BACHELOR OF ARTS
A degree to lead you where you want to go.
If you’re fascinated by the past, Mercyhurst’s Thomas B. Hagen Department of History can help prepare you for a successful future whether you choose to study traditional history, public history and museum studies, documentary filmmaking, or history paired with secondary education as a path to teaching. The unique and individually tailored aspects of this program will equip you with the abilities to conduct thorough research; to analyze and weigh facts; and to produce sound and eloquent conclusions both orally and in writing.
History majors leave Mercyhurst ready to pursue a wide-range of career paths in teaching, research, journalism, law, public service, or museums and historic sites, among many others. Whatever career you pursue post-graduation, a Mercyhurst history degree will prepare you for the challenges of today’s job market. Students without a concrete career goal in mind are guided to their passions through interactions with dedicated faculty, internships, service opportunities and the Senior Capstone experience.
We try to explore historical sites within the states and abroad as often as possible. We’ve traveled from Pittsburgh, PA, all the way to Rome, Italy, and many places in-between
Many of our majors choose to teach history at the high school level. Recent graduates have secured positions with schools in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Maryland and Virginia
We help facilitate student internships all over the United States and abroad. Our students have interned at such prestigious sites as the Gettysburg National Battlefield, Historic Mount Vernon Gardens and Estate, the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, and the Petrie Museum of Egyptology in London
In an increasingly digital world, historians – particularly those equipped with the tools of digital media, production, and communication – can be at the fore of the movement capitalizing on a broad public audience’s readiness to consume history in myriad formats. This Historical and Documentary Film concentration will instruct students in the application of their developed critical thinking, writing, and research for educational, “edutainment,” and entertainment purposes. Working closely with the Departments of Art and Communications, and incorporating coursework from the existing Film Studies Minor, students will acquire the skills, context, and experience for the production of historical and documentary films.
42 credits total
HIS 294 Digital History: Documentaries
HIS 234 History of Documentary Filmmaking
HIS 494 Senior Project
ART 106 Photography I
COM 240 Digital Video Production I
At least 9 credits in American History
At least 9 credits in Western & World Historical Perspectives
9 credits from the Documentary Filmmaking Electives (ART 231, ART 305, ENG 190, ENG 210, ENG 292, HIS 232, HIS 295, HIS 296, HIS 325, HIS 371, HIS 475, COM 402, COM 440)
The Public History & Museum Studies Concentration prepares students for increasingly attractive careers in such areas as museums, historic site management, business history, and "applied" history in public policy making. Through internships, a Senior Public History Project, and in-class projects, our students take advantage of opportunities to see and experience for themselves what professional public historians do. They have produced museum exhibits, identified and cataloged Civil War artifacts, given tours, produced driving and walking tours of historic sites, and helped to produce exhibition catalogs—to name just a few. Students must complete the Public History curriculum (8 courses, or 24 credit hours), as well as an additional 18 credit hours in History courses. These requirements are dispersed as follows:
- HIS 235 Intro to Public History/Museum Studies
- HIS 236 Intro to Historic Preservation
- HIS 240 Museum Studies II
- HIS 305 American Material Culture/Built Landscape
- HIS 475 Public History Internship
HIS 490 Senior Project in Public History
Two (2) additional courses among the following:
- HIS 238 Intro to Archives and Records Management
- HIS 295 Digital History: Storytelling
- HIS 296 Digital History: 1.0-3.0
- HIS 394 Special Topics in Public History
- ANTH 205 Historical Archaeology
- ANTH 227 Ethnographic Field Methods
- ART 128 Computer Design for Non-Designers OR ART 220 Introduction to Website Design OR ART 1390 Introduction to Gallery Management
- COMM 402 Documentary Film Production
- OL 630 Grant Writing
- GEOL 225 Science on Display/Lab
3 courses (9 credit hours) in American History
3 courses (9 credit hours) in Western and World Historical Perspectives
To complete a History Minor, students must complete a total of 6 History courses (18 credit hours), no more than 2 of which may be at the 100 level.
