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History

mercyhurst history department

Mission

The mission of the Mercyhurst University History Department begins with engaging students in the rich and rewarding study of past human societies and cultures.  Our courses emphasize the thorough study of both primary sources and secondary-source interpretations of scholars.  Students strengthen their abilities to research, analyze and weigh evidence, and articulate sound conclusions and arguments.  Through extensive writing and discussion opportunities, students are challenged to develop the historical habits of mind that provide them with personal enrichment, equip them to better understand the complex world in which they live, and sustain throughout their lives the spirit of inquiry, curiosity and civic engagement that lies at the heart of the discipline of history.  Further, Mercyhurst History majors acquire knowledge and critical thinking skills that cultivate their development as informed, engaged, and thoughtful citizens.  They are prepared to pursue successful careers as teachers, researchers, writers and journalists, attorneys, non-profit or public service professionals, historians in both the public and private sectors, among many other career tracks.

  • Students will demonstrate an ability to consider, and determine a position on, an historical problem critically.
  • Students will demonstrate a broad understanding of the general characteristics and key developments of major periods of United States, European, and non-western history.
  • Students will demonstrate proficiency with historical sources of information.
  • Students will demonstrate proficiency and maximum fluency in communicating historical knowledge and arguments orally and in writing.
  • Students will demonstrate an understanding of the cultural construction of race, gender, ethnicity and nature in history.
  • Students will demonstrate essential knowledge of material culture scholarship.
  • Students will exhibit an essential understanding of the many dimensions of collecting, preserving and interpreting history for the public.

Internships: Public History and History students at Mercyhurst continually take advantage of the excellent internship opportunities available through our department that provide invaluable “real world” experience for students. Among other locations, students have served their internships at the following locations:
 

  • Antietam National Battlefield
  • Erie Maritime Museum/U.S. Brig Niagara
  • Fort Necessity National Battlefield 
  • Fort Stanwix National Monument
  • George Eastman House International Museum
  • Gettysburg National Battlefield and Military Park
  • Historic Mount Vernon Gardens and Estate
  • Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, Bureau of Design
  • Petrie Museum of Egyptology (London)
  • Plimoth Plantation (MA)
  • Rivers of Steel National Heritage Area
  • San Diego Archaeological Center
  • Thomas Edison Birthplace and Museum
  • United States Holocaust Memorial Museum/Spielberg Film and Video Division

Graduate school: Institutions that have welcomed recent graduates from our program include:

• Yale University
• University College of London
• University of North Carolina, Greensboro
• University of West Florida
• University of Pittsburgh
• George Washington University
• Carnegie Mellon University
• State University of New York, Albany
• Cleveland State University Law School
• Widener University School of Law
• University of the Arts
• West Virginia University
• Duquesne University

• University of New Mexico

Click here to listen to Associate Director of Career Development, Frank Rizzone's Podcast featuring three interns and their amazing experience.


Benjamin Scharff
Assistant Professor of History
Office: Preston 118
Phone: (814) 824-2326


Chris Magoc
Ph.D.
Department Chair, Professor, Associate Dean - School of Social Sciences
Office: Preston 116
Phone: (814) 824-2075


Cindy Nimchuk
Ph.D.
Half-time Faculty
Office: Preston 103
Phone: (814) 824-2404


John Olszowka
Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Office: Preston 107
Phone: (814) 824-3027


Kristin Collins
Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Office: Preston 119
Phone: (814) 824-3611


Randall Howarth
Ph.D.
Professor
Office: Preston 210
Phone: (814) 824-2336