Department of History

506 Main Hall
Wayne Hanley, Chairperson

PROFESSORS: Friedman, Gedge, Hanley, Hardy, Jones, Kirschenbaum

ASSOCIATE PROFESSORS: Chien, Fournier, Gimber, Kodosky, Legg, Thames-Taylor

ASSISTANT PROFESSORS: Gaydosh, Krulikowski, Malkin-Fontecchio, Ruswick, Smucker


The student of history seeks to re-create the past (or, more precisely, as much of it as possible) in a rational manner, not only to explain and understand the past for its own sake, but also to identify our age with earlier times. The student is concerned with the origins, development, and relationships between past people and events and, from the multiplicity of credible and sometimes conflicting evidence, renders judgments on causation and consequences. He or she seeks to achieve a sense of the past. Among the careers open to history majors are the law, government service, teaching, research, journalism, and business. Indeed, a strong preparation in history can lead to possibilities in virtually every field of endeavor.


120 semester hours

  1. General ed. requirements, see pages 38-44 (48 semester hours)
  2. Language requirement (0-12 semester hours)
  3. Required history courses (15 semester hours)
    HIS 101, 102, 151, 152, 300
  4. History field of study (24 semester hours)
    Students choose one of three primary fields of study.
  5. American history primary field of study
    United States history (9 semester hours)
    European history (6 semester hours)
    World/regional history (6 semester hours)
    HIS 400 seminar (3 semester hours)

    European history primary field of study
    European history (9 semester hours)
    United States history (6 semester hours)
    World/regional history (6 semester hours)
    HIS 400 seminar (3 semester hours)

    World/regional history primary field of study
    World/regional history (9 semester hours)
    European history (6 semester hours)
    United States history 6 semester hours
    HIS 400 seminar (3 semester hours)

    United States history courses:
    HIS 329, 343, 344, 352, 356, 357, 358, 360, 361, 362, 364, 365, 366, 367, 368, 369, 370, 371, 373, 376, 378, 380, 390, 399, 410, 415, 440, 444, 450, 451, 455, 458, 460, 462, 474, 480

    European history courses:
    HIS 318, 319, 320, 321, 322, 323, 324, 328, 329, 331, 332, 390, 398, 410, 415, 416, 417, 421, 422, 423, 424, 425, 427, 428, 435, 450, 458, 460, 480

    World/regional courses:
    HIS 301, 302, 305, 306, 308, 311, 312, 314, 315, 316, 317, 318, 349, 375, 380, 390, 397, 407, 410, 411, 412, 415, 424, 450, 458, 460, 480

  6. Cognate courses (9 semester hours)
    Under advisement, students take three courses in at least two disciplines related to history (such as American studies, anthropology, art history, economics, geography, literature, music history, philosophy, political science, psychology, sociology, and women's and gender studies). These courses are in addition to those taken to fulfill general education requirements.

  7. Additional free electives to complete 120 semester hours
    Students in the bachelor of arts in history program can complete an elective course of studies that will lead to social studies teacher certification. See department adviser for details.


120 semester hours

  1. General ed. requirements, see pages 38-44 (48 semester hours)
  2. Language requirement (0-12 semester hours)
  3. Required history courses (15 semester hours)
    HIS 101, 102, 151, 152, 300
  4. Upper-division history electives (18 semester hours)
    AMS/HIS 367
    Two U.S. history courses, one European, and one world/regional history elective
    Capstone course requirement satisfied with a senior project, internship, or independent study in American studies.
  5. Other American studies requirements (15 semester hours)
    AMS 200, LIT 201
    Three 300-/400-level American-themed courses from at least two of the following disciplines: anthropology, art history, economics, geography, literature, music history, philosophy, political science, psychology, sociology, and women’s and gender studies.
    Note: These courses are in addition to those taken to fulfill general education requirements.
  6. Free electives (12-24 semester hours)
    As many free electives as needed to complete the 120 credits required for graduation. Free electives may also be used to complete a minor.
    Note: Students with an American studies concentration are ineligible for a minor in American studies.


