Our program cultivates engaged civic professionals who are deeply aware of the roots of today’s national and global issues. Our courses challenge students to recognize both change and continuity, to consider multiple perspectives, to develop their own interpretations of the past, and to effectively express their arguments across multiple mediums.

The analytical and communication skills that set a Nichols’ education apart will develop students’ professional readiness and prepare them for careers in fields such as business, law, education, government, journalism, public relations, non-profit, and public history.

History majors and minors will have the opportunity to study with professors whose experience covers a wide variety of coursework in political, economic, social, cutlural, and military history. Our offerings are always evolving to reflect student interest and the latest academic thought. Check out our Twitter feed to learn more about our courses, events, speakers, writing, and research. 

Leading the Way

Frank Oliva ’11 Wahconah Regional High School, History Teacher

Excellence in Teaching award recipient:  Nichols history professors are very passionate about teaching and the subject. They provide students with the opportunity to master the subject through lectures and discussions as well as assigning research papers, debates, and other forms of presentations. The professors are willing and able to meet with students one-on-one, which benefited me when I needed guidance.

Elizabeth (Draper) LaMonica ’12 Lynnfield High School, Social Studies Teacher

I learned so much from being a student in in the history program at Nichols.  I completed the program with an understanding of both the breadth and depth of history, which has served me very well as a history teacher. The professors were excellent, and as a result of the small class sizes, I got a lot of personal attention.  To this day I still use what I learned at Nichols in my classroom. I could not recommend this program more highly.

Courses & Requirements

Experiential Learning

Beginning with the Class of 2021, History majors must satisfy the Experiential Learning Opportunity requirement by successfully completing one of the following courses:

  • HIST 490: Internship in History
  • HIST 491: Research Associate Internship in History
  • HIST 492: Teaching Associate Internship in History
  • HIST 493: Advanced Project Internship in History
  • HIST 494: Faculty-led Travel

History Minor Requirements

  • 1 200-level course
  • 3 300-level courses

History majors must complete 120 credit hours (approximately 40 courses), including courses from the foundation curricula, focused electives, and these required specialization courses:

Required Courses

HIST 201 United States History to 1865

This course examines the evolution of the American colonies, the Revolution, forces leading to the Constitution, the Federalist era, the Jacksonian era, and the causes of the Civil War.

HIST 202 United States History since 1865

Beginning with Reconstruction, this course follows the evolution of economic, political, and social development through reform eras, wars, and global emergence.

HIST 208 World Civilizations II

This course focuses on the five centuries after 1450 as technology and military and political organizations resulted in the creation of international trade systems and power alliances, leading to the decline in western imperialism and reemergence of major Asiatic civilizations.

HIST 359 U.S. History Since 1945

This course will survey key topics in American history since 1945. Topics include the Cold War, hot wars in Korea, Vietnam, and Iraq, the Cuban Missile Crisis, civil rights, feminism, the environmental movement, and politics and culture.

HIST 369 World History Since 1945

This course will survey key topics in world history since the peace settlements in Europe and the Far East at the end of World War II. Topics examined will include the political and economic structures of the peace of 1945, the role of the new United Nations, the causes of the Cold War, the Korean War, the end of European empires in Asia and Africa, crises over Cuba and Vietnam in the 1960s, the fall of the Iron Curtain, the emergence of the European Union, as well as tensions and war in the Middle East over oil, Israel, Iran and Iraq, and international terrorism.

HIST 480 Seminar in History

This course will examine the history of historical writing, the use and evaluation of historical sources, why interpretations differ, and how historians are influenced by forces other than the facts. A research paper is required for this course.


HIST 210 War on Terror

This course provides students an historical grounding to the contemporary Global War on Terror. Guided by the process and method of historical inquiry, we will consider the policies and precedents that have informed the GWOT’s undertaking from well before the attacks of September 11, 2001. By studying these antecedents, we will develop a deeper, more sophisticated understanding of this present-day conflict. Using both primary and secondary sources, we will focus principally on threats and activities abroad, including engagements against al Qaeda and ISIS as well as the 21st-century wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

HIST 211 From Leeches to Listerine: Medicine and Disease in 19th Century America

This course is intended to expose students to a variety of topics in the history of medicine and public health. Although most of the topics covered fall under the heading of “social history,” students will examine how health and disease often impact political and economic history. The United States will be the focus of the course; however, events in Europe will also be discussed since many medical breakthroughs occurred outside of America. Topics to be discussed include epidemics, the development of anesthesia, mental health reform, the birth of urban sanitation, the impact of the Civil War on medicine, and the federal government’s role in ensuring the safety of food and medicines.

HIST 270 Special Topic - Cold War America

This course examines the politico-cultural environment of the United States in the second half of the twentieth century. Students will be introduced to the primary sources and popular culture from the era, as well as historical interpretations from secondary sources created during and after the period under study. By the end of the session students will have a better understanding of the origins, evolution, and legacy of the Cold War in the U.S.—and the role historians play in our memory of it.

HIST 315 Constitution & Amer Tradition

This course will examine selected topics in American constitutional history from the founding period to the early 21st century. A significant component of this course is a detailed examination of the United States Constitution and the Massachusetts State Constitution, including their origins, interpretation, and evolution.

HIST 322 Women in American Society

This course considers the role that women have played in American life from the colonial period to modern day. Special consideration will be given to such topics as the perceived role of women, their actual status and contributions in the Lowell mills, the Abolitionist movement, suffrage, and the 20th century civil rights movement.

HIST 339 History of Modern Europe

This course considers the evolution of modern Europe, including the social, political and economic developments of major European nations from the fall of Napoleon?s Empire in 1815 to the present. Special emphasis will be placed on the Industrial Revolution, European nationalism and imperialism, the causes and effects of the world wars and the Cold War, the fall of Communism, and the drive toward European Union.

HIST 340 Political & Historical Leaders

This course examines leadership, behavior, and style, and its potential for contributing to change in business, governmental, and nonprofit organizations. How leaders interact with the climate of the organization and its situational context, both political and environmental, will be examined through case studies of important figures in political, business, and social history.

HIST 352 American Economic History

This course traces the evolution of American economic life from its agricultural/rural origins and economy through the industrial revolution, the rise of industrial capitalism in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the Great Depression era and its aftermath, to the emergence of our modern, post-industrial urban society of today.

HIST 355 Civil War

This course examines the Civil War and the process of rebuilding the nation at the end of America’s bloodiest war. It will cover the causes for the war, the principle battles, the political and military personalities involved, the war’s consequences, and explore why the Union emerged victorious.

HIST 470 Special Topics in History

This course is designed to present certain topics not covered in the usual program yet considered of value to the student of history.


  • Michael Neagle

    Michael Neagle
    Assistant Professor of History/History Program Chair

  • Paul Lambert

    Paul Lambert
    Assistant Professor of History

  • Erika Cornelius Smith

    Erika Cornelius Smith
    Assistant Professor of Political Science & International Business

  • Andrew Smith

    Andrew Smith
    Assistant Professor of Sport Management & History / Chair, Undergraduate Adult Education Program

  • Emily Thomas

    Emily Thomas
    Adjunct Professor

  • No photo available

    Edward Warren
    Emeritus Faculty