To complete a Public History Minor, students must complete a total of 24 credit hours, dispersed as follows:
HIS 235 Intro to Public History/Museum Studies
HIS240 Museum Studies II
HIS 305 American Material Culture/Built Landscape
Choose one additional course from the following:
HIS 236 Intro to Historic Preservation
HIS 238 Intro to Archives
HIS 295 Digital History: Storytelling
HIS 296: Digital History: 101 to 3.0
HIS 394: Special Topics in Public History
ANTH 205 Historical Archaeology
ANTH 227 Ethnographic Field Methods
Select one additional course from the following:
HIS 475 Public History Internship
HIS 485 Senior Project in Public History
Plus an additional 3 History courses (9 credit hours).
Students pursuing careers in teaching choose our very successful 4+1 track. In addition to their liberal arts core curriculum, students take extensive course work in history and social studies content areas like political science, sociology, geography and anthropology, as well as two education classes. Students in the 4+1 program complete an enhanced History degree, and then receive their Master's in Education with Social Studies Certification through a fifth year of study at a reduced adult education tuition rate. Students on this track must complete the History Major curriculum of 42 credit hours of History courses, dispersed as follows:
- American History (Minimum 3 courses, or 9 credit hours)
- Western and World Historical Perspectives (Minimum 3 courses, or 9 credit hours)
- Methods (Minimum 1 course, or 3 credit hours)
- Capstone (Minimum 1 course, or 3 credit hours)
- Additional History Electives (Minimum 6 courses, or 18 credit hours)
As well as an Education Content Area (which requires the Education Graduate Coordinator to approve registration):
- WL 101: Culturally/Linguistically Diverse Learners (taken in junior or senior year)
- EDUC 210: Comparative Issues in Education (taken in senior year)
Students are encouraged to take the following courses to prepare them for content training in social studies education:
- PSYC 101: Introduction to Psychology
- SOC 100: Introduction to Sociology
- ECON 105: Macroeconomics (see REACH)
- ANTH 112: World Cultures (see REACH)
- POLI 100: American Government (see REACH)
- Two (2) MATH courses above College Algebra level
- And either POLI 236: World Politics OR POLI 303: Geopolitics
- 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.
U.S. BRIG NIAGARA
Students experience a journey of a lifetime, setting sail for two weeks on the U.S. Brig Niagara, a reconstructed replica of the 19th century warship that sailed and fought during the 1813 Battle of Lake Erie.
Students frequently collaborate on significant community and regional history initiatives, such as You Are Here - We Are Here, a multi-faceted project to document and celebrate the multicultural history of Erie’s Eastside."
Understanding and honoring the rich diversity of human experience is at the heart of our program. Students collaborate on dynamic community projects like the Erie County African American Heritage Trail.
Students often ask the question, “What can I do with a History degree?” The answer is almost anything. Unlike engineering, accounting, sports medicine, nursing and other pre-professional majors, there is no single clear career path for a graduating History major. Instead, History majors develop skills that are highly valued by a variety of employers. At Mercyhurst University our History students become adept at critical thinking, research analysis, communication, and problem solving. As a result our students find employment in a variety of diverse fields following graduation. Whether it’s in education, working at museum, practicing law, or even operating a small business, a Mercyhurst History degree helps prepare students for the challenges of today’s job market.
• 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.
