Course Catalog

Department of History


Stephen Berry, Chair and Associate Professor
Sarah L. Leonard, Associate Professor
Stephen Ortega, Graduate Program Director and Associate Professor
Jessica Parr, Assistant Professor NTT
Frances Peace Sullivan, Assistant Professor
Laura R. Prieto, Professor

Additional Teaching Faculty

Katherine Hollander


Studying history deepens our understanding of the world and its interconnections, its diverse peoples and cultures. It reveals the changes and continuities that ebb and flow around us. Diseases, agriculture, civil rights, childrearing practices, political dynasties, and furniture all have histories. The past shapes the present, from the environment to forms of government, to the way we think about gender and race. The Department of History at Simmons College offers courses that introduce students to a variety of historical regions, eras, and methodologies, as well as clusters of courses that allow students to develop expertise in a particular area of history. The Department of History offers research opportunities and internships in a variety of spheres to help students gain further knowledge and work experience. History graduates are prepared for varied careers including in teaching, law, publishing, business, government, librarianship, museum work, and archives. Employers in many fields choose to hire history graduates because of their skills in reading, writing, research, and analysis.

Learning Outcomes:

Upon successful completion of the program, history majors will command a body of knowledge that encompasses political, social, and cultural history in national and transnational contexts. They will be familiar with both micro and macro approaches, with historical turning points and movements, with the transmission of ideas, and with the perception of change versus continuity. They will be able to contextualize people, ideas, and events from the past. They will comprehend the roles of gender, race and ethnicity, and class in shaping historical experience. They will have skill in organizing and articulating ideas orally and in writing. They will know how to examine primary and secondary sources from multiple perspectives. They will read, comprehend, and critique analytical historical writing; they will understand that all history writing involves interpretation on the part of the writer. They will have experience in applying their historical knowledge and skills in a number of professional venues.

Departmental Honors:

Departmental honors in history is offered to qualified students (3.5 GPA in history courses) who are eligible according to the College requirements designated on page 23. A candidate for Departmental Honors is required to take HIST 350 Independent Study in the first semester of the senior year. Upon satisfactory completion of that course, the student is then required to satisfactorily complete HIST 355 Thesis. This course of study is especially recommended to the student intending to pursue the study of history or a related subject in graduate school.