Why History?

The study of history is a vital component in the creation of an innovative, humane, prosperous and free civic society in which individuals can participate as active, informed citizens. Through the close reading of texts and the exploration of historical context, through research, writing and discourse, students engage with their past, each other and the world around them and are encouraged to participate actively in civic and cultural life.  More than ever History remains essential for the formation of a well-informed, active, productive and responsible citizenry. Much more than just a dialogue with the past, the study of History enables the student better to engage with the present and to prepare for the future.

Why study History at Vancouver Island University?

Our curriculum is designed to provide students with a broad, comprehensive education in history. We offer a Bachelor of Arts degree with the option of a major or minor in a variety of areas of study that reflect the diversity and wide-ranging expertise and experience of our faculty: Canada, Europe, the United States, World, Popular Culture, Colonial and Imperial History and more. The lower-level courses (100 and 200) offer introductory surveys. As students progress in their chosen fields of interest during their third and fourth years, taking 300 and 400 level courses, their studies become more focused and in-depth. In order to increase the diversity of courses offered, upper level courses typically rotate on a two year basis.

All members of the department are committed to excellence in teaching and learning, service and research. We strive to provide a learner-centred environment that fosters the intellectual growth and development of our students. Small class sizes, a collegial atmosphere, and personal mentoring of students as they make their way through our program, have helped to create a unique learning environment at VIU.

Undergraduate students can also make significant contributions to innovative historical knowledge and research projects, such as the Canadian Letters & Images Project [CLIP], which is based at Vancouver Island University. CLIP is an online archive of the Canadian war experience, from any war, as told through the letters and images of Canadians themselves. Student assistants with CLIP help to organize, transcribe, and digitize the original records that form this online archive.

What History Can Do For You.

Skill development is a priority in our department. Throughout their studies students read primary and secondary texts designed to impart knowledge and critical understanding of the areas of study and to engage with different methodologies, approaches and historical perspectives. Students explore historical context and different interpretations of texts, further honing their critical thinking skills. Each course also requires students to submit a variety of different writing assignments that may include primary source analyses, book reviews, historiographical papers and research essays, in which students develop their analytical and communication skills in the pursuit of independent research.

The study of history also provides excellent preparation for many various professional careers and graduate studies. Many of our students have enjoyed great success in graduate school, whether in History or other disciplines. The skills acquired through the History program are also essential prerequisites for successful careers in a number of vital areas, including teaching, public service, law, journalism, research and public history, NGOs, consultancy – the possibilities are endless! And check out our News and Events page to answer that perennial question, What Can You Do With a Degree in History?