- HIS 101: U.S. History to 1865
- HIS 102: U.S. History Since 1865
- HIS 103: America since 1945
- HIS 211: American Colonial History
- HIS 212: Revolutionary America
- HIS 213: Early Republican America
- HIS 214: Pennsylvania History
- HIS 215: American Indian History
- HIS 216: Civil War and Reconstruction
- HIS 217: Making Modern America, 1877-1920
- HIS 219: World War II
- HIS 221: U.S. Environmental History (cross listed with POLI 221)
- HIS 224: Vietnam War (cross listed with POLI 224)
- HIS 225: Exploring American Culture, 1920-Present
- HIS 226/326: The Turbulent Sixties
- HIS 230: History of the American West
- HIS 232: African Americans in Film
- HIS 233: History of Sports in America
- HIS 235: Introduction to Public History and Museum Studies
- HIS 236: Intro to Historic Preservation
- HIS 238: Intro to Archives and Records Management
- HIS 240: Museum Studies II
- HIS 305: American Material Culture/Built Landscape
- HIS 325: Fear and Film in the Nuclear Age
- HIS 327: The Civil Rights Movement (cross listed with POLI 327)
- HIS 391: Special Topics in American History
Western and World Philosophical Perspectives
- HIS 145: European History to the Renaissance
- HIS 146: European History Since the Renaissance
- HIS 170: World History I
- HIS 171: World History II
- HIS 219: World War II
- HIS 245: Ancient Greece
- HIS 250: 20th Century Europe through Film
- HIS 260: History of Ireland
- HIS 261: British Empire
- HIS 262: Victorian Britain
- HIS 272: Soviet Russia
- HIS 270: 20th Century World History
- HIS 274: Modern Middle East
- HIS 275: Decolonization
- HIS 283: Sex in Modern History
- HIS 293: Special Topics in World History
- HIS 371: Russian Film
- HIS 384: History and Memory of the Holocaust
- HIS 385: Sex, War, and Violence in 20th Century Europe
- HIS 392: Special Topics in European History
- HIS 393: Special Topics in World History
- HIS 295: Digital History: Storytelling
- HIS 296: Digital History: 101 to 3.0
- HIS 301: Historical Methods and Historiography
- HIS 480: Senior Seminar
- HIS 485: Senior Project in Public History
- HIS 490: Senior Thesis
- 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
What Some of Our Graduates are Doing!
Ryan Maloney, Teacher, (2013), Kennedy Catholic High School, Hermitage, PA
Elizabeth Eidnier, (2012), Teacher, Teach For America, Cleveland, OH
Meghan Keener (2012), Teacher, Fairview High School, Fairview Park, OH
Keven Gregg, Teacher, (2012), Charlotte-Mecklenburg School District, Charlotte, NC
Anthony Demarco, (2011), Teacher, Indian River Charter High School, Vero Beach, FL
John Baranowski, Teacher, (2010) Fairfax County School District, Fairfax, VA
Nick Johnson, (2009), Teacher, St. Mary’s County School District, St. Mary’s, MD
Kimberly Damcott, (2004), Teacher, Millcreek School District, Erie, PA
Beth McMullen, (2009), Development Associate Director, Heinz History Center.
Bethany Canfield, (2007), Historian, West Virginia Historic Preservation Office.
Alyssa Magnone, (2011), Historical Archaeologist, Lubbock Lake [TX] National Historic
Carolyn Carlins, (2012) Education/Interpretation Landmark, Phipps Conservatory & Botanical Gardens, Pittsburgh, PA
Emma Simmons, (2013), Intern, Pennsylvania Trolley Museum, Pittsburgh, PA
Amanda Stafford (2013): Interpretive Staff, Museum of Innovation and Science, Schenectady, NY
Kaitlin Ammon (2008): Director, Sam Bell Maxey Historic Site, Paris, Texas
Annette Kluding (2006): Director, Maritime Museum of Sandusky, Ohio
Steve Bukowski, (2012) Director, Interpretive Services, Thinking Outside the Square, Buffalo, NY
Kayann Warner, (2014), Preservation Assistant, Wise Preservation Planning LLC, Erie, PA
Elizabeth Kostrencic, (2011), Visitor Services, United States Capitol Building, Washington, DC
Erin Hramada, (1995), Historian, United States House of Representatives, Washington, DC
Nick Stolar, (2013), Officer, Pennsylvania State Police
Corrie Thearle, (2006), Attorney, Juvenile Division of Alleghany County Office of Conflict Counsel, Pittsburgh, PA
Brian Cagle, (2005), Attorney, Pepicelli, Youngs & Youngs, Meadville, PA
Patrick Ebner (2005), Attorney at Law, Steuer, Escovar, Berk & Brown
Zac Ufnar, (2007), National Recruitment Coordinator, Lasallian Volunteers, Washington, DC
Adrienne Houseman, Direct Support Specialist, Lakeshore Community Services, Erie, PA
John Hermann, Jr., (2015), Organizer, AmeriCorps VISTA, Syracuse, NY
Kylie McCormick (2013): Director of Youth and Family Ministries, First Presbyterian Church, Pasadena, CA.
