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Learn history - and make it too. Exploring the past helps you understand today’s world and it prepares you for many career options: teaching, public service, science, business, journalism, law & more.

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Undergraduate programs


Undergrad major Undergrad minor

The study of history is more than a window into the past. A good history education will help you understand the present and how you, as an individual and global citizen, can improve the future.

In UWL's history program, you'll discover how societies originated and explore cultural, political, social, and economic perspectives across time and space. You'll see how past experiences inform who you are and recognize your role in historical change.

Areas of study

Regional Emphasis

The regional emphasis history major allows students to specialize in one region or time period from history, while still accumulating a broad foundation in the survey-level and professionalizing courses that make up the core history experience. 

Undergrad major View a sample plan for Regional In-depth detailsfor Regional Catalogfor Regional

Topical Emphasis

Students in the history major with topical emphasis in cultural and social history will study the history of cultural and social forces embodied in movements and organizations; art, literature, and film; areas of human experience including apparel, architecture, and culinary practices; and the various commercial media in our daily lives. Students will learn how social and cultural phenomena have historically affected and structured the material and intellectual environment in connection with ethical concerns involving political and economic questions.

Undergrad major View a sample plan for Topical In-depth detailsfor Topical Catalogfor Topical

World History

The history major with a world history emphasis is the most comprehensive of the history majors, with requirements that diversify the degree to cover as much of the world as can be done in a 40-credit undergraduate degree.

Undergrad major View a sample plan for World History In-depth detailsfor World History Catalogfor World History

Broadfield Social Studies Education

Undergrad major Teacher license

The Broadfield Social Studies Education programs provide undergraduate content and skills-based training for teacher candidates seeking to teach social studies in grades 4-12. The program prepares candidates to teach all the disciplines associated with social studies, including economics, geography, history, political science, psychology, and sociology.

Areas of study

History Concentration

The broadfield social studies education major: history concentration is intended for those who intend to seek licensure in the grades 4-12 developmental range. It provides a grounding in the core courses of the history major, as well as a foundation in four categories of history covering much of the world and its time periods

Undergrad major Teacher license View a sample plan for History Catalogfor History

Political Science Concentration

Political science is the study of governments, policies, institutions, and the behavior of participants in the political world. Broadfield social studies education: political science concentration students are prepared to teach a range of civics, social studies, and government courses. This major prepares students to earn a Wisconsin teaching license for grades 4-12 in the six subjects of social studies: economics, geography, history, psychology, political science, and sociology.

Undergrad major Teacher license View a sample plan for Political Science Catalogfor Political Science

Sociology Concentration

Sociology is the study of human groups and how the group influences social behavior. Students in the broadfield social studies education major: sociology concentration can be licensed to teach through the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction. This major prepares students to earn a Wisconsin teaching license for grades 4-12 in the six subjects of social studies: economics, geography, history, psychology, political science, and sociology.

Undergrad major Teacher license View a sample plan for Sociology Catalogfor Sociology

