The Department of History stands against racism, hatred, bigotry, and inequality in all their forms, whether personal or institutional. Eloquent statements from Professor Allen, Professor Petty, and Professor Vinson in the news section below address the historical, political, and cultural implications of the current pandemic and the social and political upheavals sparked by pernicious racial and economic inequalities in this country.
The dedicated faculty and distinctive history of the Lyon Gardiner Tyler Department of History give it a unique character. The Department fosters a learning environment that revolves around close interaction among students and professors.
Housed in James Blair Hall on Old Campus, the Department is a stone’s throw from Colonial Williamsburg. History was first taught at William & Mary in 1803. Today the Department houses more than 35 permanent faculty members, 50 master’s and doctoral students currently in the program, and approximately 100 undergraduate history majors graduating every year. The faculty have areas of expertise ranging across the globe and covering every era from the ancient world to the twenty-first century.
Our History major encourages undergraduate students to explore the interacting histories of Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, and North America. Graduate students pursue master’s and doctoral degrees in a broad range of chronological and geographic areas. We pride ourselves on helping our students to acquire a deep and broad knowledge of the events, personalities, and issues of world history, and to develop the methodological and analytical skills required to open up all realms of the past to critical inquiry. We push students to question their own assumptions about the past, and we train them to articulate their ideas in lucid oral and written form.
Our faculty members have won William & Mary's, Virginia's, and the historical profession's most prestigious awards for teaching, for scholarship, and for general excellence; US News & World Report's 2017 rankings of graduate programs in History named William & Mary one of the top three universities in the country in which to study U.S. colonial history, alongside the University of Pennsylvania and Harvard University.