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.


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.

zena hitz

April 11, 2024

God and the Search for Happiness Blake Lecture Recap

On March 19, Zena Hitz, Ph.D., was the guest speaker at the annual William E. and Miriam S. Blake Lecture on the History of Christianity. Hitz discussed how monks and nuns are called and driven by a desire of fulfillment and happiness to a life of religious service.

VCU alum Nathan Vernon Madison is a scholar of both comic book history and Virginia’s economic and industrial past. (Kevin Morley, Enterprise Marketing and Communications)

March 1, 2024

With expertise ranging from comics to economics, VCU alum earns honor from History Department

Nathan Vernon Madison, who has explored expansive interests, is the author of several books and has worked on documentary films.

History Spotlight


Collaboration and sharing are at the core of our mission.

v.c.u. graduates with their graduation caps at the commencement

History Commencement Ceremony

Date: Saturday, May 11, 2024

Join the history department for the celebration of our graduates.