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About the Department

Submitted by a.lajeunesse on Mon, 07/20/2009 - 5:21pm

Message from Dr. Mark Konnert, Head, Department of History

Welcome to the Department of History of the University of Calgary! We are a community of twenty-five faculty members, several professors emeriti and adjunct professors, more than fifty graduate students, and about three hundred undergraduate majors and honours students. Not only do we all share a passion for the study of the past, we firmly believe that the study of history has contemporary relevance and is an excellent preparation for a wide range of careers.

Our department is one of the top teaching and researching units in the Faculty of Arts. Our professors and instructors regularly lead the Faculty and the University in student evaluations and have won numerous teaching awards. We are among the faculty leaders in external grants from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada and other granting agencies.

The scholars in our department research a wide range of topics over vast spans of time and across diverse regions. Our research specialities include politics and government, warfare and diplomacy, social and cultural development, gender and sexuality, and religious beliefs and practices from the Middle Ages to the present in Canada, the US, Europe, Latin America, Africa, and Asia. For more information on the research specialties of our faculty members, please see the “Research” tab above.

The Department of History has been committed to the University’s “Eyes High” vision and strategy with its goal of becoming one the top five research universities in the country. We are especially committed to its vision of integrating teaching and research and of community engagement.

The Department of History also administers two interdisciplinary programs: the Canadian Studies Program (CNST), and the Latin American Studies Program. For further information, click on “Canadian Studies” or “Latin American Studies” to the left.

One of the themes of the University of Calgary’s Strategic Research Plan is “Human Dynamics in a Changing World.” This is what we as historians do: evaluate change and continuity in human societies over time, not only to establish “what happened,” but why it happened, and what it meant. History is NOT the rote memorization of dates and facts, but rather the use of those facts to approach as closely as possible the reality of the past, AND to show how the past has shaped the present.

History students learn how to access and assess the data of the past, to interrogate that data in answering questions about the past, to analyze their findings, and to communicate their analysis to a broader audience. These are skills that are in demand from many employers and are applicable to a wide range of careers, in education, business, journalism, government, law, and the non-profit sector. For more information on careers, see “What Can I Do With My History Degree?” on the left. For an idea of what our graduates have pursued as careers and how their history training prepared them, please click on “Our Graduates” on the left. Be sure to check back periodically to see what else may have been added!

It is fashionable these days to denigrate education in the social sciences and humanities, including history, as useless in real life. “What are you going to do with THAT?” people ask. Time and time again, however, actual research has shown that social sciences and humanities graduates not only keep up with, but in many ways surpass the career goals of those in more occupationally-oriented disciplines. For samples of this research and literature, please click on “Think Liberal Arts Degrees Are Useless?” on the left. Again, check back occasionally, as it will be updated periodically. And don’t forget to subscribe to our Twitter feed: @ucalgaryhist.

History degrees are very flexible and can be easily combined with most other majors. Many of our courses are vital parts of many interdisciplinary programs and many students in other majors find that history courses are valuable as options. Few of our courses have prerequisites, which means that it is relatively easy for students in other programs to fit history courses into their timetable.

Effective 1 July 2015, new requirements for the undergraduate major came into effect. Students who began their History degree before then may complete their degrees following either the old or the new requirements. If you are considering changing your program from the old to the new requirements, consult with an undergraduate advisor in the Arts Students' Centre to ensure that you understand the full implications of this change for your undergraduate degree.

The University of Calgary is a great place for graduate study in history. Our program is relatively small which means that our MA and PhD students get lots of individual attention from their supervisors. We offer competitive funding and a supportive environment for graduate students to become full members of the historical profession. Many of our MA graduates go on to do doctorates at universities in Canada, the United States, and Britain. Since the founding of our doctoral program in the early 1990s, we have seen almost forty doctorates to completion. Many of our PhD graduates teach at universities and colleges across Canada and the United States; others have found careers in the federal and provincial governments, in industry, or in the foundation and non-profit sector. Again, for more information, click on “Our Graduates” to the left.

Whether you are a prospective undergraduate or graduate student, a current student, or someone who shares our interest in history, you will find much useful information on these pages. Here we describe our undergraduate and graduate programs and present information about our courses, while faculty members tell about their research projects.

We invite you to the public colloquiums that we hold throughout the fall and winter semesters. Please join us and share our passion for studying the past.



 Mark Konnert

Professor and Head