The Department of History at Rhodes has a national reputation for preparing students to think critically about the historical forces that have shaped the world’s civilizations and cultures, to see the links between the past and the present, to become clear and effective writers and speakers, and to apply their knowledge as thoughtful citizens of the world. A wide range of course offerings, internships, fellowships, and research opportunities empower students to prepare for success in any career path which they choose and to find their place within the ongoing human story.
Designed for students who want to pursue the professional work of historians, we also offer a concentration in Public History -- one of a very few undergraduate program of its kind in the nation. Students fully engage in the work of historic preservation, museum studies, or library and archive studies. Unique courses and experiences prepare students for professions or graduate training in the field through hands-on internships with our community partners. In these internships, students work behind-the-scenes of some of Memphis’ premiere public history institutions helping to research, create, and maintain displays; working to restore, digitize, and publish one-of-a-kind archival material; giving tours; and promoting the work of their internship institution within the city. Students work closely with professionals in the field to develop the skills of a public historian. And they talk with members of the public about history, bringing the past to life for Memphians and the millions of tourists who come to the Bluff City.
Decades’ worth of data gathered by the Rhodes College Alumni Office shows how Rhodes History alumni have succeeded in an amazingly wide range of occupations from filmmaking and urban planning to museums and teaching at the university level. Our graduates work as members of the clergy, account executives, business managers, musicians, journalists, members of the US military, counselors, business analysts, marketers, librarians and archivists, coaches, IT specialists, pilots, social workers, brokers, Peace Corps veterans, real estate developers, non-profit executives, artists, flight attendants, restauranteurs, land use planners -- and that’s just the beginning.
History Course Numbering
History 100-level courses. History courses at the 100 level are introductory topics designed with first-year students and sophomores in mind but are open to all students at Rhodes who are interested in learning more about the topic or the study of History. History 105 is a writing intensive seminar focused on specific topics and fulfills one of the “written communication” requirements (F2i) under the Foundations Curriculum. These courses also fulfill the “historical forces” (F3) requirement. History 165 often fulfills Foundations, but varies with the topic. Students may repeat these courses for credit toward the History major and minor if the topic is different.
History 200-level courses. These courses cover a broad chronological span or large geographical area and are introductory in nature. In addition to mastering course content, students will begin to learn to think historically through interpretive writing assignments that require them to draw from and engage with course material and readings. Such courses are open to all students and normally fulfill the "historical forces" Foundation (F3) requirement. Several of these courses also fulfill other Foundations, including "meaning and value" (F1), "institution and society" (F8), and "cultural perspectives" (F9).
History 300-level courses. These courses focus on specific topics or time periods, while paying significant attention to historiography. Students are required to make a significant oral presentation. Sophomore standing is required for these courses, unless otherwise noted. Several of these courses also fulfill Foundation requirements, including "meaning and value" (F1), "literary texts" (F4), and "cultural perspectives" (F9).
History 400-level courses. These courses focus on specific topics or time periods, while paying significant attention to historiography. Students are required to complete a substantive research paper in which they engage substantially with primary sources. Sophomore standing is required for these courses.