History Department Mission & Goals
The Hartwick history program is dedicated to teaching students to “do” history. As they progress through the major, our students develop the interpretive and expressive skills needed to understand the relationship between societies, ideas, and events of the past and those of the world we live in today.
We strive to ignite in all history majors the joys of historical discovery that starts with a meaningful question about the past – whether about one’s own family ties to Cuba or a general curiosity about the Reformation in Europe or the U.S. Civil Rights movement. Hartwick history majors develop five core skills that help them achieve meaningful answers to their questions. They learn to construct a clear, historical argument or that can be tested with evidence, and to analyze that evidence in its appropriate historical context. They learn to compare differing historical accounts of the past and evaluate what may have influenced historians to arrive at different conclusions about the same events. And because history is a communal activity that connects the individual researcher to many broader communities, students learn to communicate their ideas effectively in written and spoken forms.
Please note: Hartwick College focuses on offering fall, January, and spring term undergraduate courses in person, however circumstances may require us to offer a small number of courses in this department through distance education. In times of emergency, following regulatory guidelines, all classes may temporarily need to be delivered through distance education, including online. We also offer a slate of courses online in the summer to help our students make progress towards their degrees. With support from an academic advisor, students needing particular courses may have other online options as well. If you have questions about the way courses are delivered in your program, please contact your Department or Program Chair.
Why study history at Hartwick?
You'll study history in upstate New York.
Hartwick College is a private liberal arts college located in Oneonta, a historical college town nestled in the Susquehanna River valley in the western foothills of the Catskills Mountains. The department offers students a wealth of regional historical resources, including:
- The Greater Oneonta Historical Society
- Hartwick College’s own Yager Museum of Art and Culture and Paul F. Cooper, Jr. Archives
- The National Baseball Hall of Fame, the New York State Historical Association, and the Farmer’s Museum in Cooperstown (25 minutes away)
- The Harriet Tubman Home in Auburn and the Women’s Rights National Historical Park in Seneca Falls (2.5 hours away)
Our program will stimulate your mind.
The Hartwick history program will engage you in active, hands-on research, starting in your very first year. Our major emphasizes student research and small seminars where students and faculty work closely together to test historical assumptions about the past. This helps Hartwick history majors develop a keen sense of judgment, which they use to conduct their own, original research for the crowning experience for all Hartwick history majors, the Senior Capstone/Thesis.
The Hartwick history program provides the resources to help you succeed.
History students at Hartwick benefit from an excellent array of resources to enrich their learning, starting with a faculty that is actively engaged in research and takes the time to listen to student questions, draw out student interests, and guide student growth and inquiry.
Whether on campus or in the surrounding region, history majors can find excellent internship opportunities at historical societies, archives, museums, and community organizations that will help them cultivate professional skills, experience, and networks.
The Hartwick history major program prepares you for a variety of careers. Read more about careers for history majors from the American Historical Association.
“Hartwick provided a number of opportunities for me to practice my own skills of inquiry, research, and communication.”
Jason Musselman ’08
Project Based Learning Coordinator / High School Social Studies Teacher
“A history degree from Hartwick provided me with the essential foundation for my library science graduate studies and ultimately my career.”
Rejoice Scherry ’13
University Archivist and Special Collections Librarian
“The research and writing skills I learned as a history major prepared me well for my current studies.”
Robert Sanzone ’04
Middle School Teacher