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The history program at SUNY Plattsburgh aims to promote the research, writing, and critical thinking skills students need in order to succeed in both public and private life. Rooted in the liberal arts, our curriculum prepares students for careers in diverse areas such as law, journalism, government, and business, as well as more traditional work in archives and historical societies. By fostering strong writing and analytical skills, the history major is an excellent preparation for graduate or advanced study in many areas.
The history program offers two tracks of preparation for its almost 200 majors and numerous minors: a traditional liberal arts curriculum and a study option in teaching secondary social studies. Majors begin by taking survey courses in U.S., Western, and non-Western history. They then take at least five upper-division courses on historical themes that reflect different faculty members’ expertise. These include:
History majors also complete a junior seminar and a senior project that gives them the chance to conduct original historical research and examine historical interpretations in a critical light.
Students may also elect to pursue a degree in history with a study option in teaching secondary social studies, a double major offered in conjunction with the secondary education program. In addition to their history courses, these students are introduced to a variety of disciplines associated with the study of history, such as geography, government, and anthropology. Geared towards preparing prospective teachers, the program gives students a chance to study the theory and practice of history through a sophomore and junior seminar. As part of their double major, students also complete the requirements for teacher certification in the social studies secondary education program.
In addition to offering major and minor programs in history, the History Department also contributes to many multidisciplinary programs across campus, such as Gender and Women's Studies, Canadian Studies, Asian Studies, Latin American Studies and Museum Studies.
Students also have the opportunity to become involved with our student-run History Association, and to participate in unique programs like the Model Organization of American States. They also have the opportunity to take a variety of mini-courses featuring prominent guest faculty from throughout the U.S. and Canada. Sponsored by the McLellan Foundation, these courses feature local historical themes.
For more information about the history program at SUNY Plattsburgh, please contact
Wendy Gordon, Chair
Office: Champlain Valley Hall 220
Phone: (518) 564-2213
Fax: (518) 564-2212