Study History at UC
Whatever your career path, History is an excellent starting point and the History Department is a great place to be during your years at UC. In addition to the major, flexible requirements and free electives allow for enough credits for students to pursue a minor, certificate program, or even complete a double-major or cross-college major. On top of first-rate academic opportunities, we boast a terrific array of social and cultural activities. Our History Club--open to all UC students--is entirely student-run and organizes frequent field trips, excursions, and activities. We also sponsor a wide range of public lectures and events throughout the year.
Your History Advisor at UC
One of the great benefits of a history major at UC is that while we are a large department with many faculty and majors, we provide a personal experience of faculty advising. Students are encouraged to get mentoring from all of their professors, especially about research topics and your overall plans for the degree. We strive to make our faculty accessible and supportive to all history students. Students interested in the major or minor should make sure to see the Director of Undergraduate Advising, Dr. Robert Haug, about advising, course selection, and schedules. For broader questions about the program and History, students should contact the Director of Undergraduate Studies, Dr. Susan Longfield Karr.
The major in History provides students with a broad range of choices. Students may concentrate their studies in any part of the world or era in history. The major also provides a carefully designed sequence of courses that teach students how to practice history as a discipline, from the critical examination of existing knowledge, to the techniques of original historical research. These techniques can be applied using an almost limitless variety of sources, including diaries, journals, film, literature, visual images, and government documents. Students may also minor in History or pursue, in addition to a BA, other interdisciplinary certificates such as historic preservation, public history, etc.
A History major consists of 36 credits and is structured to reflect the department’s philosophy and pedagogical goals. Students begin with two survey courses chosen from among European, U.S., Asian, Middle Eastern, Latin American, African, and world history. Building on this broad overview, students take a gateway course, “Introduction to Historical Thought and Methods” (HIST 3000), where they are introduced to historiography, critical thinking and intensive writing and rewriting. Five upper-division elective courses give students the freedom to develop their own field of special interest, while one course (at any level) in any area other than American or European history and one course (at any level) from pre-1800 history ensures a breadth of knowledge. The capstone “History Research Seminars” (HIST 5000) offer History majors experiential learning, allowing the students to integrate their training in critical thinking, research skills and writing to produce an original piece of scholarship. All History majors should consult with the department’s Director of Undergraduate Advising when they declare their major.
A History minor consists of 18 credit hours and allows students to experience some of the philosophy and pedagogical goals of the department. Students are required to enroll in 6 credit hours of 1000-2000 level history elective courses. Moving from this broad perspective, students next take “Introduction to Historical Thought and Methods” (HIST 3000). They then will need to enroll in two 3001-6000 level History elective courses. Finally, a student will need to take an additional 3 credit hours of History electives, at any level. All History minors should consult with the department’s Director of Undergraduate Studies when they declare their minor. All History minors should consult with the department’s Director of Undergraduate Advising when they declare their minor.
Students have the option of double-majoring in History and other disciplines. It’s frequently the case that students interested in other areas, including teaching, law, area studies, and medicine, need complete only a handful of additional course in order to satisfy the History major. The UC College of Arts and Sciences offers flexible degree requirements that encourage multiple areas of study. Some of the most common pairings are Anthropology, Archaeology, Economics, Geography, International Affairs, Journalism, Languages, Law and Society, Political Science, and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies.
The history department actively participates in the following programs:
Students who want to show future employers the full breadth and depth of their preparation in their subject areas may choose to become dual majors. This is common within the College of Arts & Sciences but students with majors in other colleges can also become dual majors, which means they will have completed both the general education requirements and major requirements in both colleges. Others with more restrictive schedules may choose to pursue a Cross-College major, which means that they will have completed all general education and major requirements in their home college, but only the major requirements for History.
One common example of the Cross-College major involves students in CECH pursuing a BS Ed. As you can see in the chart below, those who choose this path will only need to complete five additional upper-division classes in History to receive the Cross-College major. Students in CECH preparing to teach secondary Social Studies will already have earned the History minor through their coursework, and simply have to declare it for it to show on their transcripts.
|Requirement Category||History Major||Education Major (History; Social Studies)|
|Lower Level Courses||9 HRS||15 HRS|
|Methods||3 HRS||3 HRS|
|NonUS/Non-Euro Courses||3 HRS||3 HRS|
|Pre-1800 Courses||3 HRS||3 HRS|
|Upper-Level Electives||12 HRS||3 HRS|
|History 4000||3 HRS||3 HRS|
|Capstone||3 HRS||0 HRS|
|Total||36 HRS||30 HRS|
We offer an accelerated combined track for students who wish to earn both a BA and MA in history. To apply to this program, students must be declared History majors. They must have at least a 3.5 GPA in history courses and a 3.3 GPA overall at the end of their junior year, when they must declare their interest in entering the 5-year BA + MA Program in writing to the Director of Graduate Studies. In addition to fulfilling all of the requirements of the undergraduate major, interested students must take two 6000-level History seminars in their junior or senior year.
