Jul 17, 2024  
2024-2025, 2nd ed. General Catalog 
2024-2025, 2nd ed. General Catalog


Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: Programs by Department

Department Office
Stevenson Hall 3715
(707) 664-2313

For faculty information, please see the History faculty web page.

The study of history involves the study of all human thought and action, ranging from the economic and the political to the psychological and the artistic. Combining the perspectives and methods of the social sciences and the humanities, it seeks to comprehend the problems and challenges faced by individuals and societies in the distant and recent past, nearby and far away. This understanding of the human experience provides the necessary historical perspective to explain the present.

In the process of making sense of our collective and individual past, the student of history develops research, analytical, and communication skills which can be drawn upon in a variety of careers.

The history major is designed both to provide the basis for a solid liberal arts education and to meet the needs of individual students. Within the specific requirements of the major, students receive basic instruction in the history of the United States as well as that of other countries. They are also introduced to methods of historical inquiry, techniques of historical writing and differing philosophies of history and historiography, past and present. Beyond these basic requirements, students may arrange course work to fit their needs and interests. Upper division classes are generally small and offer ample individual attention, guidance, and interaction between students and faculty.

Careers in History

A history major’s skills in historical analysis, writing, and research are highly useful in a variety of careers and professions. The history major provides an excellent background for advanced study in many fields. History majors from Sonoma State have developed careers in journalism, academia, K-12 education, law, business, public consulting and research, social media, museum and records management, genealogy, library science, and government service. Public history is a growing field, with careers in government, museums, and historic parks.

Students who plan to pursue graduate work or a teaching career should seek advising early regarding their plan of study. Prospective K-12 teachers should prepare for the credential program by taking the relevant prerequisites in education, working with young people of the appropriate grade level, and preparing early for the state teacher and content exams. Through the history department internship program, students may earn credit for history-related internships in a wide variety of areas, such as local museums, historical societies, businesses, and schools.

History Department Learning Objectives

The History Department at Sonoma State prepares its students to analyze primary and secondary sources and understand the subjectivities inherent in such texts. During their final year, students must take HIST 498 - Senior Seminar, where they write and orally present twenty- to forty-page research papers, which are based on primary and secondary sources, and which identify key historiography.


  1. Analyze and use primary and secondary sources.
    Students learn to differentiate between primary and secondary sources and to evaluate the reliability of such sources.
  2. Understand historical debate and controversies.
    Students learn to understand diverse interpretations and to examine different sides of historical debates.
  3. Gain an understanding of historiography in given region and time period.
    Students learn to understand the ways historians in given regions and time periods have approached history and how the field has changed as new evidence is uncovered and re-examined.
  4. Understand how to use evidence in writing research papers.
    Students learn to use leading historical journals, texts, and primary sources to examine the ways historians build arguments from evidence. Students in the history program also learn to use proper citations.
  5. Productive skills: writing and oral expression.
    Students hone their writing and speaking skills and learn to articulate an argument regarding key historical events.


Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: Programs by Department