Program Overview

History allows us to understand ourselves and others and our shared world by exploring and analyzing the entire range of human experience. The study of history encompasses both the study of the record of the past and the discipline of investigating and interpreting the past. It develops critical habits of mind, provides training in the analysis and synthesis of evidence, and hones skills in effective communication both orally and in writing. The history major is an excellent preparation for careers in law, government, journalism, business, and the non-profit sector, as well as in public history and education at all levels.  For more on jobs for history majors, consult the American Historical Association at: https://www.historians.org/jobs-and-professional-development/career-resources/careers-for-history-majors

Curriculum Overview

Rider University history students complete an innovative program that exposes them to the history of major world cultures as well as the United States. Students take seminars in their first semester, in their fourth or fifth semester, and in their senior year.  Each seminar is capped at 16 students in order to foster deep personal engagement of students and faculty and to allow for individual development of analytical, research, and writing skills. For the senior capstone, students produce a substantial work of original research in the senior seminar or in an Independent Study with a faculty mentor. Students also select from a range of topical courses drawing on faculty expertize in the history of Latin America and the Caribbean, East Asia, South Asia and the Middle East, classical, medieval, early modern and modern Europe, and Africa, as well as colonial America and the history of the United States in all periods. In addition, the department offers clusters of courses on women’s history and the history of gender and sexuality, and on environmental history. Students can also explore history outside of the classroom through our internship program, which allows them to earn course credit while working in archives, museums, and historic sites.

Degree Offered

  • B.A. History


Anne Osborne, Ph.D.
Professor and Chair
North Hall 106

Program Website: History

Related Programs:

History Major Requirements

(36-39 credits)

2017 General Education Requirements45-46
Category I: History Seminars
Select 6-9 credits from the following:6-9
Seminar in History 1
Craft of History (may be repeated for Category III credit on different topics)
Research Seminar
Independent Research and Study
Category II: US and European Surveys
Select at least one course in US and one in European history. Education students are strongly encouraged to take both US surveys as well as one European survey.6-9
Students who take 6 credits in Category II must take 8 courses in Category III.
U.S. History I
U.S. History II
Europe To 1715
Europe Since 1715
Catgory III: History Electives
Students who take two courses in Category II select eight courses in Category III. Those who take three courses in Category II take seven courses in Category III. At least two Category III courses must be at the 200 level and two at the 300 level. At least two courses for Category III must be selected from the following Diversity courses: 21
Native American History
African American History
Women in Europe from Antiquity to the French Revolution
Imperial Russia
Modern Russia
Vietnam in Peace and War
Modern Middle East
Colonial Latin America
Modern Latin America
Caribbean History
Modern East Asia
African History
History of Modern Japan
Women in American History
Gender and Sexuality in American History
China in Revolution
Women in East Asia
Ottoman Empire and the Balkans
Total Credits78-82


Students who declare the history major after the freshman year should consult their advisor on the suitability of this course for their program.

History Minor Requirements

(21 credits)

Select seven courses in History, including three at the introductory level (150-199) and four at the intermediate to advanced level (200-491).

Academic Plan of Study

The following educational plan is provided as a sample only.  Rider students who do not declare a major during their freshman year; who change their major; or those who transfer to Rider may follow a different plan to ensure a timely graduation.  Each student, with guidance from his or her academic advisor, will develop a personalized educational plan.