Applicants will follow the usual application procedures in the fall of their senior year. The Graduate Admissions Committee will consider 5-year BA + MA Program applications along with all other applicants for admission and Graduate Assistantships. Those who receive and accept GAship offers cannot complete the MA in one year. Those who do not receive or accept a GA offer can complete the MA degree taking an accelerated approach. Following is a sample 1-year MA Program:
- HIST 7060 Historical Methodology Seminar
- HIST 9040 Graduate Research Seminar I
- Graduate Seminar in Major Field
- HIST 7080 Comparative History Seminar
- HIST 9041 Graduate Research Seminar II
- Graduate Seminar in Major Field
The University of Cincinnati and surrounding area are rich in materials for historical research. Not only will students have access to the large university library collection, but also can gain access to several local archive collections.
The University of Cincinnati Libraries currently hold about 4.4 million volumes, making it the thirty-sixth largest academic library in the United States, and it subscribes to about 50,000 scholarly journals. Langsam Library the main research library on campus, is especially strong in European history for which there is a special endowment, in twentieth century American history, urban history and in women’s studies. Finally, Langsam Library’s collection of online databases of both secondary and primary materials is one of the largest in the country and is expanding rapidly.
UC’s Archives and Rare Books (ARB) Department, located in Blegan Library, contains several distinct and valuable collections. Rare books focus especially on North American Indians, travel and exploration, and 18th century British literature. The urban collection documents the growth and development of Cincinnati (it is the depository for all official city records) in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. And, finally, the German Americana Collection, one of the largest in the nation, includes books, pamphlets, journals, newspapers and manuscripts pertaining to German immigrants in America, particularly in the Ohio Valley.
For scholars interested in medieval history, the Burnam Classics Library (the world’s largest with about 300,000 volumes and located in Blegan Library) collects anything printed in Latin which includes virtually all medieval texts published, edited or reprinted from the 17th century to the present.
Finally, the collections of the Henry R. Winkler Center for the History of the Health Professions (located in the Harrison Health Sciences Library) will prove especially useful to scholars of the history of health and medicine. Included are 35,000 volumes on the history of medicine dating from 1500 to the present; a large manuscript collection; oral histories; 5,000 photographs; and 2,000 historic medical artifacts and instruments.
In addition, UC is a member of the OhioLink system of research libraries that allows faculty and students to search a central computer catalog of 46 million books, 24 million electronic journal articles, and 100 electronic journal databases--and to order from your computer screen any item for delivery within two working days to the Langsam Library front desk.
UC is also a founding member of the Center for Research Libraries in Chicago, which has a collection of 5 million volumes (many now digital) not available at any library in the United States except the CRL, plus tens of thousands of newspaper titles. Although it has substantial collections of North American and European materials, in recent years it has focused mainly on collecting rare materials from South America, Africa, the Middle East and South Asia.
The Klau Library at Hebrew Union College, two blocks from the UC campus, has a vast collection on Jewish history and culture which includes: 530,000 books, 1,200 current periodical subscriptions, 2,500 manuscript codices and many thousands of manuscript pages, 19,000 microfiche & 19,000 reels of microfilm, 100,000 digital images from manuscripts and early printed books, 3,300 sound recordings. In addition, the Klau Library’s Rare Book Room has 14,000 volumes plus posters, maps and manuscripts.
Next door, the Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives preserves about 15 million documents recording Jewish history in the Western Hemisphere, including the archives of the Jewish Reform Movement in America.
For scholars interested in pursuing the history of Catholicism, extensive research resources are available at The Athenaeum of Ohio/Mount St. Mary’s Seminary on the east side of Cincinnati. Collecting since 1833, the Eugene H. Maly Library contains about 120,000 volumes devoted to every aspect of the Catholic faith, culture and history. In addition to the reference and circulation collections, Maly Library includes a Special Collection of over 11,000 books that concentrates on church history and liturgical books. This collection includes 35 manuscripts and 22 incunabula, dating to as early as the 12th century.
Students interested in the history of Catholicism may also want to drive to Columbus, two hours north of Cincinnati, to use the collections at the Pontifical College Josephinum. The 120,000 volume library holds many unique and rare resources, including Catholic newspapers, manuscripts dating from the 1800s, a well-preserved Complete Works of Martin Luther from 1555, highly detailed and colorful Medieval illuminated manuscripts, and Vatican ephemera.
