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Department of History

College of Humanities and Sciences

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historical figures such as frederick douglas, maggie walker, abraham lincoln, and king tut with the robert e. lee statue graffitied from summer 2020 black lives matter protests in the center [View Image]

Why study history?

The study of history begins with questions, not answers. We seek to know what happened in the past, and we also seek to understand why.

As our present-day context raises new challenges for our communities, historians are inspired to ask new questions about the past, seeking understanding of a broad variety of human experiences. Historians explore questions about past politics and economics, intellectual developments, social concerns shaped by race, gender and class, and facets of culture ranging from arts and languages to human spaces and emotions. As a result, the study of history is dynamic, rather than static, and those trained in this discipline develop valuable skills in gathering, evaluating, connecting and interpreting factual information, and in the use of evidence to argue persuasively for their conclusions.

Learn more about what historians do and why employers value these skills.


Dylan Seay frame one / Emmet Angle-Davis fram two [View Image]

Nov 11, 2021

Coming Back Together: Student perspectives

Hear from students Dylan Seay of the Alexandrian Society and Emmet Angle-Davis of History Now about the importance of in-person get-togethers, and what they have learned by navigating through the difficulty of the pandemic.

history now students on a tour of hollywood cemetery [View Image]

Nov 9, 2021

Coming Back Together: History Now’s Fall Revival

We’re so pleased to be back! History Now has been a vital way to forge connections within the history department’s undergraduate student community. See what they’ve been up to recently.

frame one: john lemza / frame two: ryan o'hallahan [View Image]

Nov 8, 2021

Recognizing Those Who Served: VCU History Department

In recognition of Veterans Day, history student Nyah Graham interviewed two members of the VCU History Department staff – adjunct instructor John Lemza, Ph.D. and undergraduate student advisor Ryan O’Hallahan, both of whom served in the U.S. military.

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History Spotlight

Meet Sophie

Sophie Crago has a passion for learning and understanding our past. Visit our 'Meet a Student' page to read more about Sophie's favorite classes, favorite professors, and what she plans to do with her bachelor's degree in history.

Sophie Crago [View Image]


Collaboration and sharing are at the core of our mission.

“Memory,” a 22-foot-tall statue of a woman in grief. [View Image]

Shrine of Memory/Vietnam KIAs Research Presentations

Date: Monday, Dec 6, 2021

Join us on December 6 at the Virginia War Memorial to listen to VCU M.A. history students talk about their research on eight fallen Vietnam soldiers from Virginia.
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