An historical perspective on contemporary society is a cornerstone of a liberal education. This historical perspective must include familiarity with our society's origins and antecedents, an appreciation of the variety of historical experiences worldwide, and especially a comprehension of the background to key problems confronting humanity today.

For the student with a major interest in history, the department's program provides a strong grounding in the discipline of historical method, a familiarity with diverse epochs and national histories, and an introduction to the experience of original research.