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About the Department

The study of history at Vassar develops a range of skills that can be applied not only to further study but also to a wide variety of careers. Students learn how to track down reliable sources of information, then how to make sense of complex documents and varying viewpoints. In an age of information overload, these tools are more essential than ever.

Students of history at Vassar also enjoy the close mentorship of faculty who help them to become critical thinkers, strong writers and eloquent, incisive speakers. Our graduates aim high, welcome challenges, and stand out on the job market. Read about what some of our alumnae/i are doing after Vassar.

In recent years the department has hired an increasingly diverse faculty and has developed a fully global curriculum, with offerings not only in Europe, the United States, Latin America, and Africa, but also East Asia, Central Asia, and the Middle East. The department continues its tradition of requiring a senior history thesis, which each major completes in consultation with an advisor. 

In the tradition of our predecessors, members of the history faculty continue to believe in a useable past, one that strengthens our grasp of the dreams and struggles of our own world. We aim to help students develop their capacities for independent research, critical analysis, and imaginative synthesis. We vary widely in our teaching approaches; what we share are the convictions that research, teaching, and learning are inextricably linked, and that teachers and students cooperate in the experience of historical inquiry. History majors not only receive a superb education; they leave Vassar carrying intellectual passports that help them explore a lifetime of new realms.