Why study history?

The study of history begins with questions, not answers. We seek to know what happened in the past, and we also seek to understand why.

As our present-day context raises new challenges for our communities, historians are inspired to ask new questions about the past, seeking understanding of a broad variety of human experiences. Historians explore questions about past politics and economics, intellectual developments, social concerns shaped by race, gender and class, and facets of culture ranging from arts and languages to human spaces and emotions. As a result, the study of history is dynamic, rather than static, and those trained in this discipline develop valuable skills in gathering, evaluating, connecting and interpreting factual information, and in the use of evidence to argue persuasively for their conclusions.

Learn more about what historians do and why employers value these skills.


mel sheehan as a baby sitting on her nana's lap

Sept. 22, 2023

My Salvadoran Heritage

VCU history student Mel Sheehan digs into her roots and shares the culture of her Salvadoran family.

artistic drawing of brazil coastline

Sept. 6, 2023

I Shall Stay Day: Unpacking Brazil’s Fight for Independence

September 7 is Brazil's independence day. History student Mel Sheehan invites you to explore the history of the Brazilian fight for independence.

Kai Frazier, who graduated from VCU with a bachelor’s degree in history, founded Kai XR, a metaverse platform for educating children. (Contributed photo)

Aug. 31, 2023

VCU alum Kai Frazier brings the world to students through virtual field trips

Combining her background in teaching and museum work, 2008 history graduate broadens access for youths to immerse themselves in life-changing learning.

History Spotlight


Collaboration and sharing are at the core of our mission.

matthew hale

The Revolutionary Invention of the American “Democrat”

Date: Tuesday, Oct 17, 2023

Join us October 17 for “The Revolutionary Invention of the American 'Democrat.'” The lecture discusses the history behind Americans self-identifying as "democrats" and how the American Revolution elevated to new heights the idea of “the people” as supreme ruler.