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President Abraham Lincoln photographed by Alexander Gardner


A degree in History from Southern Miss allows you to learn about the past to better understand the present and to plan for your future, giving you a set of marketable skills useful in a wide variety of professions.

Why Study History?

The study of history is one of the oldest courses of study, and, along with literature and philosophy, remains one of the pillars of a liberal arts education. History allows students to better understand diverse peoples and societies.

It also teaches how those societies and cultures were created and how they have changed through time. The examination of the past gives insight into human morality and identity and teaches good citizenship.

The skills history teaches—critical reading, advanced research, the ways in which evidence can be used to create arguments, superb writing, and oral presentation proficiency—are essential to any number of careers. Undergraduate history majors from Southern Miss have gone on to some of the finest graduate and law schools in the country, while others have established successful careers in a number of fields.


Once students fulfill the requirements of the General Education Curriculum (GEC) and pass introductory survey classes in world and American history, they take a historical methods course that teaches the basics of advanced historical research and writing.

Students can then choose from a wide variety of upper-division classes on different historical periods and geographic areas, as well as special topic areas in history such as war and society, race and ethnicity or gender history.

Under the supervision of their advisor, students can choose to specialize in a few subjects or to design a more comprehensive plan of historical study.

Degree Options

There are two Bachelor of Arts (BA) degrees available with this major.

  • History (Social Studies Licensure) BA

    Availability: Gulf Park, Hattiesburg

    The History Education BA with Licensure in Social Studies (grades 7-12) is a nationally recognized program with accreditation from the National Council for the Social Studies. Our graduates have found successful, fulfilling careers in high schools, junior high schools, and middle schools in Mississippi and across the United States.

    Unlike alternate route programs, the History Education BA combines rigorous coursework in history and the other social sciences with a semester-long practicum and student teaching experiences under a variety of master teachers. Practicum and student teaching supervision is carried out by history department faculty with extensive 7th-12th grade teaching experience in Mississippi classrooms. Coursework in classroom management, assessment, the education of exceptional students, and methods of teaching social studies in secondary schools help candidates gain both theoretical and practical knowledge.

    View Semester by Semester Guide
  • History BA

    Availability: Gulf Park, Hattiesburg

    The traditional liberal arts degree in History offers students excellent training in critical reading and the analysis of evidence, the ability to form complex arguments and convey them in clear and persuasive prose, and an elaborate understanding of people, societies, and historic change. These are skills highly prized in all walks of life, from law schools to museums and from higher education to top-ranked business firms.

    View Semester by Semester Guide

More about this Major


Our history majors have built careers in a variety of professional areas.

A large number are teachers at high schools, community colleges, colleges, and universities. Many are lawyers. A considerable number are stockbrokers, bankers, military officers, public servants, library directors, archivists, museum professionals and even medical doctors.

History majors can enter all these professions because their academic discipline fosters the writing, thinking, research, and analytical skills that make them marketable in a variety of professions.

USM history students have gone on to graduate schools such as Yale University, Cornell, North Carolina, and the University of Pennsylvania.
The professors in the Department of History are some of the best in the field. I was challenged academically, and encouraged to succeed. The classes gave me real skills I can use in my future.

Courses You Might Take

HIS 323: The Vikings

A Viking statue

An introduction to medieval Scandinavian societies, including political, military, social, cultural, and religious developments.

HIS 373/374: African-American History

An African-American family loading a car in the early 20th century.

Surveys of the African-American experience in the United States from the 17th Century through the Civil War era and Civil Rights era up to the present.

HIS 420: History of Women and War

A U.S. servicewoman during World War II

Explores the ways women have experienced, inspired, fought in, and opposed wars throughout world history and examines how ideas about gender have shaped militaries and wars.

HIS 456: Nazi Germany

A rally in Nazi Germany

A survey of the political, diplomatic, economic, and social developments in Germany from 1919 through 1945, including the rise and fall of the Third Reich and its role in World War II.

HIS 469: The New South

Workers on a cotton plantation

An analysis of the peculiarities of the South’s social, economic, political, and intellectual development from 1877 to the present; emphasis is placed on those factors making the South distinctive in American history.

HIS 474: American Indians and the Invasion of America

a group of Native Americans

A survey of the history of Native Americans from the period of European contact through the American Revolution and up to “Indian Removal” in the Early National period.

Meet Some of Your Professors

Dr. Matthew Casey

Assistant Professor and Director of Undergraduate Studies

Favorite Course: HIS 323: Introduction to Latin American History

Expertise: Latin America, Caribbean and Atlantic World, Race and Labor

Dr. Andrew Haley

Associate Professor

Favorite Course: HIS 476: History of U.S. Popular Culture

Expertise: U.S. History in Gilded Age to 1950s, Class and Culture, Food History

Dr. Courtney Luckhardt

Assistant Professor

Favorite Course: HIS 481: The Vikings

Expertise: Early Medieval Europe, Religion, Medieval Culture

Dr. Heather Stur

Associate Professor

Favorite Course: HIS 473: History of U.S. Foreign Relations

Expertise: U.S. and the World, Gender and Culture, Cold War, Vietnam War

Dr. Rebecca Tuuri

Assistant Professor

Favorite Course: HIS 374: African-American History from 1890 to the Present

Expertise: U. S. Civil Rights Movement, Women and Gender, Mississippi History

Dr. Andrew Wiest

University Distinguished Professor

Favorite Course: HIS 101/102: World Civilizations

Expertise: Vietnam War, World Wars I and II in Europe, Modern Military History

Take the Next Steps

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Southern Miss undergraduate degrees are available online, at the Hattiesburg campus, at the Gulf Park campus, and/or through a hybrid delivery that includes both online and on-campus courses.