The program of study is designed to assure that prospective social studies teachers possess the knowledge, capabilities, and dispositions associated with the concepts, tools of inquiry, and structures of the disciplines that make up social studies education, and that they are able to create learning experiences which make these aspects of the subject matter meaningful for learners. The course of study emphasizes ten thematic strands:

  • Culture and cultural diversity

  • Time, continuity, and change

  • People, places, and environment

  • Individuals, groups, and institutions

  • Power, authority, and government

  • Production, distribution, and consumption

  • Science, technology, and society

  • Global connections

  • Civic ideals and practices

  • Individual development and identity

Program of Study

Students interested in teaching social studies education in secondary schools may pursue a bachelor of arts in history while earning state certification in social studies education. West Chester University's program, which requires up to 132 semester hours, is accredited by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, the National Council for the Social Studies, and the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education.

  1. General ed. requirements, see pages 38-44 (48 semester hours)
  2. Professional education, see pages 145-146 (36 semester hours)
    EDP 250; EDA 103 and 304; EDR 347; EDM 349; EDP 355; LAN/ENG 382, EDS 306; SSC 331; EDS 411 and 412
  3. History requirement (39 semester hours)
    See above, bachelor of arts - history
    Required: HIS 444 (as a U.S. history course)
  4. Language requirement (0-12 semester hours)
  5. Cognate courses (9 semester hours)
    Selected under advisement
  6. Elective
    Selected under advisement
    This is an elective program that is pursued in conjunction with the bachelor of arts in history. Close advisement is required. NOTE: Some of the above courses meet two requirements.
  7. Satisfy University and department requirements for admission to teacher education. See the Educator Preparation Programs section of this catalog for an explanation of related requirements.

  8. Satisfy University and Pennsylvania Department of Education requirements to complete certification, see pages 91-93

History Minor (18 semester hours)

Students may obtain minor recognition on their transcript so that their concentrated choice of free electives will be recognized.

  1. Required courses (6 semester hours)
    One course between HIS 101 or 102, and one course among HIS 150, 151, or 152
  2. Electives (12 semester hours)
    Choose under advisement four 300- and/or 400-level courses from three groups:
    United States, European, World/Regional History (six semester hours in one group; three semester hours in each of the others)

This minor may be taken as one of the minors in the bachelor of arts or bachelor of science in liberal studies general degree program.



Symbol: HIS unless otherwise shown

100 Global History Since 1900 (3) The 20th century background to today’s world is examined through a variety of themes and concepts.

101 History of Civilization I (3) Cultural elements and social institutions in the West and the East from earliest times through the Renaissance.

102 History of Civilization II (3) Developments in civilizations from 1500 to the present, with emphasis on Western civilization and its interrelationships with the non-Western world.

150 The American Experience (3) The history of the United States, with emphasis on major themes, ideas, and developments – nationalism, sectionalism, imperialism, industrialism, and others.

151 History of United States I (3) The social, economic, political, and intellectual development of the United States from the beginning of the Colonial period through Reconstruction.

152 History of United States II (3) A comprehensive history of the United States from 1865 to the present, examining the economic, political, and cultural development of American society, and the evolution of American foreign policy.

300 Varieties of History (3) Historical research techniques. Methodology, historiography, and varieties of history. Required of all history majors. PREREQ: Two 100-level HIS courses. Writing emphasis course. Majors only.

302 Modern India (3) Social, religious, and cultural underpinnings of modern India against a backdrop of the subcontinent's chronological development. Hindu and Muslim traditions discussed in terms of their own social, religious, and historical dynamics and as examples of complexities of national integration.
Approved interdisciplinary course

305 Modern China (3) Survey of the historical and cultural background of China. Emphasis is given to the significance of China's modern period and its impact on world affairs.

