership in a democracy.

The requirement that each major must take a research-oriented course, chosen from among the several to be offered each year, is designed to give students the opportunity to complete original historical research involving the use of primary source materials. Students will sharpen the fundamental skills of historical research to which they were introduced in Introduction to History and Historiography. They will identify a research problem, locate sources, evaluate their usefulness, and turn their research findings into a written analysis, structured according to the accepted practices of the American historical profession.

Each major is also required to take a senior seminar, chosen from among the several to be offered each year. The senior seminar is a capstone experience aimed at drawing on insights from the student’s previous courses and applying those insights to the production of independent research and presentations.

In addition to the 9 hours of required courses, the major elects 24 hours of courses numbered 300 or above, distributed among the history of the United States, the history of Europe, and the history of other areas of the world (such as Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East). At least 6 hours of courses must be taken in each of these three areas, and 9 hours of courses must be taken in one of these areas. One elective must also be chosen in a period of history before the year 1750 (with no restriction as to area of the world chosen). This distribution of courses insures that the student has a broad grounding in world history. 


Overall GPA of 3.00 or higher.

Earn a preponderance of As and no more than one C in history courses.

Applicants must submit a sample of their historical writing at least 15 pages in length (excluding notes and bibliography) that conforms to the Chicago Manual of Style, is free of grammatical errors, provides complete references for all primary and secondary sources, and is printed on a letter-quality printer. The essay should clearly demonstrate the student’s ability to write clear, coherent prose, draw conclusions based on primary sources, and do historiographical research. This paper should have been completed in a history course taken at Truman under the direction of a Truman instructor, and the applicant should consult with the project supervisor and academic advisor before submitting a paper to the Honors Committee. The Honors Committee of three faculty members will consider the applicants’ writing samples, and those whose papers meet the above standards will be recommended for Departmental Honors in History to the history faculty. The history faculty will make the final decision.


Liberal Studies Program Requirements: 31-57 Credit Hours

Missouri Statute Requirement: 1-3 Credit Hours

Bachelor of Arts Requirement: 0-6 Credit Hours

  • Intermediate proficiency in ONE foreign language


The History BA major consists of two (2) parts: Required Support and Major Requirements. Each student must complete both parts.

Part I: Required Support: 15 Credit Hours

  • Choose Option I or Option II:

Option I

as approved by advisor:

  • Elective in economics: 3 Credit Hours
  • Elective in geography: 3 Credit Hours
  • Elective in sociology, anthropology, or psychology: 3 Credit Hours

Option II

  • 15 hours in ONE other discipline,as approved by advisor: 15 Credit Hours

Part II: Major Requirements: 36 Credit Hours

  • HIST research-oriented course:**3 Credit Hours
  • Electives in history:***24 Credit Hours

Electives to Total: 120 Credit Hours


*History majors must take HIST 201 & HIST 202 before completing six hours of 300 level or above course work in history.

**Students may not enroll in a research designated course before taking HIST 201 & HIST 202. Courses numbered 300 or above that provide the opportunity to fulfill the research requirement will be designated on TruView each semester.

***Electives in history, as approved by advisor, 300 level or above, totaling 24 hours, distributed among the history of the United States, Europe, and other areas of the world (such as Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East), with at least 6 hours in each of these areas, 9 hours in one of these areas, and 3 hours in pre-1750 history (with no restriction as to area of the world chosen).

Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: Schools & Departments