“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, History '16

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.

Public History Badge

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

Certificate in medical and health humanities

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.

Ashleigh Palmiter, Social Studies '10 Spotlight

Ashleigh Palmiter, Social Studies '10

Social Studies Educator, Grand Rapids Public Museum

Mario Pritchard, Social Studies '06 Spotlight

Mario Pritchard, Social Studies '06

6th and 7th grade world history teacher, River Rouge, MI

Mike Burns, History '10 Spotlight

Mike Burns, History '10

Manuscript Editor, Marine Corp University Press

View More Outstanding Alumni

Where Are Our Social Studies and History Graduates?

Where Are Our Social Studies and History Graduates?

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

Current Students

What Does Truth Mean 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.  

Department News

GVNext: History Department News

Cheryl Brown Henderson gives a virtual presentation standing behind a monitor in the WGVU studio.

MLK week opens with call from keynote speaker to continue 'watering seeds planted by King'

The daughter of a man whose life intersected with the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. opened Grand Valley's commemoration week events by saying the two men "planted the seeds we are still watering and nurturing today."

Jan 17, 2022

headshots of, from left, Jamillah Ali-Joyce, Cheryl Brown Henderson, Elijah Anderson and Littisha Bates

Slate of speakers will reflect on legacy of King during commemoration week events

To commemorate the life of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Grand Valley will host four virtual or in-person presentations by speakers and a day of service.

Jan 11, 2022

View More GVNext: History Department News

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GVSU History Department
History majors: Check out the Glenn A. and Betty J. Niemeyer History Scholarship! Go to myScholarships buff.ly/3Fg3Xbl to for more info on qualifications and to apply! Deadline is March 1! #gvsu #scholarships @GVSUFinaid #historymajor
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GVSU History Department
Are you a History or Social Studies major who wants to study abroad but aren't sure how to help fund it? Check out our Frances Anne Kelleher Memorial Scholarship! Deadline to apply is March 1. Don't miss out! buff.ly/3Fg3Xbl for more info and to apply! #gvsu @GVSUFinaid
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GVSU History Department

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