Plan of Study Grid
Year 1
Fall SemesterCredits
HIS 150 World History to 1500 3
HIS 160 Seminar in History 3
CMP 120 Expository Writing 1 3
MTH 102 Finite Mathematics 1 3
Social Science Course (1 of 2) 3
NCT 010 Freshman Seminar 0
 Semester Credit Hours15
Spring Semester
HIS 151 World History Since 1500 3
HIS 180
U.S. History I
or U.S. History II
CMP 125 Research Writing 3
Foreign Language Core Course (Level 1) 3
Natural / Physical Science Course (1 of 2) 3
 Semester Credit Hours15
Year 2
Fall Semester
HIS 190
Europe To 1715
or Europe Since 1715
Upper Level History Elective (HIS 200 - 299) 2 3
Social Science Course (2 of 2) 3
Natural / Physical Science Course (2 of 2) 3
Foreign Language Core Course (Level 2) 3
 Semester Credit Hours15
Spring Semester
Two Upper Level History Electives (HIS 200 - 399) 2 6
Fine Arts Core Course 3
Literature Core Course 3
Select one of the following: 3
Any Philosophy Core Course (PHL)
Philosophy of Martin Luther King Jr.  
 Semester Credit Hours15
Year 3
Fall Semester
HIS 260 Craft of History 3
Upper Level History Elective (HIS 200 - 399) 2 3
Three Elective Courses 3 9
 Semester Credit Hours15
Spring Semester
Two Upper Level History Electives (HIS 200 - 399) 2 6
Three Elective Courses 3 9
 Semester Credit Hours15
Year 4
Fall Semester
Select two of the following: 6-7
Upper Level History Electives (HIS 200 - 399) 2
Internship in History  
Three Elective Courses 3 9
 Semester Credit Hours15-16
Spring Semester
Select one of the following: 3
Research Seminar  
Independent Research and Study  
Four Elective Courses 3 12
 Semester Credit Hours15
 Total Credits120-121

For course placement information see http://www.rider.edu/offices-services/orientation/course-placement


Program must include at least two courses at the 200 level and at least two at the 300 level.  At least two courses must be Diversity courses.


Please note that elective credits may be used to complete requirements in a second major or minor.

Courses and Descriptions

HIS 150 World History to 1500 3 Credits

A survey of people and their cultures, focusing on the two major historical traditions (Western and East Asian) from pre-history to the moment when they merged into a single strand, during the century 1550 to 1650. The varying political events, institutions, technologies, and cultures of the East and West are highlighted.

HIS 151 World History Since 1500 3 Credits

Major developments in world history from the 16th century on are considered, with an emphasis on the impact of ideas and influences from Asia and the New World upon European culture and society and the European impact upon Asia, Africa, and the Americas.

Prerequisite(s): HIS 150.

HIS 160 Seminar in History 3 Credits

This course introduces students to the discipline of history and to the skills needed for its pursuit. Students will learn to analyze and evaluate primary sources and to identify the thesis and argument of secondary sources, as well as to locate sources using library databases. They will complete a short research paper in which they put these skills into practice. The seminar is intended for History majors and minors and Social Studies majors in their freshman year. Transfer students with fewer than 45 credits should consult their advisor on the suitability of the course for their program. Enrollment limited to 16.

HIS 180 U.S. History I 3 Credits

A survey of American history from the early 17th century through 1877. Among the topics covered will be settlement and regional differences, the American Revolution and the formation of a national government by 1787. The beginning stages of industrialization, the rise of democratic and reform politics, westward expansion, the debate over slavery and growing sectional tensions through the Civil War and Reconstruction will be major themes in the 19th century. Included will be discussions of African Americans, Native Americans, and women.

HIS 181 U.S. History II 3 Credits

A survey of United States history from the end of the Civil War through the present. Included will be discussions of the maturing of an industrial economy, and expansion in the west and overseas. The role of the United States as a world power and the growth of presidential power will be shaped and sometimes challenged by movements designed to expand democratic institutions and human rights. Included will be discussions of African Americans, Native Americans, and women.

HIS 190 Europe to 1715 3 Credits

Examines the development of European civilization from late Roman times until 1715, stressing the Classical heritage, the main currents of European thought and letters, the Renaissance and Reformation, the Age of Discoveries, and the development of the Old Regime.

HIS 191 Europe Since 1715 3 Credits

Examines major political, economic, social, and cultural developments in Europe and the West from 1715 to the present.

HIS 200 Native American History 3 Credits

Traces the experiences of North American Indians from early colonial times to the present day, demonstrating how Indian life has varied and changed throughout our nation’s history. Topics include strategies of resistance and accommodation to colonial powers, 19th- century impacts of U.S. government removal and cultural assimilation policies, and 20th-century cultural and political developments among the nation’s surviving tribes. Rather than “vanishing,” American Indians are a vital and expanding force in modern America.

