The craft of history interprets the past. History examines the lives of people, the consequences of ideas, and the products of human ingenuity. Historians engage in deep inquiry and persuasive debate. They craft narratives about the past based in evidence. The skills students gain through the study of history allow them to analyze and interpret evidence and evaluate how human societies change over time.

Choose from a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) or Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in history, or a minor in history or history of science, or select history as a teachable minor. Careful training in research, writing, critical reading, and interpretation makes history graduates attractive to a wide number of employers who value those abilities, especially in fields of law, library and museum work, finance, journalism, and public administration. Students also study history to advance their own liberal education and to train their minds.


Or, choose the major in Group Social Studies that is designed for students seeking teacher certification in secondary, middle, or elementary school.


The Department of History is a unit of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.




GVSU Social Studies Alum Thomn Bell

"I would not be the scholar, educator, or professional I am today without the support and challenge of the amazing faculty teaching in the history program.  They have inspired my career as a disruptor of inequity and provided me with the skills necessary to be a critical educator.  The coursework assisted in being able to be successful in all stages of my professional career, whether it was during my time with the Michigan Department of Education as a Higher Education Consultant, as a Director of Accreditation and Assistant Professor at Madonna University, or now as the Director of the Center for Educator Preparation and Chair of the Education Unit at the University of Michigan-Flint.  In addition to my professional career, I have found the skills and knowledge learned in this program to be helpful throughout my academic career, especially as I work on completing my PhD in which I am researching the impact of whiteness on pre-service educators,"-Thomn Bell

Ben Witt, GVSU History '02

“I have had a career in public service that began in federal law enforcement and I am now working in higher education. Through it all, my history degree from GVSU has helped me to better understand how to connect lots of different information and stakeholders to be a more productive, capable team member. I credit the amazing faculty in our history department for helping me to always have a better sense of place.” – Ben Witt, ’02

Development Officer, College of Business
California State University, Chico

Tara Stetler, GVSU History '16

"Two days after I graduated in December 2016 with my history degree from Grand Valley, I shipped out to Air Force Basic Military Training. Now, I work as a photojournalist at Scott Air Force Base, Ill. My history background has helped me to succeed in journalism by strengthening both my writing and research-gathering skills," -Tara Stetler '16

Scott St. Louis, GVSU History Alum

"Becoming a history major at Grand Valley State University was the best decision I made for my undergraduate education. The years I spent working closely with the department’s highly knowledgeable and accessible faculty have made my future more promising, my worldview more nuanced, and my bookshelf more crowded! I wouldn’t trade those years for anything. Liberal education is a personally transformative experience in so many ways, and the history major is a perfect opportunity for rising to the challenge of becoming a serious thinker, a productive worker, a capable leader, and an active community member." -Scott St. Louis 

GVSU History Alumna Dr. Erika Edwards, Professor at UNC-Charlotte

Watch her talk given for the GVSU Latin American and Latina/o Studies Program and History Department, October 1, 2020

GVSU History Alumna Hillery York Curator at the Smithsonian

Watch as Hillery explains her work at the Smithsonian Museum in Washington, DC.

GVSU History Alum Eric Baumgarten

GVSU History Alum-in-Residence and Lead Buyer for GE Aviation Eric Baumgarten speaks about the value of a History degree in the Business world, October 2019

Upcoming Events and Opportunities

Study Abroad Namibia Info Sessions

GVNext: History Department News

Paul Murphy

GVSU expert: With U.S. facing unique stress point, history shows how America emerged stronger after dark times

The current crisis is likely another critical turning point for the country, said Paul Murphy, professor of history.

Jan 11, 2021

Headshot Dani Willcutt

Now doctoral student, GVSU graduate will give presentation for Kutsche Office of Local History

GVSU graduate Dani Willcutt took a winding path to a doctoral degree program at Michigan State University that merges her two passions -- history and food.

Nov 3, 2020

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