Mercyhurst University

Thomas B. Hagen Department of History

A degree to lead you wherever 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.



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.



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. 


We asked our students to tell us in five words or less why they love studying history at Mercyhurst.
Image for Chelsea Morris `13
"Graduated with a firm foundation."
Chelsea Morris `13
Image for Keven Gregg `12
“Valuable skills acquisition for teachers.”
Keven Gregg `12
Image for Sydney Van Leeuwen '18
"Everyone loves a good story."
Sydney Van Leeuwen '18
Image for Molly Kennedy
"Enhancing perspectives through historical research."
Molly Kennedy

HIS 233 History of Sports in America

Study how sports vary by culture from indigenous people of the world through the present day, while also focusing on how gender, class and race have shaped sports and its culture in America.

HIS 295 Digital History: Storytelling

Explore local, global and family history storytelling through podcasting, blogging and documentary filmmaking. 

HIS384 History & Memory of the Holocaust

Examine the ways that the Holocaust has been memorialized, historicized, and remembered in museums, literature, and historical scholarship.


Sailing on the U.S.
Brig Niagara

Students experience a journey of a lifetime, setting sail for two weeks on the reconstructed replica of the 19th century warship that sailed and fought during the 1813 Battle of Lake Erie.

‘Erie Places,
Erie Stories’

Students traveled Erie’s streets, photographing the city’s historical buildings and gathering oral histories from local experts. These students contributed to the very first countywide survey of historic buildings in more than three decades.

Recent Internship Locations


Our students have been placed in a variety of internship settings across the country.

A Senior Capstone Documentary


Senior Sydney Van Leeuwen wanted her senior project to be cinematic magic. Professors from history and communication helped her create a cross-disciplinary project: a documentary film about the PA Soldiers and Sailors Home.

Celebrating Women, Black History


Every year, history students are involved in special celebrations such as Women’s History Month and Black History Month. Click on the links above to see what offerings were available to the Mercyhurst campus.

History +


In Digital History: Storytelling, students researched western Pennsylvania history in spring 2017. To mix in a bit of contemporary flair, students recorded their stories for a series of podcasts they dubbed “Hurstories.”

Meet the Faculty

John Olszowka, Ph.D.
Associate Dean, Hafenmaier College, Professor
Benjamin Scharff, Ph.D.
Department Chair, Assistant Professor
Averill Earls, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Faculty Image for 
Chris Magoc
Chris Magoc, Ph.D.