HIS 201 African American History 3 Credits

Examines the actions and thought of peoples of African ancestry in the United States. Briefly considers Africa before the Atlantic slave trade, then concentrates on major themes in African-American history--the slave trade, slavery, and the genesis of African American society, emancipation and its consequences, urbanization and industrialization, Black Nationalism, the Civil Rights Movement, and African Americans today. Emphasizes African Americans’ dynamic and creative role both in shaping their society and establishing their place in United States society. The on-going struggle for freedom and equality provides thematic continuity for analyzing nearly 400 years of African-American history.

HIS 224 American Environmental History 3 Credits

Surveys the history of the North American environment from pre-Columbian times through the 20th century. Topics include Native American uses of the environment; the reshaping of ecosystems under European colonization; U.S. frontier expansion; the ecological impact of industrialization and urbanization; and the rise of the environmental movement.

HIS 225 A History of American Business 3 Credits

Examines the history of business in the United States from the Colonial Era to the present. Emphasizes such themes as the changing capitalist system, the function of business institutions, the roles of the entrepreneur, the relationship between government and business, and the emergence of the corporation.

HIS 226 History of New Jersey 3 Credits

Explores the history of New Jersey from the colonial period to the present including the role of New Jersey in the American Revolution, the establishment of the Constitution, and the course of industrialization. Examines the impact of national and international developments on New Jersey and emphasizes the distinctive characteristics of the Garden State.

HIS 227 U.S. Cultural History I 3 Credits

Examines cultural developments in the United States through the Civil War. Topics include popular culture, the history of the body, reading and print culture, public celebrations and holidays, religion, race and ethnicity, and material culture. Some of the larger trends explored include the creation of American nationalism, the development of a consumer society, and the rise and decline of 19th-century family life and culture.

HIS 240 History of Ancient Greece 3 Credits

Surveys the intellectual and cultural life of ancient Greek civilization against the background of its political, economic, and social history.

HIS 241 History of Ancient Rome 3 Credits

Studies the history and culture of Rome, emphasizing such topics as Roman law, government, literature, religion, art, and philosophy.

HIS 243 Italy Middle Ages to Present 3 Credits

Traces the history of Italy from the Middle Ages to the present, stressing the connection between culture, religion, politics, and wealth in successive historical periods. Students participating in the two-week travel component at the end of the course may receive four credits.

HIS 245 Britain to 1688 3 Credits

British history from pre-Roman times to the Glorious Revolution is examined, emphasizing the growth of royal government, parliament, and the origins of the British colonial empire.

HIS 246 Modern Britain 3 Credits

Examines British history from the Glorious Revolution to the present, stressing the reform movements of the 18th and 19th centuries, the Pax Britannica, the Industrial Revolution, imperialism, and the impact of the two world wars.

HIS 248 History of Ireland 3 Credits

Beginning with an overview of the Irish past, focuses upon the past century of the island’s history--the problems, challenges, and accommodations that led to the present situation as one of the most protracted unresolved partitions in the modern nation-state system.

HIS 249 Women in Europe from Antiquity to the French Revolution 3 Credits

Traces the history of women in Europe from Rome to the French Revolution, covering the religious, social, political, and economic context in which women participated. Also offers a brief overview of theories and issues in women’s history and gender history.

HIS 255 History Abroad 3 Credits

Two-week travel course to a destination chosen by the professor. Exposes students to historic and cultural sites and works of art that have been studied in class. Students must attend orientation sessions, read assigned writings, complete a travel journal, write a final paper on a topic relevant to the course, and attend all scheduled course activities abroad. Travel will take place in January or at the end of the spring semester.

HIS 260 Craft of History 3 Credits

This seminar focuses on historiography and research skills to further students’ progress toward the major capstone experience of conducting independent historical research. Students will explore how historians approach, interpret, and write about a particular topic selected by the instructor, and discover how and why interpretations and methods have changed over time. Topics will vary by instructor. Course may be taken a second time on a different topic for 200-level credit. The course is required for History majors who are Sophomores or Juniors. Enrollment limited to 16.

