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Cottey offers a BA and minor in history.

Historic Main Hall building at Cottey College
Students studying in a courtyard at Cottey College

Program Description

The history major is designed for students who want to investigate the past and understand how it has shaped the present.  Through courses in history you will discover what people in other times and places have imagined and hoped for, known and made. By exploring societies across time and space, majors learn to recognize commonalities in the human experience and to identify and explain noticeable differences.

Through analyzing texts and artifacts students piece together the structure of societies and governments, the dynamics of power and conflict, and the relationship of the individual to the wider community. Cottey history graduates’ informed awareness of historical developments prepare them for lives of action and contribution to society.

Signature Courses

  • HIS 211 History of Women in the US

    In this course, we examine the experiences of women, famous and not-so, as well as the changing ideas of gender from pre-contact America to the present. We read and discuss primary documents and works by women authors such as Anne Bradstreet, Susannah Rowson, Phillis Wheatley, Margaret Fuller, Victoria Woodhull, Betty Freidan, and Susan Brownmiller.


  • HIS 335 Hamilton’s America

    In this course we study the world the real Alexander Hamilton experienced. We trace him from his childhood in the Caribbean to his death after meeting Aaron Burr on the dueling grounds of Weehawken. We use the Ron Chernow biography, as well as Hamilton’s own writing, to discover who this man was and to compare him to the character portrayed in the Broadway hit musical.

  • HIS 202 Twentieth-Century Europe

    This course investigates the tumultuous history of modern Europe. We study World War I and the emergence of fascist, communist, and democratic movements, and devote attention to Nazi Germany and the Holocaust.

    Students also learn about the rise and demise of the communist Soviet Union, the Cold War division of Europe, and the emergence of the European Union. We study protest movements, too, especially those that non-violently ended communism in Eastern Europe in 1989. Students conduct original historical research and showcase their findings in a pamphlet or brochure.

Career Outcomes

  • History Careers

    History-specific career paths include:

    • museum curators
    • archivists
    • librarians
    • genealogists
    • educators at the secondary and post-secondary levels.

    Other popular fields include law, government, business management, tourism, journalism, publishing, and public and private research.

Student in pink sweater reading book in Cottey College library

Why Cottey’s history program is unique.

In addition to learning about peoples and places of the world, majors complete skills-based courses that give them experience doing history hands-on. By their final year of study, majors are prepared for the senior capstone course in which they independently complete their own research project on a topic of interest to them.

Majors have the opportunity to conduct research in area archives and libraries, present their research at regional conferences, intern or volunteer at a local museum or historic site, or earn a certificate in public history.

While pursuing history at Cottey, students hone their skills as analytical readers, responsible researchers, and clear communicators—abilities that prepare them for success in today’s rapidly changing job market.


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