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History - Overview

Making sense of today's world and planning for tomorrow are impossible without an understanding of what happened yesterday. At the University of Waterloo, studying history will broaden your perspective and deepen your understanding of the world, while enhancing your analytical skills and powers of expression. The historian investigates the many aspects of life and culture, from economics to philosophy, from politics to art and music. How and why people have thought and acted as they did, where one can find the causes of change and continuity, and what aspects of the past matter for the present age are the abiding questions of history. Training in history inculcates a high level of critical skill. It sharpens judgement; it fosters imagination and originality; it broadens perspective on the past and understanding of the present; it helps develop writing and oral communication skills. Historians are to be found wherever breadth, independence of thought, and vision are prized: in politics, law, business, in cultural concerns from libraries to museums, in service organizations, in government and public service, and in all levels of education.

The University of Waterloo's history program has its main strengths in Canadian social, political, and cultural history; in European intellectual, social, and political traditions; in American social, cultural, and political history; and in international studies. We take a strong interest in all the students in our courses, as well as in the majors in History. Early in the program, we introduce a discussion element in our core courses, where students and the professor engage in an ongoing dialogue about issues raised in readings. The discussion element remains integral throughout the program. Active engagement and discussion of issues at hand are key parts of the learning process in the Department of History, as our purpose is to teach students to think critically and analytically about the world around them. Visit the Department of History website for further information.


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