306 Chinese Civilization (3) Study of dominant cultural, philosophical, and historical patterns that have influenced the development of China as it is today and the traditional way in which Chinese approach their own history.
Approved interdisciplinary course

308 Introduction to the Islamic World (3) Study of the religio-cultural heritage of the Islamic world against a historical background. Selected areas of Middle, South, and Southeast Asia will be utilized to illustrate the flowering of Islamic arts, architecture, and poetry. Includes geography component.
Approved interdisciplinary course

311 History of Africa to 1875 (3) A survey of African history to 1875, providing regional coverage of the entire continent, and an examination of African oral traditions.

312 History of Africa Since 1875 (3) A survey of African history since 1875, focusing on European colonialism, African resistance, and contemporary developments.

314 Latin American Women's History (3) Examines Latin American women 1500 - present. Focuses on intersections of class, race, and gender; relations between private and public spheres; changing women's experiences over time.

315 Colonial Latin America (3) Pre-Columbian period, colonial Latin America, and movements for independence; Indian, European, and African backgrounds; government, economy, society, religion, culture, and enlightenment. Interaction of diverse cultures in the New World.
Culture cluster

316 Modern Latin America (3) Latin America in the 19th and 20th centuries; liberalism, conservatism, dictatorship, revolution, socialism, industrialization, agrarian reform, cultural-intellectual achievements, and international relations. Topical approach, using individual countries as case history illustrations.
Culture cluster

317 History of Mexico (3) Mexico from Pre-Columbian period to present, including civilizations of Mayas and Aztecs, Spanish conquest, Colonial period, movement for independence era of Santa Ana, La Reforma, Diaz dictatorship, Mexican Revolution, cultural-intellectual achievements, international relations, and modernization of Mexico since the Revolution.
Culture cluster

318 The Ancient World (3) Classical Greece and Rome with consideration of economic, social, intellectual, and political history. Selected writings of the ancients.
Culture cluster

319 Medieval Europe (3) Western Europe from the fall of Rome to approximately 1300. Economic, social, political, and intellectual developments in the major kingdoms of the West; the history of the Universal Church.
Culture cluster

320 Renaissance and Reformation (3) Political, economic, social, and cultural forces that emerged in Europe from 1300 to 1650. The evolution of modern states and the rise of the middle class.

321 Everyday Life in Early Modern Europe (3) An examination of the daily lives of Europeans of various social backgrounds from the 15th to 18th centuries. Topics will include dress, diet, recreation, labor, and medicine.

324 Imperial Russia (3) Russian history from from Peter the Great to the February revolution of 1917. Emphasis on issues of modernity and ethnic identity.
Culture cluster

328 The French Revolution and Napoleon (3) A study of key social, political, and cultural themes of the French Revolution from its origins during the ancien régime to the fall of Napoleon Bonaparte. Culture cluster

329 Gender and Peace (3) Examination of the ways in which social constructions of gender intersect with perceptions of war and peace.

331 20th-Century Europe (3) European fascism and communism; totalitarianism confronts liberalism; interaction between domestic politics and foreign policy; polarization of European politics; disintegration of the political institutions of the traditional state.

332 The Holocaust (3) Focuses on ethnic, nationalistic, economic, and religious causes of the Holocaust, including 20th-century Nazism, racism, and anti-Semitism; study of the Nuremburg trials.

343 Colonial America (3) Examination of the colonial experience of Europeans in the parts of America that became the United States, from Columbus's voyage in 1492 to the eve of the Revolutionary War.

344 History of Pennsylvania (3) The founding and development of Pennsylvania from its Colonial beginnings to the present with emphasis on the relation of the past to the present.

349 The Jew in History (3) Review of the 4,000 years and five civilizations that have welcomed the Jewish people. Emphasis on the Jews in contemporary society.

352 Modern American Military History (3) The role of the American military in shaping the course of the nation in the 20th century.

356 U.S. Environmental History (3) An examination of the transformation of the American landscape, the history of American environmental policy, and the development of today's environmental crisis.

357 Diplomatic History of the United States (3) The theory and practice of American diplomacy from Colonial times to the present with emphasis on the 20th century.

358 Economic History of the United States (3) The economic development of the American nation as it evolved from a frontier, agricultural country into an urban, industrial power.

