“The course offerings in the department were AMAZING! The social studies faculty helping me with my secondary education major as well were brilliant historians and esteemed educators. The communication from the department with students was top notch.”

Social Studies grad, '17

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 to teach in high schools or middle schools. Students study a variety of academic fields including History, Geography, Political Science, and Economics. Students acquire a strong background to engage their classrooms with vibrant content. Students have historically had great success in landing jobs in classrooms in Michigan, but also across the United States, particularly in Texas and Utah. A significant number of alumni have gone into educational administration, graduate school, and a wide variety of other professions. Social studies students can choose from a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) or Bachelor of Science (B.S). We also support the Pedagogical Content Knowledge for Elementary Teaching major designed for students seeking teacher certification in elementary education.

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

History Scholarships

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Benefits students regularly enrolled in any history course.

This fund is for History or Social Studies students studying abroad.

Benefits deserving junior or senior history majors.

Supports students majoring in history and group social studies.

The Public History badge allows students to enhance their degree program through place-based and community engaged projects drawing on current practices and methodologies.

The Certificate in Medical and Health Humanities allows students to broaden their understanding of medicine and health by incorporating the diverse perspectives of a variety of disciplines in the liberal arts and sciences. 

Outstanding Alumni and Students

94% of GVSU alumni respondents rated their academic experience in the History and Social Studies majors as excellent or good.

Meghan Forest, History '17 Spotlight

Meghan Forest, History '17

Archives and Curatorial Assistant, The Biltmore Company

Anita Anthony-VanOrsdal, History '06 Spotlight

Anita Anthony-VanOrsdal, History '06

Overseas Collegiate Faculty Associate Professor for the University of Maryland Global Campus, South Korea

Kelly Krepps, History '05 Spotlight

Kelly Krepps, History '05

High school history teacher, Jenison High School

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Where Are Our Social Studies and History Graduates?

GVSU History Alum Eric Baumgarten

Eric Baumgarten, GVSU History Alum

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

Current Students

What Does Truth Mean in History?

What Does Truth Mean in History?

How to Find Truth in History

How to Find Truth in History

Daisy Soos, a History and Nursing double major, worked on a research project in 2021 titled "Truth in History," which resulted in the compilation of two videos in connection with University Libraries.  

Scholarship Recipients

Alex Jablonski, History '11 Spotlight

Alex Jablonski, History '11

2011 Quirinus Breen Prize Recipient

Rebekkah Bowen, History & Political Science Spotlight

Rebekkah Bowen, History & Political Science

2022 Jo Ellyn Clarey Women's History Scholarship Recipient

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Department News

GVNext: History Department News

A person is talking while being viewed on a computer screen. A keyboard is in the foreground.

U.S. ambassador to Russia gives history class insight on Russia, Ukraine

John Sullivan joined David Stark's class via Zoom.

May 24, 2022

GVSU experts Paul Isely, Scott Lingenfelter and Heather Tafel

Hauenstein Center hosting panel discussion on Ukraine-Russia conflict

The Hauenstein Center for Presidential Studies will host a discussion April 13, featuring three GVSU lecturers analyzing the Russian invasion of Ukraine and its political and economic ramifications for the two nations, Europe and the world.

Apr 11, 2022

View More GVNext: History Department News

Twitter feed for @GVSUHistoryDept

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GVSU History Department
Congratulations to the four national finalists who've moved on from the District 4 contest and the State contest (MI)! We're proud of all of you! The National Contest takes place June 12-18. Go get 'em! @NationalHistory #NationalHistoryDay #HistoryDay #NHDStudents #gvsu
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GVSU History Department
In 2019, Andrea Melvin & GVSU associate prof of History David Eaton celebrated the adoption of Michael Clark Jr. Michael’s kindergarten class joined them to celebrate & the sweet moment went viral. Now, they’ve shared their journey in a kid’s book! buff.ly/3wwQTxd #gvsu
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GVSU History Department

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Recent Faculty Doings and Achievements

Professor Buckridge Wins Fulbright Award to Namibia

Steeve Buckridge, professor of African and Caribbean history, earned a Fulbright Scholar award and in 2022 will teach in a country where he has led study abroad trips.

Professor Covey publishes chapter in new book

Professor Covey published “From Playa Girón to Luanda: Mercenaries and Internationalist Fighters,” The Tricontinental Revolution: Third World Radicalism and the Cold War, edited by R. Joseph Parrott and Mark Atwood Lawrence, Cambridge University Press Studies in US Foreign Relations, 2022. 304-31.

Professor Gautreau publishes chapter in new book

Professor Gautreau's chapter “What Happens Next? Institutionalizing Grassroots Success in Selma, Alabama” was released in October 2021 as part of Radical Roots: Public History and a Tradition of Social Justice Activism. It’s open-source and can be accessed free here: https://doi-org.ezproxy.gvsu.edu/10.3998/mpub.12366495

Professor Shan Publishes Article in the book Chinese Ideology

“Li Dazhao and the Chinese Embracement of Communism,” in Chinese Ideology, Routledge, 2022, 94-110.

Professor Stabler co-authored two recent publications

Professor Stabler co-authored a journal article with an alum who is currently the archivist for the state of Texas. “The Odd Couple: William T. Sherman, O.O. Howard, Loyalty, Soldiery, and the Freedpeople” with Eleanor Gleason cover article in The Journal of America’s Military Past,46: 1 (Winter 2021), 5-24.


Professors Shreiner (HST) and Dykes (STA) work toward data visualization for K12 instruction

Professors Tammy Shreiner (HST) and Bradford Dykes (STA) discovered that they had many mutual interests in data visualization and data literacy for K-12 social studies and history instruction—and how to help teachers to teach them. Their work meshed so well that in 2018, they applied for and received a collaborative grant from CSCE to do a project on how teachers perceive the role of data literacy in social studies and to how they teach it. Tammy sees that students who have had her course on data visualization can only dig into instructional techniques so far within the confines of a single course. “I see how much more they learn in a project like this.  I want to see more opportunities like this.”

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Page last modified May 11, 2022