HIS 273 Imperial Russia 3 Credits

Discusses the political, economic, social and cultural developments in Russia and its borderlands during the Imperial period, that is to say the 18th and 19th centuries from Peter the Great to the Revolutions of 1917.

HIS 274 Modern Russia 3 Credits

Covers the background to the Russian revolutions of 1917, the revolutions themselves, and the evolution and dissolution of the Soviet regime. Cultural, social and economic aspects of this period receive as much attention as political aspects.

HIS 280 Vietnam in Peace and War 3 Credits

Examines the history of modern Vietnam, with a focus on the struggle for independence from the late 18th century to the present. Discusses the traditional culture, French colonialism and the development of Vietnamese nationalism, the Japanese occupation in WWII, and the struggle against France and the U.S. in the First and Second Indochinese Wars, as well as the postwar period. Explores the American experience in Vietnam and the impact of the war in the United States.

HIS 281 Modern Middle East 3 Credits

Examines political, economic, social, and cultural developments in the Near East, from the rise of the Ottoman Empire to the present, stressing the impact of contacts with the West in the 19th and 20th centuries, and the emergence of the contemporary Arab World, Israel, Turkey, and Iran.

HIS 282 Colonial Latin America 3 Credits

Examines the pre-Columbian and colonial periods of Latin-American history. Discusses the Indian, African, and European peoples and pays particular attention to the colonial Spanish and Portuguese societies from their establishment up to the revolutions that brought about political independence.

HIS 283 Modern Latin America 3 Credits

Considers the post-independence history of Latin America, emphasizing the rise of export economies and external economic domination, modernization, and pan- Americanism. Examines the changes undergone by Latin-American nations in the 20th century through an analysis of Mexico, Argentina, Chile, Brazil, Peru, Cuba, and Central America.

HIS 284 Caribbean History 3 Credits

Analyzes the history of the West Indian islands and the lands bordering the Caribbean Sea from pre-Columbian times to the present.

HIS 286 Modern East Asia 3 Credits

Examines the disintegration of the Ch’ing dynasty in China and the Tokugawa Shogunate in Japan under internal stresses and foreign incursions, and the varied experience of those states in coming to terms with the challenges of modernization and westernization. Covers political, economic, social, and cultural factors in China, Japan, and East Asia.

HIS 288 African History 3 Credits

Traces the history of Africa, analyzing the unique problems of African historical evidence and the complexity of the continent’s past. Examines the genesis of African culture, early African societies, and the character of African civilizations and empires, then considers external influences such as religion (especially Islam and Christianity), contacts with Europe, the slave trade, the colonial scramble for Africa, colonial rule, modernization and dependency, and concludes by assessing the rise of independent Africa after World War II, its present status and future prospects.

HIS 289 History of Modern Japan 3 Credits

Examines the history of modern Japan from the age of the samurai in the Tokugawa Shogunate to today’s high-tech mass consumer society. It traces the interaction of elements of Japan’s traditional culture with impacts from the outside to create a uniquely-Japanese modernity. It stresses social, economic, and cultural trends, as well as political history, and includes an examination of modern Japanese culture through fiction and film.

HIS 298 Special Topics in History 3 Credits

Exploration of special topics, themes or methodologies in history. This course may be repeated for credit on different topics.

Prerequisite(s): permission of instructor.

HIS 300 Economic History of the U.S. 3 Credits

Studies the main currents in the economic growth of America from colonial times to the present. Stresses the process of economic development from an agrarian to an industrial society, and examines the challenges and dislocations resulting from economic change.

HIS 301 Constitutional History of U.S. 3 Credits

Surveys the English, Colonial, and Confederation backgrounds of American law and constitutionalism; the framing, adoption, and implementation of the Federal Constitution and its later development; the role of law in the nation’s history; the changing interpretations of federalism; the growth of judicial review; and the increasing role of the Supreme Court.

HIS 302 American Worker: Social History 3 Credits

Investigates the American workers’ varied social, cultural, religious, and ethnic environment from post-Civil War to the present. Emphasizes worker response to industrialization, urbanization, the technical revolution, and automation.

