The history program engages students in discovery through research, writing and discussion. History students master a broad range of information about the past but also work closely with specialized material on narrow topics of interest. Students craft historical analyses, making sense of seemingly random events as they organize information in logical chronological patterns relevant to understanding the present.


  • Take two years of survey courses for an overview of American, European, Middle Eastern and Asian history
  • Focus on research and close examination of texts through written work and in-class discussions in higher-level courses
  • Enjoy a variety of travel opportunities through three-week study abroad courses during the January term
  • Complete intensive work on a senior thesis using original sources and developing and sustaining a meaningful historical argument on a specialized topic
  • Complete full- and part-time internships as a junior and senior


The major in history includes a broad range of offerings in various fields of history, extensive involvement in creative and comprehensive research projects, learning to read historical materials with understanding, to engage in critical analysis from an historian's perspective and to write polished, communicative prose. Students encounter the scholarly methodology employed by historians that contributes to the development of verbal, analytical and reading skills. More specifically, throughout the curriculum, history courses require students to produce written work that emphasizes focused analysis supported by historical evidence.


The history program at Pacific University prepares graduates to think critically and to analyze information and events. Students are taught to delve into the past — not simply accepting current perceptions — and to shape the way the past is seen. Skills gained from examining, understanding and communicating complex historical information through written text and verbal presentations apply to nearly every profession. Our graduates are international English teachers, archivists for museums and libraries, attorneys, teachers and professors, and graduate students in a variety of fields.


Upcoming events:

Pacific University’s Department of History announces

Dr. Michael O’Connor
Georgia State University

“The Rage Against Taxes in Modern American Conservatism”

Date:   Mon., Sept. 21st
Time:  4:15 – 5:15
Place: Marsh Hall 216
2043 College Way, Forest Grove, Oregon

At the center of modern American economic conservatism is a focus on the evils of taxation. Thus one might be surprised to learn that this emphasis is a fairly recent innovation. Tax cutting became an important part of the conservative worldview only in the 1970s, when it emerged as a response to the very rare combination of high inflation and low employment that characterized that decade. The doctrine known as “supply-side economics” arose to battle a specific economic crisis, yet remained an essential part of conservative ideology long after that crisis had passed.

Mike O'Connor is an intellectual and political historian of the United States. He is the author of _A Commercial Republic: America’s Enduring Debate over Democratic Capitalism_. Mike’s other writing has appeared in scholarly journals and various newspapers. He was one of the founders and original bloggers of the U.S. Intellectual History site and served as one of the founders of the Society for U.S. Intellectual History. Mike blogs at eight-hundred-words.net.

For info:  teeterj@pacificu.edu