Department of History
Bonnie and Ed, Journal of American History Editorial Assistants

Pictured above are Ph.D. student Bonnie Laughlin Schultz and Journal of American History editor Ed Linenthal.

IU’s history students take advantage of a supportive but challenging learning environment.  Graduate students benefit from a range of learning and working opportunities, including Teaching College History seminars, an annual graduate conference, and a number of teaching and editorial positions.  The department graduates about a dozen Ph.Ds per year, as well as a smaller number of joint-MA/MLS students.  Our 400 undergraduate majors benefit from face-to-face interaction with faculty who have won numerous teaching awards, and who continue to create some of the most popular courses on campus, including those on the Holocaust, popular music, The Black Death, and Vietnam.

Eric Sandweiss

Eric Sandweiss

"History?  What are you going to do with that?"

You’ve found your way to this webpage — which suggests to me that

a) someone has asked you that question,

b) you're considering what you'll say if they do, or

c) you think it's time you asked it of someone else. 

With its basic focus on human actions across time, history has long served the American university’s mission of producing informed citizens.  Today, like all of the liberal arts disciplines, ours faces skeptical queries from students and their parents.  

"How," they want to know how, "does studying the past help us face the future?"

The Indiana University Department of History welcomes the question.  In fact, seeking its answers has been central to what we do since our founding in a Maxwell Hall seminar room in 1895. 

Today, 120 years later, IU history students work in a department whose graduate programs rank among the 10 best at American public universities.  They practice the craft of writing and editing with the editors of a half-dozen influential journals, including the American Historical Review and Journal of American History.  They gain inspiration from classroom innovators who helped to found the International Society for the Study of Teaching and Learning in History.  They study with distinguished, award-winning scholars.  Through their internships, they bring new skills to bear on real-world challenges.

And when they’re done, they continue to succeed.  Our undergraduates go on to attend top graduate schools of law, business, education, policy, and arts and sciences.  (Like other liberal arts majors, they actually enjoy greater lifetime earning power than do students who leave college with a professional degree in hand.)  Our postgraduates become professors, editors, public officials, archivists, curators. 

In short, there’s plenty that you can do with that.

But "IU History" also offers something more than professional opportunity.  To find it, consider the promise that lies within the two halves of the phrase:

IU:  An international university offering unmatched professional and scholarly resources to its students at a fraction of the cost of comparable private institutions. 

:  The questions, resources, and skills that provide critical perspective on the problems of our time;  essential communication and leadership skills;  and a chance to develop the compassion and empathy that are fundamental to a good life.

Have you considered that promise?  If so, then I hope you’ll peruse our website with a new version of my opening question in mind: 

"History?  What are you going do without that?"

Eric Sandweiss
Department Chair


For more information, visit these links:
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