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.


Twenty-one projects have been awarded funding from the 2024 VCU Quest Fund. (Enterprise Marketing and Communications)

July 17, 2024

VCU Quest Fund provides grants to 21 faculty-led projects that target society’s biggest challenges

Transdisciplinary research teams are pursuing advances in health, engineering, the environment, homeland security and more.

Now in its third year, the VCU Breakthroughs Fund has supported more than 30 projects through investments totaling nearly $6 million. (Enterprise Marketing and Communications)

July 2, 2024

VCU Breakthroughs Fund provides grants to 10 more faculty-led projects that pursue transformative innovation

Health, equity, sustainability and the human experience are the driving forces for transdisciplinary teams that target society’s grand challenges.

Andrew Crislip

July 1, 2024

Andrew Crislip appointed chair of history

Crislip currently serves as the Blake Chair in the History of Christianity within the Department of History.

History Spotlight


Collaboration and sharing are at the core of our mission.

Front facade of the brick 3 story history department office building

New History Graduate Student Orientation

Date: Thursday, Aug 15, 2024

The new history graduate student orientation will be held on Thursday, August 15.