History and political science History and political science History and political science

Program requirements

View major/minor requirements,
or browse the full catalog.

Student spotlight

Chris Henry, class of 2013
Bachelor of Arts in history with an emphasis on U.S. and labor history

Chris Henry

Ex-marine Chris Henry plans to take his passion for history into the classroom, providing disadvantaged youth with the opportunities they deserve. Read Chris's story…


Brian Barnes
Rex J. Casillas
Aaron Goings
Fr. Gerard Kirsch, O.S.B.
Richard Langill
Roger Snider

Contact information

Rex Casillas, chair

History Program (M., m.)

Department overviewHistory (M., m.)Political science (M., m.) International relations (m.) Social Action Speaker Series

History is the critical examination of the world's peoples, places, and cultures in the past. History is about getting the big picture of how and why things change. Historians study everything that humans do, including politics, work, religion, social movements, and war. Studying history gives you the ability to make sense of a changing world; it gives you perspective and understanding. Historians learn how to understand complex situations and make sense of them. They learn how to dig to get to the truths beyond the headlines and the news bites and the simple answers. They learn how to understand the past, to make sense of the present: and to shape the future.

Program objectives

In our undergraduate program, we have several objectives:

  • To acquaint students with major issues in world history.
  • To teach students the diversity of human experience within and across nations and cultures.
  • To develop students' critical thinking skills, and teach students how to conduct independent research and critically evaluate diverse sources.

Specializations and concentrations

We believe that geographical, cultural, and temporal specializations are essential to the study of history, and, therefore, our program makes it possible for students to pursue concentrations in American, European, and non-Western history. We also offer courses in African, Asian, Latin American, and Middle Eastern history. The department also offers thematic and methodological courses such as immigration, women's, and labor history.

Class size and access to instructors

We take pride in being a small university with small class sizes and a talented faculty that is focused primarily on instruction. Because of our small class sizes, we are able to maximize possible student access to their instructors, which allows us to develop student writing and research skills.

Internship opportunities

SMU students have ample opportunity to display the skills they acquire at Saint Martin's by working as history interns on campus and in the wider community, as well as during the annual Saint Martin's Scholars' Day presentations and the public presentations of their senior capstone projects.

What can I do with a degree in history?

It is our expectation that graduates from the history program will have excellent oral and written communication skills. Developing these skills will help graduates from the history program secure professional positions as educators and in the field of public history. In part because of the skills students learn within our program, history graduates from Saint Martin's have successfully pursued careers in education, law, journalism, business, government, and social justice.

College of Arts and Sciences