360 Technology and American Life (3) Promises and practices of American life in response to the interaction of American forms, values, and scientific-technological change from the Colonial period to the present.

361 Constitutional History of the United States (3) The development of the Constitution of the United States from the Philadelphia convention to the present with emphasis on major Supreme Court decisions.

362 Violence in America (3) A study of violence in American society as an instrument of change and a method of social control.
Diverse communities course

364 U.S. Urban History (3) A survey of the rise of the American city from early Philadelphia to the modern metropolis. The recurring themes of growth, immigration, social mobility, city politics, city planning, urbanism, and suburbanism.

365 Popular Culture in 20th-Century America (3) An examination of the rise of American mass consumer culture, commercialization of leisure, development of the mass media, and redefinition of normal and deviant behaviors.

366 The Turbulent '60s (3) Examination of the stress and conflict in American politics, arts, literature, and society of the 1960s. Writing emphasis course

367 American Material Culture (3) An interdisciplinary study of American civilization through the examination of its built environment and crafted and manufactured artifacts from the colonial period to the mid-20th century.

368 Gay America (3) Encompasses four hundred years of gay and lesbian history, culture, and politics, from colonial settlers and Native American cultures to the present with emphasis on the 20th century.

369 American West (3) Exploration of the historical and mythical American West, from pre-Columbian America to the present.

370 American Indians (3) A survey of Indian civilization on the continent of North America and the confrontation of this civilization with white culture.

371 Manhood in America (3) Examines American manhood from 1600 - present. Focuses on intersections of class, race, and gender; relations between private and public spheres; changing men's experiences over time.

373 African-American History (3) A survey of African-American history from 15th century West Africa to the present that focuses on the evolution of African-American culture and identity, and the struggle for freedom and racial equality.
Diverse communities course

375 A History of the Arab-Israeli Conflict (3) This course will examine the history of the Arab-Israeli conflict and the factors that both encourage and impede resolution. Consideration will also be given to the history of the U.S. involvement in the conflict.

376 American History at the Movies (3) Examines the relationship between academic scholarship and the presentation of American history in film.

378  Revolutionary America (3) This is a cultural, military, and social history of the Revolutionary Era. It covers a period of time from the mid-18th century through the formation and ratification of the federal constitution and the adoption of the Bill of Rights.

380 The History of U.S. Involvement in the Middle East (3) Examines U.S. involvement in the Middle East in the 19th and 20th centuries. Consideration will be given to religious, economic, and diplomatic activities as well as involvement in the Arab-Israeli conflict.

390 Historical Controversy on the World-Wide Web (3) Students evaluate Web presentations of a major historical controversy. PREREQ: One University-level history course, preferably HIS 102.

397 Topics in World History (3) Topics may vary each semester. Emphasis on student research and discussions.
This course may be taken again for credit.

398 Topics in European History (3) Topics may vary each semester. Emphasis on student research and discussions.
This course may be taken again for credit.

399 Topics in U.S. History (3) Topics may vary each semester. Emphasis on student research and discussions.
This course may be taken again for credit.

400 Seminar (3) In-depth research, study, and discussion of a selected historical topic. Topics will vary. Recommended for seniors. PREREQ: HIS 300.
Writing emphasis course.
Majors only.

407 History of Brazil (3) A general survey of Brazil from 1500 to the present. Emphasis will be placed on economic and political issues, slavery and race relations, literature, and current ecological problems relative to the Amazon Basin.

410 Independent Studies in History (1-3) Research projects, reports, and readings in history. Open to seniors only. PREREQ: Permission of department chairperson.
This course may be taken again for credit.

411 Middle East to 1700 (3) The historical evolution of the Middle East from just before the time of Muhammad until 1700. The course seeks to promote an understanding of the nature and rise of the religion of Islam, the spread of Islamic civilization, and the evolution of the Arab and Ottoman empires.

412 Middle East Since 1600 (3) The historical evolution of the Middle East from 1600 to the present. The course seeks to promote a historically sound understanding of the conflicts and differences between Western and Middle Eastern societies, as well as the continuing interplay of secular and religious forces in the history of the region.

