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Major In History

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Our history classes lead students to think Christianly about history. However, this is much more than merely a “history thing.” It helps students to think Christianly about all kinds of things, whether history-related or not. Thus thinking Christianly about history is really about nurturing a healthy Christian worldview.

The college will challenge students who major in history to master the tools of first-class scholarship, to analyze historical topics in depth, and to defend their conclusions with rigor and intellectual honesty.

“If you do what I do for a living—if you’re a Christian and a college professor—PHC is the Promised Land. My students are smart, but more than that they are curious and want to learn. They make it possible for me to teach via Socratic Method; I couldn’t do that at my previous college positions. My students are also fabulously kind to me, so much so that I end up regarding them as both friends and partners in the academic process."

—Robert Spinney

Program

All History majors are required to take core courses in U.S. history, the history of Western civilization, and the philosophy and methodology of history. For students interested in historical topics outside of the U.S. and the West, there are electives in the history of Russia, China and the Middle East. We also offer history electives on thematic topics like Islam. In the senior year, a major project caps a History major’s curriculum:  a year-long senior thesis based upon primary source research.

Apprenticeship Experience and Methodology

History majors are encouraged to acquire practical experience as historians. They may earn academic credit through time spent in internships in historical archives, libraries, living-history museums, and other history-related organizations. 

What is it like to be a History major at Patrick Henry College? Why do PHC students major in history? Listen to these current and past PHC History majors:

“I have never once regretted my decision to come to PHC for a History degree. My professors have not simply given me facts to memorize, as if the true value of a historian was in his ability to recite trivia. They have challenged my presuppositions, forced me to think critically, instilled the value of empathy, and have raised the general quality of my writing. But more fundamental and important then any of these things, they have showed me by their example what it truly means to live for God.(Brandon Flint, Class of 2009)

 

I continue to be surprised at how well-rounded the history major is at Patrick Henry College. The facts of history were covered through rigorous classes taught by professors who have a true love for the subject, opening my eyes to the entire sweep and scope of history in ways that just reading a book could never do. The philosophical side of history was thoroughly addressed, helping me understand the theories that have motivated various historians and leading me to formulate my own Christian philosophy of history. The practical hands-on side of history was covered through the optional internship program (tailored to each student's interests), the process of researching and writing numerous papers, and my 100+ page senior thesis. Above all, however, I valued the caring attitude of the faculty and their efforts to encourage students to grapple with what it means to practice history as a Christian.” (Matthew Exline, Class of 2010)

 

Recommended Courses and Course Sequence for History Majors

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