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History at dordt

Be challenged. Be changed.


Do you love stories and wish you could study everything? Major in history at Dordt, and you’ll learn how people’s stories and decisions shape culture and values.

At Dordt, you’ll find that history is more than just names and dates. Dordt’s history faculty will show you a new, exciting approach to history: Immerse yourself in a time period through a historical simulation, discuss how history impacts current events, get your professor’s take on a historical event, and more.

The history curriculum begins with an introductory Western Culture and Worldviews course and continues with a range of survey courses on Latin American, American, European, Muslim, and Far Eastern societies and cultures. Courses span from ancient to contemporary history. You'll select upper-level studies in American and European history, such as U.S. Civil War and Reconstruction or the Modern Middle East. Many courses also offer cross-disciplinary connections with other programs.

After graduating with a major in history, you’ll be ready for a variety of career paths including public policy, law enforcement, public relations, and museum studies.

Program Options

  • General: Get a strong general foundation in world history throughout the ages and learn about a historian's task and responsibilities.
  • Museum Studies: This emphasis will give you the skills needed for museum work. You will receive a solid historical foundation and gain skills in business administration, communication, and political science.
Other opportunities in History
  • History education: As a secondary education major you can get a teaching endorsement in history.
  • Pre-law program: this track can help you meet the requirements of the law school you'll attend.
  • A variety of study-abroad programs allow you to experience life and culture in Russia, Egypt, Latin America, Europe, and more.
Experiential Learning
  • Simulations: Dordt is among a handful of colleges in the "Reacting to the Past" Consortium led by Barnard College of Columbia University. Students in these courses participate in historical simulations based on actual events. "It's easier to learn the material when it's important to me," said one student after a French Revolution simulation. "It was important because I was fighting for a cause." These simulations encourage students to go beyond the dates and figures and look at the motives and worldviews behind these events. The Chronicle of Higher Education has spotlighted the Dordt history department's efforts in this area, featuring comments from history professor Dr. Paul Fessler and student Nate Gibson.
  • Staff Ride: While studying the U.S. Civil War and Reconstruction, students take a staff ride to battlefields in Wilson's Creek, Missouri, and Pea Ridge, Arkansas. Students experience history firsthand as they conduct extensive research and become an expert on one or two people in the battle. At the battlefields, they use this knowledge to analyze the motivations and implications of the events.
  • Mini Model Arab League: Dividing into teams representing key countries in the Middle East, students research their country's perspective on important issues such as nuclear weapons, foreign relations, and environmental concerns. Mirroring the real Arab League, students write and debate resolutions in committee sessions. Then, the whole class meets to push through the legislation that would most benefit their chosen country.

As a history graduate you can go on to graduate school or pursue careers such as teaching history or serving in a museum.


Learn More

Check out our program strengths and get to know our facilities.

Dr. Walker Cosgrove

Dr. Walker Cosgrove
Professor of History

CL 1121
(712) 722-6256

Dr. Scott Culpepper

Dr. Scott Culpepper
Professor of History

CL 1125
(712) 722-6327

Dr. Paul Fessler

Dr. Paul Fessler
Professor of History
Department Chair

CL 1122
(712) 722-6254

Dr. Mark McCarthy

Dr. Mark McCarthy
Professor of History

CL 1123
(712) 722-6295