The program in History is designed to provide a firm foundation in the histories of Western civilization, American society and culture, and East Asian and Middle Eastern cultures. The department is especially strong in social, cultural and intellectual history and emphasizes an understanding of the nature of historical inquiry, an exposure to the variety of historical interpretations and an ability to think historically, as this contributes to an understanding of human experience, personal self-awareness and global citizenship.
The breadth of history and its interrelatedness with other disciplines make the study of history a significant part of a liberal arts education. The ability to gather evidence that pertains to a problem, to analyze this material critically, and to present an interpretive argument about it cogently and succinctly is also valuable background for most professional careers. Willamette history majors gravitate to graduate study in the discipline, in law and in education, as well as to government service, business and the church. It is noteworthy that recent history majors have done very well in gaining admission to graduate schools in history and to graduate programs in law, business administration and theology.