Megan Rulli (2008) Farm Manager, Piney Mountain Orchard, Gardners, PA
Melora Whalen, (2012), Client Service Representative, Foundation Software, Cleveland, OH
Austin Ewing, (2010), Product Owner, MxToolBox, Web Data Analysis, Austin, TX
Tori Pepicello, (2011), Traffic Manager, Culmulus Broadcast Media, Erie, PA
Holly Krieser, (2012), Regulatory Specialist, Reckitt Benckiser Pharmaceuticals, Richmond, VA
Chuck Will, (2008), Owner, Afton Landscape Supply, Erie, PA
Nicholas DePalma, (2009), Owner, Oliver Street Bakery, North Tonawanda, NY
Courtney Drennen, (2009), Assistant Coach, Pennsylvania State University, Women’s Ice Hockey Team
Ashley Harper (2011), Graduate Assistant Coach, Stevenson University Women’s Hockey Team
Thurman Schaetzle (2011): Assistant Coach, Gannon University Men's Basketball Team
Allan Downey, (2007), PhD, Academic Associate in Indigenous Studies at the McGill University Institute for the Study of Canada (MISC), Montreal, Canada
Angela Phillips (2008): International Student Admissions Counselor, Mercyhurst University
Eric Buetikofer (2007): Director of Military and Veteran Affairs, University of Toledo
The Mercyhurst University History Club creates opportunities for students and professors to nurture and enrich their passion for history and come together outside of the classroom setting. The club strives to make the campus aware of the importance and relevance of history through trips, educational speakers, films, fundraisers, and other special events. It encourages a democratic atmosphere of spirited, open debate in its meetings, and always seeks to advance its central goal of a better understanding of the past.
Past Club Trips:
Fort Niagara & Buffalo, NY, 2015
Washington, D.C., 2013
Washington, D.C., 2011
Antietam Battlefield/Harpers Ferry, 2009
Washington, D.C., October 2007
Rome&Naples, March 2007
Dr. Averill Earls
Students in the history department are encouraged to join Alpha Eta Alpha, the Mercyhurst chapter of Phi Alpha Theta , a National Honor Society devoted to promoting the study of history. The society, which was established in 1921 at the University of Arkansas, recognizes students for outstanding academic achievement and promotes the study of history through research, teaching, and publication.
Membership in Alpha Eta Alpha is open to all Mercyhurst students regardless of major, but students must meet the following academic requirements:
- Completed at least 12 credit hours in history courses (four courses).
- Possess at least a 3.1 GPA or better in history courses.
- Possess an overall GPA of 3.0 or better.
Dr. Benjamin Scharff
PAT Regional Conference at Thiel College, April 2017
- Panel Prize Winner – Juliet Hilburn, “Opening the Closet: World War Two’s Impact on the Emergence of Gay Culture in 20 th Century America”
- Kathryn Schmitt,“Hiding in Plain Sight: The Lives of LGBT Individuals in the American West”
- Alexander Feasley, “The Origin of Manifest Destiny in the Early American Republic”
- Sydney Van Leeuwen, “Custer’s Last Stand(s)”
PAT Regional Conference at Westminster College, PA, April 2015
- Kathryn Loops, "Soviet Reproductive Population Policy, (1917-1955)"
- Kelsey Simonsen, "Sisters in Solitude: The Common Effects of Vatican II on the Women Religious of the Erie Catholic Diocese"
- Sara Fox, "Anti-Semitic Portrayals of Jesus in Renaissance Art"
- Thomas Matheson, "Timidity and Tet: Why American Leaders were Unprepared for the Countrywide Offensive"
- Jessica Hillburn, "A Happy Family:" The Charles Horn Silk Mill as a Case Study in Small Town Employer Paternalism"
- Christopher Lilley, "Japanese-American Internment: Effects on Familial Relations"
- Stefani Baughman, "Hezbollah, Hamas, and the Arab-Israeli Peace Process"
- Dreana Ferguson, "It was Science, After All:" Anthropologists' Role in the Holocaust"
- Angela Gallagher, "Art Censorship and Dictatorship: The Parallel Case of Hitler's Reich and Soviet Russia"