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.


kent schull

May 9, 2024

Making Sense of the Current Situation

On April 17, VCU history’s Alexandrian Society welcomed Kent Schull, Ph.D. of Binghamton University to VCU for his presentation of, “The Question of Genocide and Mass Atrocity Prevention in Israel-Palestine: Making Sense of the Current Situation."

rebecca rose standing in front of the doors to the library of congress

April 18, 2024

Rebecca Rose: From History M.A. student to working at the Library of Congress

Rebecca Rose speaks with Mel Sheehan about her time as a student in the VCU History M.A. Program and her new role at the Library of Congress.

National Endowment for the Humanities grants will help to establish a health humanities minor and support a professor’s book project. (Enterprise Marketing and Communications)

April 18, 2024

National Endowment for the Humanities awards two grants to VCU projects

One will establish a health humanities minor, while the other supports a professor’s book project on visual images of African Americans in leisure contexts from slavery through the Jim Crow era.

History Spotlight