Learn to identify and discern the meaning of global and local change over time. Study the richness, diversity, and complexities of existence in a valuable and versatile major that deals, at its core, with the nature of human experience. Through the study of history, we learn to understand why events happen, how people experienced them, and how they remade societies. At the same time we come to know ourselves by discovering the ways in which the past has shaped us and the world in which we live.
Available as a major or a minor.
In Wells' history courses, students learn to become their own historians, conducting research on primary and secondary sources—not just textbooks, but the journals, letters, and articles produced during historical periods—and engaging in meaningful discussions with their teachers and their peers. You'll learn to write and speak about not just what the sources are saying, but what you are saying—how and why you are approaching something a certain way and how others are making competing arguments.
History is about the totality of the human experience, the good and the bad. It is both relevant and important, and those who choose to study it learn to find meaning in the past through the interpretation of evidence. They learn not just what happened, but how and why.
Lists of facts and dates can be boring when they're taken out of context, but in fact, history isn't about memorization. History ultimately amounts to good story telling. It's about scholarly arguments, coming to conclusions, analyzing source material. You'll take part in exciting and fun conversations with the hands-on history. Every history class is experiential in that regard.
Faculty in the program practice some of the newest and most interesting teaching methods, often exploring the past through game playing and roleplaying. Students may take on famous historical personas, research and prepare for the role outside of class, and discuss the issues of the time that they're studying through that individual's viewpoints. They learn to explore and express these complicated identities in classroom debates and even on social media.
These discussions, of course, aren't limited to one "type" of conversation. A history education is versatile, flexible, and fun. Students who take courses in history learn to apply their knowledge and newfound ideas in careers in library science, museum work, or the diverse field known as public history. The program is by nature multidisciplinary—a dozen Wells majors and minors require history programs, including Economics, Political Science, Women's and Gender Studies, Film and Media Studies, Spanish, and Philosophy. Through the study of history at Wells, one not only learns to research and write effectively, but also the immensely valuable analytical skill of thinking historically, of seeing the fluidity and evolution over time of attitudes and values and the societies they have created and which contain them.
Numerous internship choices exist for students with the research and writing skills of the Wells history major. Established relationships with local historical societies and museums throughout the Finger Lakes provide many options to learn and talk and teach others. Every experience is valuable, and students always come back from these with remarkable insights and a passion for the "living history" with which they've been engaged. In recent years, Wells history majors have held a number of internships including:
Want to study European History in Berlin, England, or Florence? Wells makes it possible. History majors gain transformative experiences, gain amazing memories, and help to clarify how they'll spend their future through fascinating programs around the world – Check out our off-campus study programs.
Share your love of history with others and practice your leadership skills by getting involved with one of many active groups on campus. Below are just a few that might catch your interest:
Students are also involved with planning, organizing, and of course participating in exciting annual events such as the Peachtown Native American Festival and Education Week, Activism Symposium, and others supported by modern languages faculty such as Tapas Night, Hispanic Heritage Month Film Series, and more.