HIS 303 American Urban History 3 Credits

Traces the growth of urbanism in America from colonial times to the present. Focuses on the interaction between the city dweller and the urban environment and explores the problems confronting urban America today.

HIS 304 Civil War and Reconstruction 3 Credits

Considers the Civil War as a watershed in the development of the American republic. Analyzes antebellum sectional conflict, the war years, and the era of Reconstruction.

HIS 306 U.S. Cultural History II 3 Credits

Examines cultural developments in the United States from the late 19th century to the present. Topics include popular culture, intellectual history, gender history, literary history, film, institutions like museums and department stores, subcultures and counter- cultures, popular commemorations like World’s Fairs, and political culture. Some of the larger trends explored include the development of the modern culture of consumption, the urban landscape, and the polarization of cultural values.

HIS 307 The Immigrant in American Life 3 Credits

Examines the experiences of immigrants in the United States, their assimilation, the reactions to them, and their contributions.

HIS 309 Women in American History 3 Credits

Examines the roles, status, and influence of women from the colonial era to the present. Studies the origins and development of feminism, including legal, political, educational, economic, and sexual rights; and studies social feminism, including reform movements in such fields as abolition, prohibition, pacifism, child labor, and social welfare.

HIS 318 The American Revolution 3 Credits

Examines the growing rift between the American colonies and the British Empire, the War for Independence, and the creation of a new American republic. Explores the political, economic, social and cultural history of the Revolutionary era, and includes the experiences of various groups such as Native Americans, slaves, and women.

HIS 319 Gender and Sexuality in American History 3 Credits

What makes a man, exactly, and what makes a woman? What kinds of sex are normal, and what kinds are abnormal? Who decides, and why? The answers to these questions are not fixed. Throughout American history, popular understandings of gender and sexual norms evolved in close relationship with the political, economic, racial, and social dictates of the time. This course will trace the evolution of ideas on sec and gender from the 18th century to the present using various historical sources including fiction and film, particular attention will be given to analyzing dominant models of proper behavior and the complex relationships of power enmeshed within them.

HIS 320 The History of Christianity 3 Credits

Examines Christianity’s role in world history from the life and times of Jesus to the present. Emphasizes the quest for the historical Jesus, the emergence of Christianity after his death and triumph during the later Roman Empire, and Christian relations with pagans, Jews, heretics, witches and Muslims. Traces the various branches of Christianity, its spread throughout the world, church-state relations and responses to secularism, capitalism and communism.

HIS 325 Church & Society in Med Europe 3 Credits

Studies the role of the church in the shaping of early medieval society. Emphasizes the emergence of Christianity as a world force, its challenge from Islam, and the church’s impact on the politics, thought, and economy of early medieval Europe.

HIS 326 Renaissance and Reformation 3 Credits

Studies the Renaissance, including the development of humanism and art as well as the political and economic changes of the period. Discusses the Renaissance church and movements for religious reform, leading to a consideration of the origins, development, and consequences of the Reformation. Examines the influence of the Renaissance and Reformation on the development of capitalism and the dynamic, secular nation-state.

HIS 333 20th-Century Europe 3 Credits

Studies the background and course of the two world wars, the related peace settlements, and their results, and the domestic and international politics as a way of understanding the contemporary scene. Emphasizes nationalism, power politics, collective security, imperialism, fascism, and communism in their economic, social, and intellectual context.

HIS 334 The Era of World War II 3 Credits

Investigates selected topics relating to the origins, events, and outcome of World War II, emphasizing the war’s impact on 20th-century civilization. Traces the roots of the conflict back to the World War I peace settlements, and examines the rise of totalitarianism, pre-war aggression and appeasement, the immediate causes of the war’s outbreak, the course of military actions, the diplomacy of the belligerents, the War’s impact on civilian life, and factors that shaped the post-war world.

HIS 335 Nazi Germany & Hitler's Europe 3 Credits

Examines the Nazi dictatorship in all its complex dimensions, from the early life of Adolf Hitler to total war and genocide. Students will explore how the Nazi movement arose in the context of modern German and European history, and how the Nazis were able to win the support of significant segments of the German population. We will study the Nazis’ massive project of social and biological engineering – pronationalism, forced sterilization, extermination of “social and biological deviants,” and, ultimately, the genocide of the Jews. Through memoirs, state documents, and historical accounts, the class will examine life from the vantage point of perpetrators, accommodators, victims, and resisters.

