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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.


Through the generosity of our alumni, we offer special awards that provide unique financial support to our outstanding history majors.

In the junior year, Alma history majors can apply for the Jean Fox Abruzzino Award, which recognizes academic excellence and provides additional financial support for study in the last year at Alma. 

In the senior year, history honors majors may apply for the James C. Mitchell and the M.J.J. Smith Fellowships. Each scholarship offers up to $25,000 toward 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.

Practical Experience

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.

Legal History

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. 

Classes Abroad

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 Spring Term class trips to China to study Chinese history, culture and society. 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.

Global Perspective

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, two of five full-time faculty also have a degree from a university outside the U.S. (Beijing University and University of Cape Town).