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The History Major at Catawba College

co-history4.pngIn the study of history, students are encouraged to learn, as Lord Acton describes, "not the art of accumulating material, but the sublimer art of investigating it, of discerning truth from falsehood and certainty from doubt."

As history majors, students seek to place historical aspects — events, ideas, concepts — into the context of the times and values. History majors analyze and interpret aspects to understand culture, politics, and society. As such, history helps students, both majors and non-majors, to critically view and understand the past to better appreciate themselves and their world. In our students, this appreciation is built from practical, hands-on experience at a local level and through intense, relevant coursework.

Catawba College faculty in the History Department seek to help students develop the knowledge, abilities, and values that are central in the study of history and in liberal education to prepare them for success in later life as individuals and as members of a democratic society. In doing so, the department seeks to ensure that students:

  • embrace intellectual curiosity and growth;
  • practice citizenship, service, and civility;
  • develop respect for the intrinsic value of all human beings;
  • and engage in a process of academic reflection during their collegiate career.

In a SURVEY of history alumni from 1995-2006, the department garnered the following high marks:

  • 97%strongly agreed or agreed that department professors were accessible outside of class.
  • 91% strongly agreed or agreed that department professors challenged their own ideas, the ideas of other students, and those presented in readings and other course material.
  • 97% strongly agreed or agreed that "my professors’ expectations for the quality of student work were high."
  • 94% strongly agreed or agreed that their major "was helpful in teaching me to think critically—such as withholding judgment, raising questions, and examining contrary views."
  • 91% strongly agreed or agreed that their major "was helpful in teaching me to think analytically—such as making logical inferences and reaching correct conclusions."
  • 91% strongly agreed or agreed that their major "was helpful in teaching me to think creatively—such as developing new ideas or arguments through written and oral communication."
  • 93.9% strongly agreed or agreed that they have a positive attitude toward their major program.

Here are some written comments from our Catawba College History Alumni as well:

"I was a double major in History and Political Science pre-law. They are two of the best."

"I truly enjoyed my experiences at Catawba studying history. I am glad to see the department encouraging leadership development and study abroad opportunities."


"My experience as a history major at Catawba was relevant and rigorous. The humanities education I received at Catawba was one of the dearest aspects of my study there. To my faculty members: thank you for the high caliber instruction and inspiration you gave. I am a better teacher and continue to be a better student because of my experience in your classrooms. The history department always garners my accolades and recommendation to others."


"My educational experience at Catawba was very positive. It prepared me for further studies at a much larger institution where I pursued a Master’s degree. The professors were always ready to further discuss any topics out of class and to clarify any material. The classes taken as part of my History major often required extensive reading and writing. I later found this emphasis helped me to comfortably complete my post-graduate coursework."


History majors at Catawba receive fundamental knowledge in U.S., Western, and modern history--and have the opportunity to explore upper-level courses in North Carolina History, The American Civil War, WWI, The Renaissance, and many more. As a history major, you will be asked to think critically and independently, to demonstrate strong communication skills, and to accept responsibility for the development of your own educational career. With the combination of global and American history, and through the guidance of the faculty, the department is dedicated to preparing its graduates for useful and productive 21st century careers and, more importantly, lives.