Featured courses

  • Schools and Learning in Social Studies and Field Experience I
    HIS 304 | 2 credits
    This course will be integrated with a field experience for secondary social studies teachers and provide a forum for students to consider both the theories and practices of teaching. A significant portion of this course will be dedicated to collaborative reflection and discussion of teacher candidates' experiences in their field placements. Teacher candidates will design, enact, and assess activities to enhance student learning. Teacher candidates will work together to create a collegial and supportive community of educators. Assignments are designed to support reflective practice and to critically analyze teacher candidates' development as educators. A multi-day, consistent schedule in the middle school field experience classroom will be established by the course instructor in consultation with the teacher candidate and cooperating teacher. Prerequisite: EDS 203, EDS 206; admission to teacher education. Consent of department. Offered Fall, Spring.
  • Secondary Content Methods for Teaching English Language Learners
    HIS 402 | 3 credits
    This course will explore the importance of teaching content to English Language Learners (ELs) at the secondary (grades 4-12) level. Students enrolled in the course will examine the various methods and teaching strategies that can be utilized to best teach students with limited English proficiency (LEP) while at the same time working to develop English language literacy. The primary method to be taught is called Specially Designed Academic Instruction in English (SDAIE). Prerequisite: EDS 203, EDS 206; admission to teacher education. Offered Spring.
  • Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment in Social Studies Education
    HIS 403 | 3 credits
    This course will introduce pre-service education majors to the foundational concepts, theories, and strategies associated with social studies and history education. Topics to be introduced include lesson planning and learning segment design, variations of assessing student work, content literacy, teaching for social justice, theoretical approaches to social studies and history education, and instructional methods. Prerequisite: HIS 110; EDS 203, EDS 206. Offered Fall.
  • Survey of Ancient and Medieval Worlds
    HIS 230 | 3 credits
    An historical survey of the civilizations of West Asia, North Africa, and Europe from the advent of urbanization in 4000 BC to the beginning of the Renaissance (ca. 1300 AD). Topics discussed will be the nature and status of women, ethnic and religious minorities, the importance of geography and technology. Special emphasis will be placed on studying historical themes that have survived to the present day. Offered Spring.
  • Survey of Asia
    HIS 250 | 3 credits
    This course will introduce students to various aspects of Asian history with special focus on the Modern period (post-1800). In particular, it will compare the political, social and economic structures as well as the religious/philosophical underpinnings of Asian countries, including China, Japan, Korea, Vietnam, India and Indonesia. Offered Fall - Odd Numbered Years.
  • U.S. Reform Movements
    HIS 308 | 3 credits
    An exploration of moral and political reform and the reform impulse in the United States. Reform topics will include women's rights, antislavery, civil rights, temperance, populism, social and economic justice, and progressivism. Offered Occasionally.
  • Native American History
    HIS 310 | 3 credits
    This course is a survey of Native American history in North America from the prehistoric era through the twentieth century, with an emphasis on the United States. This course will focus on Native American cultural, political, and economic structures, as well as patterns and strategies of coexistence with and resistance to European and European American communities. Offered Spring - Every Third Year.
  • Introduction to Public and Policy History
    HIS 320 | 3 credits
    An introduction to public and policy history. Class time will be devoted to the background, methods and application of public and policy history. The class will cover topics in cultural resource management, public policy, or museum exhibits. Offered Fall.
  • Sugar, Coffee, Rubber, Bananas: Commodities in World History
    HIS 338 | 3 credits
    This course examines the history of everyday commodities that we consume or use, often without considering where they came from (sugar, coffee, rubber, bananas). It centers on the development of plantation-style agriculture in the Americas, Caribbean, Southeast Asia, and Africa from the 1600s-1930s CE. Power relationships between laborers, landowners, colonial governments, and consumers are examined in order to connect trade goods to the historical societies in which they were produced. A particular emphasis is placed on links between European imperialism, labor migration, and inequality. Offered Every Third Semester.
  • Ireland and the World: 1500-present
    HIS 414 | 3 credits
    The history of Ireland has long held the imagination of people throughout the English-speaking world. The written record of the so-called "Land of Scholars and Saints" is indicative of the Irish people's literacy and is reflective of the great deal of interest paid to its history. Ireland's history is one filled with tragedy, complexity, redemption, revolution and rebellion, nationalism, intellectualism, and imperialism. Weaving through this historical narrative is the constant struggle regarding sectarianism, matters of gender and sexuality, economy, emigration, violence, and ethnicity. The relative smallness of Ireland allows the historian - and history student - to examine a wide variety of themes without sacrificing any of the nation's narrative. It is the overarching goal of this course to explore all these themes while analyzing the narrative of modern Ireland. Offered Alternate Years.
  • Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
    HIS 361 | 3 credits
    This course examines the history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, focusing on its origins, the actors involved, and key social and political factors that have shaped it. Offered Occasionally.