Why Study History at Westminster?
- History touches all aspects of human life and society. Majors are encouraged not to focus on narrow specialized topics but to understand the complexity of past and present events and examine the interrelationship of factors such as politics, war, economics, art, race, gender, and religion.
- Studying history helps develop your ability to think critically, weigh evidence, and put forward concise arguments both orally and written—crucial skills to success in a host of demanding and stimulating careers.
- Westminster history classes offer small, informal classes in which professors play close attention to your individual needs and significant student contributions and discussions are prevalent (upper level courses typically have fewer than 10 students and senior seminars typically 4-6 students. Professors get to know you well and lasting friendships often develop between students and their mentors.
- Westminster history faculty are highly knowledgeable and extremely accessible. They have more than 60 years of teaching experience among them and have written five books and countless articles. Their expertise ranges from American foreign relations to internal race relations…from German history to South American history…ensuring that class discussions are always lively and ever changing with current events and recent historical trends.
Every student, no matter what the personal interests, can find a topic of study because no class is ever the same two years running. This diversity of study provides a wide range of classes. The Westminster history program is also unique in its thesis program. All majors learn the skills needed to write a graduate-level thesis. Employers, law schools, and graduate schools see this as an attractive addition to your education, giving you a head start over other college graduates. Recruiters know you are capable of graduate level work.
Students have formed a History Club, and Westminster has a Phi Alpha Theta chapter of the national history honor society. They sponsor lectures, show films, and visit local archives. Many of the theses written as a part of the major experience for seniors bring fascinating research and thoughts together on subjects such as The Knights Templar, Basque Nationalism and Sam Adams and the Pre-Revolutionary Pamphlets.
Westminster history students are graced with the presence of a Fulbright-Robertson Visiting Professor of British History every year, giving them to opportunity to learn British History from a native of the country. Westminster students not only study history; they experience it. Since Sir Winston Churchill delivered his famous “Iron Curtain” speech on campus in 1946, a constant procession of world leaders such as Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher, and Mikhail Gorbachev have come here to give prophetic speeches and interact with the college community. Students recently enjoyed a one-on-one visit with former British Prime Minister John Major and were right in the middle of the 2004 Presidential election with visits from both Vice President Dick Cheney and U.S. Senator John Kerry. Westminster also features a 16th century English church transported from London brick-by-brick to campus to commemorate Churchill, one of the largest sections of the Berlin Wall in the World, and a state-of-the-art Churchill Museum with exhibits rivaling those of the Smithsonian. Westminster will give you an international dimension and window on the world unmatched by any peer institutions. What better place to study history than a college that has made history on so many occasions.
Westminster history graduates go on to work in all levels of government, become teachers, enter business management or sales careers, or go to graduate or law school, to name just a few professions. Former majors are working as political advisors, U.S. Senate staff members, business and government consultants, FBI and CIA personnel, Supreme Court justices, or jobs in federal and state agencies such as the Department of the Interior. Westminster history graduates include a Chief Justice of the Missouri Supreme Court as well as an Associate Justice and FBI and CIA analysts.
“The history major at Westminster has allowed me to pursue an academic discipline which I love and has fully prepared me for graduate school and a future career as an historian. The history major also offers diverse and interesting classes as well as excellent professors who are always willing to assist and advise students.” Rowan Steineker, ’09.
For more information, contact:
Dr. Sam Goodfellow, Chair