History at Alma combines practical experience with global understanding, producing graduates with a unique understanding of the complexity of factors that affect human behavior in historical context.
The study of history provides a historical perspective, which contributes uniquely to an understanding of the complexity of factors—economic (E), social (S), political (P), intellectual (I) and technological (T) - that affect human behavior as well as the historical interpretation (H), which explains that behavior. Course offerings in history vary in emphasis. Students may identify central course themes by noting the explanatory caption (e.g., ESPI). All courses that satisfy the general education requirement focus on the principal economic, social, technological, political and intellectual problems in particular historical eras.
All courses require students to analyze historical factors and to communicate the results of such analysis in oral and written forms. History is appropriate for careers in law, journalism, industrial management, banking, civil service, library and museum management, ministry, politics and teaching.
Many history students take advantage of the exceptional off-campus opportunities. Each year several participate in the Posey Global Fellows Program for support of international internships. We also offer a variety of specially funded summer internships, such as the Kinney Scholarship to support study of a Bill of Rights-related issue.
Since we historically have been a department that trains many future attorneys, we offer courses in both U.S. and continental legal traditions. To assure the quality of these offerings, our U.S. legal history courses are taught by a professor with both a Ph.D. and J.D. from one the nation’s best law programs.
History Spring Term classes are exceptional, taking full advantage of Alma’s one-month semester when students take only one course. Professor Liping Bu has offered a Spring Term class trip to China. Professor Furlong has taken classes to London for research in the British archives on World War II. And Professor Lorenz has taken Comparative Public Policy classes to Mexico. Students also have the option of spending an entire semester abroad at a partnering university across the globe.
Virtually all history courses at Alma emphasize a multinational or global perspective—noted by the caption (GP). The commitment to a global perspective is a special feature of the study of history at Alma and has influenced our decision to staff our program with faculty trained in some of the best institutions in the world. While all our faculty hold one or more degrees from premier U.S. institutions, three of five full-time faculty also have a degree from a university outside the U.S. (Beijing University, University of Cape Town, and the University of Toronto).
Commitment To Our Students
Through the generosity of our history alumni, we also offer special awards and unique support for graduate education (for study after Alma). Alma juniors can apply for the Mitchell and Jean Fox Abruzzino Awards that recognize excellence and provide additional financial support for study in the last year at Alma. In the senior year, we award approximately $25,000 annually through the M.J.J. Smith Fellowships for graduate or professional school tuition. Virtually no college or university offers such support for students to attend graduate school, and the award reflects the historic commitment of our program to support our majors.