HIS 336 Modern European Intellectual History 3 Credits

Examines the 17th-century revolution in scientific, philosophical, and political thought; the Enlightenment; Romanticism; the ideologies of Conservatism, Liberalism, and Socialism; Positivism; Darwinism; the crisis of European thought (1880-1914); and the major intellectual trends of the 20th century.

HIS 337 Post-1945 United States History 3 Credits

This course will magnify American society, politics, culture, and foreign policy from 1945 to the present, tracing the rise and fall of the "American Century". We will focus on topics such as the Red Scare, suburbanization, mass culture, the power of the presidency, the Civil Rights movement, Vietnam, disco, and the war on terror, offering students a unique opportunity to delve deeply into our recent past.

HIS 341 China in Revolution 3 Credits

Treats the Chinese Revolution in terms of political, economic, and social transformation.

HIS 342 Women in East Asia 3 Credits

Treats the history of the relationship between women and society in traditional East Asia and the modern transformation of their relationship.

HIS 343 Ottoman Empire and the Balkans 3 Credits

Covers the history of the southeastern projection of Europe, known as the Balkan Peninsula, from the late Ottoman era to the present. After a consideration of geography and methodology, it will examine the Ottoman Empire at its peak, as well as the sources of its decline. Then, trace the history of six Balkan peoples - Albanians, Bulgarians, Greeks, Romanians, Croatians, and Serbians, all of whom have historical roots of equal or greater antiquity than those of most western Europe peoples. Special focus will be devoted to Balkan nationalisms, both in theory and practice. The modernization of the agriculturally based societies of the Balkans and their respective states’ formations are major subjects of comparative analysis. The course will study ethnic conflict, inter-state relations, the role of the great powers in the region, and the impact of the World Wars. Several meetings will be spent learning and discussing literature and film. Lastly, contemporary developments in the Balkans, especially the Yugoslav crisis of the 1990s, will be considered.

HIS 351 Warfare in History 3 Credits

Studies the evolution of international and intergroup conflict through the ages; principles, theories, and kinds of war; the great military practitioners and thinkers of world history. Briefly touches upon the American experience as a recent segment in world military and cultural history.

HIS 352 History of Socialism 3 Credits

Considers the historical development of socialist ideas and their adaptations from ancient times to the present, including ancient and Judaeo-Christian antecedents, Utopian Socialism, Marxism, Anarchism, Communism, and Democratic Socialism, emphasizing the historical comparisons among these schools.

HIS 353 Oral History 3 Credits

A study of the theory and practice of oral history. Involves an examination of the methodology and functions of oral history, the nature and character of oral evidence, and the place of oral testimony within the historical discipline.

HIS 398 Special Topics in History 3 Credits

Advanced exploration of special topics, themes or methodologies in history. This course may be repeated for credit on different topics.

Prerequisite(s): Permission of Instructor.

HIS 460 Research Seminar 3 Credits

Students produce a major research paper in this topical capstone seminar. Topics and themes vary by instructor. The seminar has a maximum enrollment of 16 students, so professors and students have an opportunity to work together closely over the course of a semester. Students may substitute with HIS 490: Independent Research and Study.

Prerequisite(s): HIS 260, and permission of instructor.

HIS 490 Independent Research and Study 1-4 Credits

Independent Research and Study allows juniors and seniors in good academic standing to investigate topics of interest under faculty supervision no later than the third week of the semester in which the project is to be conducted. Only one project can be scheduled in a semester, and for no more than four semester hours.

Prerequisite: Permission of instructor. When taken to substitute for HIS 460, HIS 260 and permission of instructor.

HIS 491 Internship in History 1-4 Credits

Internships to be offered each semester with such institutions as the New Jersey State Archives and the David Library of the American Revolution. Four credits may be taken for Category III History credit. Additional credits may be taken for Liberal Arts elective credit.

Prerequisite: Permission of internship coordinator.