The Washington and Lee history department provides students with a better understanding of their world through a disciplined examination of people and events of the past. Members of the department teach factual information, but they primarily convey the significance of scholarly debates and different interpretations of history. They instill a rich appreciation of the past that makes possible an intelligent understanding of the present and the ability to make informed choices in the future.
As a major in history you will both focus in a particular area, and explore areas outside that focus. You will proceed from introductory courses offered in many regions and periods of history, to advanced seminars, research and writing.
A major in history leading to a Bachelor of Arts degree requires completion of 36 credits in history, including the following:
HONORS: The History Department offers Honors in History for qualified students
A Little of Our Own History—
Washington and Lee University was one of the first colleges to offer a program in the "new" field of history. Prior to the Civil War it was rare to find a professor of history on an American college campus. That changed in Lexington with the arrival of R.E. Lee as President in 1865. Lee and his faculty expanded the "sphere of the college operations" when he appointed W&L’s first Professor of History and Literature.
In 1868 a specific department of history emerged, focusing on ancient and modern history, with readings from Gibbon, Hume, McCauley, Arnold, Guizot, and other classic authors. During the late 1880s, offerings expanded to include specialized ("more minute") studies in English and Virginia history. By the early 20th century the department offered "conferences" or seminars in American history with the "preparation of papers" based on "original research." By 1910 the department, the curriculum, and the catalogue took on a modern look with new surveys and advanced courses in ancient, medieval, early modern, French, English, and American history.
The field of history continued, of course, to expand and deepen. In the late 1960s the department added courses in African history, in the mid '70s East Asian history, in the mid '80s Latin American history and women's history, in the '90s African-American history, and more recently Islamic history. In addition to the established "20th century" disciplines in the study and teaching of history -- military, political, economic, social and cultural, and intellectual -- the department now includes scholars who study history in relation to ethnicity, gender, science, and the environment.
* AP and IB credits
an AP score of 5 in American History confers 3 100-level credits. You may take any 100 level course except 107 and 108
an AP score of 5 in European History confers 3 100-level credits. You may take any 100 level course except 101 and 102
an IB score of 5, 6, or 7 confers 3 credits of 100-level HU elective, if there is no AP credit