College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences

Bachelor's Degree Programs

History (B.A.)

Minimum hours required for the major: 40, at least 32 of which must be upper-level (300- or 400-level)

Minimum hours required for the minor: 24, at least 16 of which must be upper-level

Student Honor Society: Phi Alpha Theta

Awards: Thomas F. Campbell Scholarship; Leon Soulé Scholarship; Social Studies Scholarship; William I. Shorrock Scholarship; Jeanette E. Tuve Scholarship; Modern European History Prize; Distinguished Graduate Student; Distinguished Baccalaureate Award.

Admission to the Major:
After admission to the university, a student obtains a "Declaration of Major" packet from the History Department in RT 1319 that explains the advising procedures, asks the student for a writing sample, and answers to a few questions.  Once this information has been gathered, the student phones the History Department (687-3920) for an initial advising appointment with the Director of Undergraduate Studies.  The Director will evaluate transfer credits for the major and give the student a copy of the filled out check-sheet.  Following this advising session, students will receive a letter with the name of their individual faculty advisor in the department.

Advising: Director of Undergraduate Studies, Dr. Tom Humphrey 216-523-7183; Individual faculty advisers; Internet Web page,
Students are urged to meet with their assigned faculty advisor at least once every semester.

For Information: Call the Chair or the History Department, 216-687-3920.

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The Program

History is the essential foundation of knowledge. It provides the context for a liberal education, the tools to understand ourselves and our contemporary world, and the skills for an educated person to live a more fulfilled and gratifying life in a wide range of careers. Because of these various functions, we study history for many reasons:

  • to better understand our society and the times in which we live
  • to better understand ourselves
  • to place our own society in historical perspective
  • to balance present-mindedness with historical memory
  • to acquire skills such as conducting research, communicating effectively through writing or oral communication, critical thinking, evaluating evidence, and problem-solving
  • to understand the roles which individuals and groups have played in shaping their worlds
  • for the enjoyment of examining societies very different or very similar to our own

This is possible because history at the university level is far more than a collection of facts, names, and dates. The emphasis is on accessing and analyzing information, the critical use of historical sources, learning to communicate the results, and the excitement which comes from exploring important ideas. To study history is to enter a time machine to explore the far reaches of the human experience — from classical times to the present; from the lives of great thinkers and kings to that of average people; from dramatic moments such as the Civil War to the routine. The past becomes the universe, all corners of which can be explored

The department offers course work in European, U.S., African, Latin-American, Middle Eastern, and East Asian history and thematic foci on social and urban history and the history of the African Diaspora. The major program not only prepares students for teaching and for graduate study in history but many students have found history an appropriate preparatory foundation for careers in law, library science, international work, the foreign service, the ministry, business, government and archival and museum work.

History can be of inestimable value to non-majors. This can be done through the minor, the certificate programs, or by taking appropriate courses. Considering a career in International Relations or Business? Use history courses to deepen your understanding of foreign countries. Majoring in a foreign language? Take courses in history to broaden your appreciation of that culture.

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Major-Field Requirements

Credit hours:
at least 40; at least 32 of which must be upper-level (300- or 400-level)

Survey requirement:
Students are required to complete one of the following survey sequences:

HIS 101-HIS 102
HIS 111-HIS 112
HIS 215-HIS 216

or two of the following courses:

HIS 110
HIS 165
HIS 175
HIS 185

Geographical diversity:
Students are required to divide their 32 upper-level credits among at least four of the following six geographical areas.

  • North America
  • Europe
  • Latin America/Caribbean
  • Asia/Pacific world
  • Africa
  • Middle East

Chronological diversity:
At least two of the student's upper-level credits (8 credit hours) must be in courses dealing with the pre-modern (before nineteenth century) period. These courses may also be used to fulfill the geographical distribution requirement.

Capstone requirement:
Upon reaching at least 24 credit hours in History, students are required to take one capstone research seminar. This course may be either HIS 400: Local History Seminar or HIS 401: Research Seminar (topics to vary by instructor). This course may be used to satisfy the geographical distribution or pre-modern requirement if appropriate (see above).

No course with a grade below C may be counted toward the History major.

Thematic concentration:
As a means of fulfilling the requirements for the major, students are encouraged to consult with their adviser about the possibility of developing a thematic focus (e.g., African Diaspora, Atlantic world).

Transfer students:
Transfer students must complete a minimum of 24 credit hours in history courses taken in the Department of History at CSU in order to major in History.

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History Minor

A minor in History consists of 24 credits in history, of which at least 16 must be earned at the 300 level or above. No more than one course may be taken on an S/U basis. Transfer students must earn at least 16 credits in the Department of History at Cleveland State University in order to complete a minor in History.

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Certificate Program: American Studies

The Certificate in American Studies is an interdisciplinary program administered by the Department of History, and is aimed primarily at students who will be at CSU for only a limited time. The requirements may be completed in one semester. The certificate is intended to provide students with a variety of perspectives on American culture, society, and history and to aid them in their understanding of a varied and complex civilization. To this end, students may choose from a variety of academic fields including history, literature, politics, popular culture, society, and the visual arts.

Students wishing to earn a Certificate in American Studies must complete 15 or 16 credit hours in approved American Studies courses (list available upon request) in at least three disciplines. No more than 8 credits may be taken at the 100/200 level.

Students are urged to consult with the Undergraduate Director or Chair in the Department of History to develop a plan of study.

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Certificate Program: The History of the African Diaspora

The African Diaspora constitutes one of the largest and most consequential migrations in the history of mankind. This forced migration of over 10 million human beings transformed many areas of Africa and the Americas. This certificate program recognizes the significance of this historical process and its enduring importance as the subject of study. Students are called upon to examine the Diaspora in its comparative perspective by focusing on the history of Africa, the United States and Latin America.

Certificate Requirements

Students are required to complete 24 semester credit hours (6 courses) of which at least:

  • 8 semester credit hours (2 courses) must be in African history
  • 4 semester credit hours (1 course) must be in African-American (U.S.) history
  • 4 semester credit hours (1 course) must be in Latin American history
  • 4 semester credit hours (1 course) must be an Independent Study research project involving any two of the three areas

The remaining course is an elective in one of the three areas.

For additional information, contact the Department of History at 216-687-3920.

Also, see Certificate in Central and Eastern European Studies, and Certificate in Latin American Studies.

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Honors Program

The honors program is designed for the History major completing the last two years of study for an undergraduate degree who at the time of application has a 3.00 cumulative GPA and a 3.25 average in history. Application for admission to the program must be made 30 days before the semester in which the applicant wishes to enter.

The successful completion of the requirements for the program leads to a recommendation by the departmental Honors Committee for graduation with honors in History. For further information and application forms, contact the Department of History office, 216-687-3920.

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Evening Program

The requirements for both the major and minor programs also apply to evening students. The History Department makes every effort to schedule courses in such a way as to make it possible for evening students to fulfill these requirements.

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Teaching Licensure

New licensing requirements are being implemented by the Ohio State Board of Education. Students interested in teaching history/social studies at the high-school level in the state of Ohio must complete the requirements for both the Bachelor of Arts in Social Studies and the Adolescent and Young Adult Teaching License in Integrated Social Studies (offered through the College of Education and Human Services). For further information, contact Dr. Tom Humphrey in the Department of History, 216-523-7183. To clarify licensing requirements during this period of transition, contact the College of Education and Human Services at 216-687-4625.

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