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History at St. Mary’s

history students by St. Louis Hall

The History program at St. Mary’s helps students hone critical thinking, reading, writing and analytical skills that prepare them for success in many fields.

Equipped with a broad perspective of the human experience, History majors go on to pursue careers in law, medicine, military, politics, education, journalism, international relations and business.

  • Degree Plans

    Several degree options are available. Major / bachelor’s degree options include:

    Students selecting this option are required to complete a History thesis for which a tripartite series of courses has been designed to teach and hone the skills necessary for excellence in undergraduate research in history.

    The History thesis constitutes the heart of this undergraduate program, as it requires students to apply the knowledge and skills acquired at St. Mary’s. The History thesis permits students to demonstrate proficiency in the fundamental skills of the historian: research, writing, interpretation and critical thinking.

    Students enroll in the History thesis course in the final semester of their senior year to revise their manuscripts extensively and professionalize their candidacies for employment and graduate programs.

    See the catalog for the full degree plan:

    B.A. in History (Thesis Option)

    Students take an introductory course in Public History and a practicum/internship in a Public History setting. Public history refers to how history is presented and interpreted in non-academic environments.

    It involves not only the historical content but also the approaches, tools and strategies for presentation that enhance the general public awareness of the past and its connection to the present.

    Female student listening to professor

    The contributions of public history may be seen at the national, state, county and local level through historical associations, heritage tourism, museums, public access archives, and online digitized historical information, historic preservation, commissioned histories for historic sites, foundations, corporations and public agencies of many kinds.

    Public historians develop collaborative relationships among historians, community leaders, activists and those interested in preservation of heritage for practical or commercial purposes.

    Through making explicit links between the past and the present, applied history activities enhance tourism, economic development and a general sense of community, which is inspired by knowledge of a shared past.

    See the degree plan:

    Public History track

    Students in this program are not required to take the final courses devoted to the senior thesis.

    History students should speak with the chair of the Department of History or the chair of the Department of Teacher Education about the general requirements for a major in History with Teacher Certification. Specific questions and concerns about the Teacher Education program should be directed to the Department of Teacher Education.

    Teacher Certification

    Students can also pair a history minor with another major:

    Students can also pursue a combined degree, where they earn both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree with tuition discounts:

  • History Courses

    History students take a variety of courses, including the St. Mary’s Core and College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences school core. This better prepares them for success outside the classroom.

    Course highlights include:

    • Historical Writing
    • Historical Analysis: U.S. History to 1877
    • Introduction to Latin American History
    • Historiography, Method and Research

    See the catalog for a list of all courses and descriptions:

  • Undergraduate Research

    All history classes have a component of research, composition, synthesis and presentation to develop critical, creative and writing skills. Each year senior students present their theses at national scholarly research conferences.

    Students also have the opportunity to share their research with the St. Mary’s and the San Antonio community at the annual Undergraduate Research Symposium and Creative Activities Exhibition, held on the St. Mary’s campus.

Outside the Classroom

San Antonio is full of history and culture, from famous attractions like the Alamo and historical missions, to cultural events like Fiesta, a two-week-long celebration in the spring. Students can also choose from a variety of events and activities on campus, and choose to participate in special programs such as:

O’Connor Lecture and Chair

Endowed in 1982 by the Thomas O’Connor family of Victory City, Texas, the O’Connor Chair in the History of Hispanic Texas and the Southwest supports a permanent professor at St. Mary’s University.

During his or her tenure, the O’Connor Professor teaches one course per semester, conducts research, writes and offers periodic lectures to the University and surrounding community.

Besides contributing to scholarly knowledge on the history of Hispanic Texas and the Southwest, O’Connor Chair occupants also provide St. Mary’s students, especially history majors, the opportunity to interact with an active research historian working on a specific ongoing project.

This is of particular value for students writing Senior Theses and those interested in pursuing graduate studies in history. Contact Gerald Poyo, Ph.D., O’Connor Chair, or call 210-436-3703 for more information.

female advisor meets with student in her office

Learn More

We’re eager to hear from you and answer any questions you have! Feel free to reach out to learn more about St. Mary’s University.

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