History is essential to all knowledge because everything has a past. Taking account of this universality, the Middlebury History department covers virtually every part of the globe, from the United States to South Asia, from Russia to the Caribbean, from Japan to Western Europe. The members of the department also specialize in many different approaches to history, from social, political and intellectual to environmental, ethnic or gender-based and cultural. We expect that every History major will take courses in a variety of fields and will familiarize themselves with different ways of interpreting the past.
Our major program is unique in structure and unrivaled in depth. Students graduate from the department having learned the basic skills of historical analysis and writing through a variety of lecture and seminar courses, as well as through two extended research projects. The first is a research paper, usually written in the junior year through a special team-taught seminar, HIST 0600. The second is the senior thesis, a longer examination of a particular historical problem, based on primary as well as secondary materials. Our majors go on to careers in a wide variety of areas, from law and finance to teaching and international service.
Our faculty combines a deep commitment to teaching with active scholarly research that keeps them up-to-date in their areas of specialization. All courses in the department, up to the 400-level readings seminars, are open to every student at Middlebury. We have no prerequisites, and course numbers reflect fields of study, not degrees of difficulty. The department is closely tied to both the International Studies and Environmental Studies programs, and we have served double majors in almost every area, from Mathematics to Political Science to Theatre. Every student at a liberal arts college should consider taking courses in history.