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History is, at its most basic, what happened in the past. But to a historian, or a student of history, it’s so much more!

History is the study of change over time — what happened when is important, but more important is to establish what changed, and why it changed. Even more exciting for the historian is that history is an argument about the past. That is, history is written by historians. History is also the stories we tell about who we are and where we came from. Those stories are based on a close reading of primary sources written in the past, but also on the creative and critical thinking applied to those facts.

In pursuit of your Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in History at Centenary University, you will take courses in U.S. History and World History, courses that focus on the major events and characters of the past. But these are not your high school history classes — you will be introduced to disputes about what happened and what it means, and to historical theories such as social history, feminist history, and others. The same story can be told in different ways, and you will learn how to assess the various stories and the truth (or bias) in them. We also, on occasion, try to make our classes fun! One unique course is The Crusades. Rather than just reading a textbook about those medieval battles, students are assigned characters to portray and the class engages in a multi-week role-playing event.

In addition to the basic courses, the history faculty provide a range of courses over both space and time. In the last few years, these courses have included A History of Islam, African American History, Environmental History, U.S. Involvement in Southeast Asia, War in Pop Culture, A History of 9/11, the Crusades, and others. You can even design your own course (called an independent study) if you are interested in something we do not offer.

Class Field Trips

Some classes offer field trips. Examples include:

  • The History of 9/11 includes a trip to the Memorial and Museum in Washington
  • Public History (the study of museums and monuments) takes several trips to nearby museums, such as the Morris County Historical Museum and Waterloo Village, and explores Hackettstown in a walking tour of the downtown area. Who knew that George Washington had dined on Main Street? Or that there are over 20 Revolutionary War veterans buried next to the Presbyterian Church?
  • Some classes also include service learning. Environment History students planted trees at a nearby Audubon Society property, while students in World Geography traveled to Highland Park to set up an apartment for a refugee family moving to the country.

History Minor

Students interested in completing a minor in History must complete a minimum of 16 credits in History above and beyond the classes in their areas which may be used to fulfill the College core requirements or other program requirements.


Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in History

University Catalog

History Club

There are no requirements to join the history club except for an interest in history. The History Club’s goal is to bring a bit of history to our campus and to bring our students to history in our area. In recent years the club has visited the Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia, West Point, the Museum of Natural History in NY, Gettysburg, and enjoys a yearly group trip to the Renaissance Faire in Sparta, NJ.

Phi Alpha Theta (History Honor Society)

Phi Alpha Theta is a professional society whose mission is to promote the study of history through the encouragement of research, good teaching, publication and the exchange of learning and ideas among historians.

Financial Aid

Being able to pay for attending college is no easy task. Located in the Seay Building, the Office of Financial Aid offers assistance to you and your parents to ensure that you have the financial resources to focus on your education.

“"The more you know about the past, the better prepared you are for the future."”

Theodore Roosevelt

An Award-Winning Faculty

Centenary’s History faculty has received numerous awards in recent years, including the John F. Kennedy scholarships and the New Jersey Governor’s Award for Achievement in History. Our professors are, first and foremost, teachers. They are known throughout campus for thought-provoking classes for both history and non-history majors on topics ranging from the “American Civil War” to the “History of Ideas” and “Issues in Environment History.” A minor in History is also available for students who earn 16 credits aside from the classes used to complete Centenary’s core educational requirements. 


Another way we encourage students to expand their education beyond our campus is through career-oriented internships. Some recent internships:

  • Hackettstown Public Library
  • Centenary’s Taylor Memorial Library
  • The Drew University and International Methodist Archives at Drew University
  • A state park at which a student learned how to guide visitors through the park’s history
  • The Washington’s Headquarters National Historic Site in Morristown

We will work with you and the Career Services office to find an internship that meets your interests!

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