The study of History has had a prominent place at the University of North Carolina since the University’s founding. Of course, meditating about the meaning of the past has been a fundamental feature of human societies for millennia and has been an essential component of education for at least a millennium.
We, who live in the twenty-first century, can discover in the study of history an exciting, open-ended path to knowledge about our predecessors, our shared and unique pasts, and our own time. Historical insights and perspectives offer an understanding of complex influences on our lives as well as the events and conflicts of the contemporary world. History encourages reflection on every kind of human activity because everything that people do has a history.
The History major at UNC-Chapel Hill provides a strong foundation for careers in law, journalism, education, business, public service, museums, and international commerce. Our alumni have gone on to distinguished careers in all of these areas (and others) because historical education helps students hone skills that are valuable in every profession: the ability to analyze conflicting information and viewpoints, write clearly and communicate complex ideas, find reliable evidence for judgments about human actions and motives, and place particular events in a wider context or historical pattern.
The History Department thus seeks to prepare students for future careers, for the responsibilities of citizenship in a democratic society, and for the challenging ambiguities that everyone encounters in their relations with others—no matter what they do or where they travel in the world. Our courses encourage a comparative, analytical approach to diverse cultures, historical eras, social conflicts, influential ideas, and unique human experiences.
I invite you to explore the links on this web site for information about the Department’s undergraduate and graduate programs. You may also contact individual faculty members if you have questions about specific fields in our curriculum or specific areas of historical research. We welcome communication with anyone who wants to participate in the on-going processes of historical inquiry and conversation.