Wilkes University

History

If you like history, Wilkes is the place for you. Small classes with subjects that span time periods and continents, as well as study abroad options, internship opportunities and individualized mentoring help you meld on-campus scholarship with off-campus experiences.

Program Snapshot

Program Type Format Credit Hours
Major, Minor On Campus 120 (18 for minor)

Why Study History at Wilkes?

In studying history at Wilkes, you will join a tight-knit community with full-time faculty historians who bring world perspectives to their classes. They will work with you one-on-one with individualized attention and mentoring, without sacrificing the diversity and breadth of programming offered by larger institutions.

The program offers four specialized yet flexible tracks that help prepare for your career:

  • Pre-law/pre-graduate prepares you for advanced study in law, history or other related professional disciplines.
  • Public history prepares you for work or study in careers that present history to a non-academic audience including museum curator, archive manager, museum educator and more.
  • Secondary education prepares students for careers as secondary education teachers.
  • Digital history allows you to learn the skills necessary to present history in a variety of media, including websites and audio and video documentaries.

Curriculum      Admission Requirements

What Will You Learn as a History Student?

  • You’ll develop skills in research and critical thinking, as well as articulating both written and oral arguments.
  • Study ancient, medieval and modern world history, early and modern American history, women’s history, cultural history and political and economic history.
  • You’ll learn skills that employers are looking for: being able to process large amounts of information and the ability to sift through what is relevant and what is not.
  • Learn how to solve problems and construct arguments in support of one course of action or another.
Loading...

Program Highlights

Internships

As a history major, you have the opportunity to participate in an internship at archives and historical sites and museums throughout the region. If you are interested in public history rather than teaching, internships are a great way to explore these options.

Clubs and Organizations

The History Club meets regularly and travels to sites around the region, including Boston, Gettysburg and Washington, D.C. Expand on what you learn in class and have some fun too. Wilkes is also home to a chapter of Phi Alpha Theta, the national history honor society.

Experiential Learning

Become part of history. Participate in the annual Douglass Day Transcribe-a-thon by transcribing papers of Black activist Julia Ann Cooper. Wilkes students also created a collection for the University archives as well as a public exhibition, Wilkes in 2020, to preserve the experiences of Wilkes students during the pandemic.

Tell the History Behind Today's News

The History Behind the Headlines podcast allows Wilkes students provide historical context to current events. This student-led production can provide fantastic real-life experience in historical research and communication.

Meet our Faculty

Our History faculty are experts in their specialties and provide hands-on mentoring and opportunities to gain valuable experience in research, critical thinking and other valuable skills vital to future academic and career success.

Dr. Amy L. Sopcak Joseph

Assistant Professor

Dr. Amy Sopcak-Joseph is an American historian focusing on early American social, cultural and economic history, especially the history of the book and women's and gender history.

In 2020, her dissertation, Fashioning American Women: Godey's Lady's Book, Female Consumers, and Periodical Publishing in the Nineteenth Century, was awarded the prestigious Zuckerman Prize in American Studies by the McNeil Center for Early America Studies at the University of Pennsylvania.

Prior to earning her PhD. at the University of Connecticut, she worked as a public history professional at the American Antiquarian Society in Worcester, MA, making her a tremendous resource for students interested in public history and digital history. In her classes, she has led trips to the Luzerne County Historical Society and organized students in the creation of the Wilkes in 2020 collection, to document the life of the campus community during the COVID-19 pandemic.

She also facilitates opportunities for students outside the classroom, receiving a grant for the History Research Lab, mentoring students in primary source research over the summer. Her advisees have also taken advantage of opportunities in digital history, recent projects include digitizing Wilkes' yearbooks from 1947-2019.

Dr. Akira Shimizu

Associate Professor

Dr. Akira Shimizu is a specialist in the history of Japan and East Asia, receiving his Ph.D. from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He is particularly interested in the history of daily life, food and foodways, which is reflected in his research. His first book, Specialty Food, Market Culture, and Daily Life in Early Modern Japan, and his current research is on the history of saké. Dr. Shimizu brings this interest in food and his experience as a former professional chef into the classroom teaching courses on global food history, as well as courses on global history and the history of Japan and East Asia.

Dr. Jonathan Kuiken

Associate Professor of History, Honor Program Director

Dr. Jonathan Kuiken is specialist in the history of the British Empire and energy history, focusing on the development of the international oil industry, receiving his Ph.D. in History from Boston College. He teaches global history courses as well as a unique “Energy in History” course, which is part of Wilkes’ interdisciplinary Energy Studies minor and has published articles on the British Empire in post-colonial Africa and British oil policy in the leading up to the 1973 oil crisis.

Dr. Kuiken leads the Contemporary History Project at Wilkes, which organizes speakers and events that put contemporary events in historical context.

He also advises the student-led History Behind the Headlines podcast, which is a great opportunity for students to get experience work on projects in public history and digital history.

Listen to History Behind the Headlines on Soundcloud

Read about History Behind the Headlines in The Beacon

Dr. Chelsea D. Chamberlain

Assistant Professor of History

Dr. Chelsea D. Chamberlain is a historian of modern America. Her research and teaching focus on US histories of citizenship, education, medicine and disability. Dr. Chamberlain earned her PhD in History from the University of Pennsylvania and a MA from the University of Montana. Her research on the history of institutionalization in Pennsylvania has appeared in the Journal of Social History and the academic blog Nursing Clio.

Currently, she serves on the advisory board of the Pennhurst Memorial and Preservation Alliance and as the Humanities Advisor for the documentary film The Fate of Human Beings, which explores the history and memorialization of institution cemeteries.

As a history major at Wilkes, I’ve enjoyed learning how to think more critically about history and how to research historical events. Studying history at Wilkes was one of the best decisions I’ve made.

William Billingsley '21 - Political Science and History

 

James Alfano '18 Received Fulbright Award to Teach in Taiwan

Alfano taught English at Hualien City School Districts as part of a project to further promote cultural understanding and language instruction to Taiwanese students at their respective schools.  Alfano was one of over 1,900 U.S. citizens to conduct research, teach English and provide expertise abroad for the 2018-2019 academic year through the Fulbright U.S. Student Program.

Fulbright Program

Clock

Careers & Outcomes

Careers

  • Attorney
  • Secondary Education Teacher
  • Library Archivist
  • Political Advisor
  • Museum Curator
  • Journalist

Employers

  • Office of the Governor of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
  • Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development
  • U.S. Air Force
  • South Abington School District
  • Line Mountain School District
  • Independent Blue Cross

Graduate Schools

  • University of Pennsylvania
  • Boston College
  • Penn State Dickinson Law
  • University of Delaware
  • Binghamton University
  • Thomas Jefferson University
  • Villanova University

Internships

History majors gain access to multiple internship opportunities. Some recent organizations where Wilkes students have interned include:

  • National Constitution Center, Philadelphia
  • The Smithsonian Institution
  • Antique Auto Club of America Museum, Hershey PA
  • Luzerne County Historical Society
  • Wilkes University Archives

Follow History

Learn about ongoing projects, collaborations, events and more going on within the history program at Wilkes.

Wilkes Archives & Special Collections

The Wilkes Archives & Special Collections detail some of the in-depth archival projects Wilkes history students have contributed to.

Read the Archives & Special Collections blog

The Contemporary History Project

The Contemporary History Project seeks to engage students and the community in the process of understanding the historical roots of contemporary issues.

Social Media

Learn about ongoing projects, collaborations, events and more going on within the history program at Wilkes.

History at Wilkes

Public History at Wilkes

Related Programs