Other libraries in the local area will prove equally useful to scholars doing historical research. Collecting since 1853, the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County, located downtown about two miles from UC’s Clifton campus, is the second largest public library in the United States. It holds 11.7 million volumes, 4 million microfiche, and 150,000 reels of microfilm. The library’s collections are especially rich in nineteenth-century books and periodicals from both America and Europe, and also has extensive manuscript holdings pertaining to Cincinnati and the Old Northwest.
Also downtown, the Cincinnati History Library and Archives at the Cincinnati Museum Center, collecting since 1831, has accumulated 90,000 books and 20,000 linear feet of manuscripts covering the history of the entire Ohio Valley.
The Lloyd Library and Museum, also located downtown, is a private collection open to the public that has about 60,000 books and 4,000 serial titles, mainly on the history of science, medicine, and pharmacy. Its collection includes thousands of rare books and prints from the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries.
Other Archive Collections Near Cincinnati
In addition, there are dozens of other specialized research libraries and archives within a two-hour drive of Cincinnati.
For example, scholars interested in the Appalachia will want to take a day trip to Berea College’s Archives, Manuscripts and Artifacts Collections (located in Hutchins Library on the Berea College campus in the town of Berea, Kentucky, south of Cincinnati). The Weatherford-Hammond Mountain Collection, started in 1914, includes over 21,000 volumes of published material on all aspects of the region’s history and culture. And the Southern Appalachian Archives includes organizational records, personal papers, oral histories, photographs, and non-commercial audio and video recordings that document regional history and culture especially in the areas of activism, education, folklore, traditional music, and religious expression in more than one hundred sixty separate collections.
Historians interested in the history of Quakers will want to visit Earlham College about an hour drive north of Cincinnati. There the Arthur and Kathleen Postle Archives and Friends Collection has one of the four or five largest Quaker Collections in the world, with more than 13,000 books and nearly as many pamphlets, some going back to the 17th Century when the Society of Friends was founded. These works are supplemented with an extensive collection of Quaker genealogical materials. Personal diaries, letters, and detailed records of monthly and yearly meetings reveal the lives of thousands of Quaker men and women.
Also within a two hour drive from the UC campus, the Kinsey Institute Library in Bloomington, Indiana, specializes in sex, sexuality and gender. It houses over 30,000 books, 80,000 photographs, 8,000 film titles, and 4,000 video titles. In addition, it has a large manuscript collection, plus an art and artifact collection of 7,000 items.
Other special collections close to Cincinnati and useful to historians include the Kentucky Historical Society in Frankfort, the Ohio Historical Society in Columbus, the Indiana Historical Society in Bloomington, and the Filson Historical Society in Louisville.
The History Department offers a number of prizes and scholarships every year to accomplished undergraduates. For more information on the any of the awards below, contact the department's Director of Undergraduate Studies.
- The George B. Engberg Prize is awarded each year for the best undergraduate papers in the senior research seminars on any topic, Non-U.S. history. The award honors Professor George B. Engberg, who taught at the University of Cincinnati for more than 30 years until he retired in 1983.
- The Lenore F. McGrane Prize honors the wife of long-time professor and history department head, Reginald McGrane. In his will, Reginald McGrane established a scholarship fund whose income would be given each year to the most promising student of American history. This award is both a mark of distinction for its winner, and a sign of the affection and commitment of Lenore and Reginald McGrane to this department, a relationship which began with Reginald McGrane's enrollment as an undergraduate at UC in 1904.
- The Emma Louise Parry prize is the most venerable prize awarded by the history department. It was established by alumnae of the former Mount Auburn Institute and the H. Thane Miller School to honor the memory of an outstanding teacher of history. It is given to the student who has shown outstanding ability in his or her field of specialization in history.
- The George Newberger prize is awarded each academic year to the best papers produced in HIST 5000 seminars that deal with U.S. history.
- The Hilda L. Smith Prize is awarded to the best undergraduate paper in any field or period related to questions of women's history. Hilda Smith retired from the History Department in 2012 after a long and accomplished career of research and teaching.
- Qualified undergraduates in history may also apply for the Taft Undergraduate Enrichment Award as well as other forms of assistance through the Taft Research Center. History students have also received funding from sources such as UC International (study-abroad grants) and women's studies. For more information on funding opportunities in history at UC, visit the University Research Council and College of Arts and Sciences Financial Aid and Scholarships web page.
The History Club is a student-run organization that brings together a diverse group of students at the University of Cincinnati interested in all areas of History. We are a vibrant learning community that actively connects undergraduate and graduate students within the department and creates links with people and institutions around campus and throughout the region. We seek to expand and enhance the classroom learning experience as well as to create year-round opportunities for social and cultural interaction.
Contact information: firstname.lastname@example.org