415 Science in History (3) This course offers an introduction to the historical evolution of modern science. Emphasis is placed on the life and achievements of noted scientists against the backdrop of their time and culture. Consideration is also given to the impact of developing science on the shaping of Western values.
Diverse communities course

416 Crime and Punishment in Europe, 1450- 1789 (3) Focuses on the historical development of criminal law, criminalization processes, court procedures, the use of judicial torture, crime rates, personal characteristics of the sentenced criminals, and the punishments they received.

417 Outcasts in Early Modern Europe (3) This course focuses on the lives of Jews, Gypsies, gays, and slaves in Europe during the 1450-1750 period.

421 History of England to 1688 (3) The British people and their mores, institutions, and achievements from the earliest times to the Glorious Revolution.

422 History of England Since 1688 (3) England as a world leader during the Commercial and Industrial revolutions, the evolution of the democratic process, and the emergence of liberalism followed by the democractic welfare state.

423 Modern Germany (3) Germany in the 19th and 20th centuries: Napoleonic era, rise of Prussia, nationalism and unification, imperialism and World War I, National Socialism, World War II, and divided Germany.
Culture cluster

424 World Communism (3) This course examines the history of communism. It traces the origins and development of Marxist theories of inequality, as well as the sometimes tragic efforts to put Marxist theory into practice in, among other places, Russia, China, and Cuba. Particular attention is paid to the choices and commitments of individual communists. What visions of a new world motivated communists? What solutions to class, gender, and racial inequalities did they propose? Why was their idealism so often twisted into carnage?

425 20th-Century Russia (3) Its rise and fall in light of traditional Russian patterns and the communist experiment.
Culture cluster

427 Modern France: 1789 to Present (3) A survey of modern France from the Revolutionary era through the turbulent 19th century to the post-World War II recovery. Major themes include the social cultural political, and economic aspects of modern and contemporary France.
Culture cluster

428 History of Spain (3) Focuses on political, religious, economic, and social aspects of Spain from the Roman period to the present. Special attention is given to the "Reconquista spirit" and the Spanish civil war.

434 19th Century Europe (3) This course will explore the major issues pertaining to developments in Europe in the "long 19th century," roughly from 1789 to 1918. Topics include the impact of the French Revolution and the Napoleonic wars on European life, the industrial and political revolutions of the century, and the advent of liberalism, socialism, nationalism, feminism, and imperialism.

435 European Intellectual History Since 1800 (3) A cultural history of ideas in 19th- and early 20th-century Europe.
Culture cluster

440 American Jewish History (3) This course traces the history of the Jews in the United States from the earliest communities of the 17th century to the present. Topics will include Jews in the American colonies, Jewish immigration in the 19th century, anti-Semitism, Zionism, Jewish labor movements, the growth of Reform, Conservative, and Orthodox Judaism, and the impact of the Holocaust and Israel.

444 History of American Education (3) This course offers an historical examination of the complex historical, political, social, economic, and cultural influences that have contributed to the current state of education in America.

450 Internship in History (1-3)
This course may be taken again for credit.

451 Women in America (3) American women's daily routines, social roles, and search for rights and identity since Colonial days. Recent goals, values, and conflicts.
Diverse communities course. Writing emphasis course.

455 American Intellectual History (3) Political and economic thought, theology, science, philosophy, and literature.

458 History of the Cold War (3) Origins and evolution of the Cold War with emphasis on the rationale for, and objectives of, American foreign policy since 1945. Includes an examination of the historical interpretations of the era.

460 Field Studies in History (3) A fully supervised learning experience designed to expose students to the culture, artifacts, and research facilities of a given country or area.

462 Social and Cultural History of the United States (3) The evolution of American society with emphasis on the impact of improving material conditions in labor, the arts, education, religion, social mores, and family life. The changing status of women, blacks, and immigrants.

474 American Religions (3) The changes of American religion from the Pilgrims of New England to the cults of California.

480 Digital History (3) Methods of historical research and analysis based on the use of personal computers.