Academics > History

History

History, the most comprehensive of the liberal arts, covers just about everything: art and ideas, technology and religions, politics and putting food on the table. Every human endeavor has a history and, as a history student, you have the opportunity to study all of these ideas and more as they've unfolded around the globe and over time.

History is about the past, but it is more than the dusty record of events written in books. History is about ideas and arguments; it is about how we know what we do and about analyzing the evidence of what happened in the past in order to understand it, both on its own terms and as a guide to comprehending where we find ourselves today, as people of different backgrounds, races, sexes, and identities. While historians do concern themselves with questions of who and when and where, they also love the question why?: What motivated people to do what they did? How can we make sense of the connections between various influences, ideas, and people? In other words, studying history at Coe is much more than names and dates—it is about understanding human beings, indeed, understanding ourselves, through time and across space. The study of history is truly one of the most exciting areas of inquiry that you can choose, and it is a wonderful major or minor at Coe.

In the Coe History Department, you get the opportunity to study history broadly, while also focusing on your specific interests. The classes are small and lively, with plenty of opportunities to know your professors and peers. You'll learn to read and you'll learn to think. You'll learn how to make connections and you'll learn how to express yourself, both orally and in writing. And after an exciting four years in college, you'll also be ready to make your future, prepared in the liberal arts tradition to learn quickly, communicate clearly, and build a rewarding career and life in whatever field you choose.


10 Reasons to study History at Coe:

  1. Small class sizes, consistently:
    Discuss, get your questions answered, know your classmates, and thrive.
  2. Close relationships with faculty members who are experts in their fields and know you personally:
    Helpful advising, supportive friendship, and then the sort of recommendation letters that will open doors to your future.
  3. Course offerings, both deep and wide:
    Study your special interests in many different courses, while also stretching from the ancient to the modern and from Asia to Europe to the Western Hemisphere.
  4. Great internship opportunities in a vibrant, but approachable city:
    From historic sites to federal courthouses to multinational corporations, Cedar Rapids is big enough to have it all, but small enough for you to make real connections.
  5. Abundant off-campus study opportunities:
    Go for a semester or a year to any place under the sun, or travel with Coe faculty and classmates in our student schedule and budget-friendly May Term Program.
  6. Practical liberal arts skills, from reading to writing to analysis:
    Truly, these skills will make you professionally valuable in all kinds of fields and for the rest of your life.
  7. Opportunities to research what you love:
    In research seminars and senior theses, take the opportunity to work one-on-one with an expert to learn more about whatever interests you (trust us, it is all covered in a discipline as comprehensive as history).
  8. Connecting the U.S. Midwest to Asia:
    Coe has many connections to the world's largest continent, from history courses to Coe's Asia Term and May Terms each spring, to many alumni teaching English in Thailand and Japan. If you love Asia, Coe College and the History Department are great places to be!
  9. A fun group of students and peers:
    From History Club to classes to the stairs in Hickok Hall, you'll be surrounded by fellow history and humanities students who will make you laugh, make you think, and make your time here among the best years of your life (a truism, but it is nonetheless true).
  10. If you love history, and people, and learning about the world, you will thrive focusing on that for four years at Coe:
    And from your genuine interest will come genuine motivation and the successful college career that comes with that.