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University Catalog

Department of History

Isadora Helfgott, Department Chair
158 History Building
Phone: (307) 766-5101, FAX: (307) 766-5192


RENEE LAEGREID, B.A. Washington State University 1982; M.A.L.S. Wesleyan University 1994; Ph.D. University of Nebraska 2002; Professor of History 2015, 2012.

Associate Professors

ISADORA A. HELFGOTT, B.A. Swarthmore College 1994; A.M. Harvard University 1997; Ph.D. 2006; Associate Professor of History 2015, 2009.
JEFFREY D. MEANS, B.A. Grand Canyon University 1995; M.A. University of Montana 2001; Ph.D. University of Oklahoma 2007; Associate Professor of History 2013, 2007.

Assistant Professor

ADAM BLACKLER, B.A. Carroll College 2006; M.A. University of Wyoming 2009; Ph.D. University of Minnesota – Twin Cities 2017; Assistant Professor of History 2018.
ALEXANDRA KELLY, B.A. University of Chicago 2004; M.A. 2005; Ph.D. Stanford University 2014; Assistant Professor of History and Anthropology 2014.
BARBARA E. LOGAN, B.A. Queens College, CUNY 1986; Ph.D. University of California-Santa Cruz 2002; Assistant Professor of History 2018, 2011.
MELISSA MORRIS, B.A. Miami University 2004; M.A. Miami University 2010; Ph.D. Columbia University 2017; Assistant Professor of History 2018.

Professors Emeriti

Eric D. Kohler, William H. Moore, Phil Roberts


History is a foundational discipline that blends the methodologies and perspective of the humanities and social sciences in order to engage with the history of human culture on a global scale. UW’s History degree program emphasizes interdisciplinary teaching and research and provides course work, research experiences, and internships on both American and international topics. The History program offers a Bachelor of Arts degree major and minor, and a Master of Arts degree.

The study of History at the University of Wyoming provides students with the tools to comprehend the present in order to prepare for the future. Challenging courses are designed to facilitate critical thinking and the development of analytical skills. Each of our courses features the discussion of complex issues, the development of writing and reading skills, and is generally oriented toward promoting individual enrichment. The professional skills that the History program instills transcend our field and allow students to work toward a variety of career choices such as business, law, government service, public history, archives and museum work, education, management, writing, and graduate studies. The ability to develop perspective, render informed judgments, and function as productive citizens of the global community stand as hallmarks of our program.

Learning Outcomes

It is the goal of the History department that our graduates have the following skills and knowledge:

  • Students shall be able to demonstrate thinking skills by analyzing, synthesizing, and evaluating historical information from multiple sources.
  • Students will develop the ability to distinguish between fact and fiction while understanding that there is no one historical truth.
  • Students will produce well-researched written work that engages with both primary sources and the secondary literature.
  • Students will develop an informed familiarity with multiple cultures.
  • Students will employ a full range of techniques and methods used to gain historical knowledge.
  • Students will develop an ability to convey verbally their historical knowledge.
  • Students will demonstrate their understanding of cause and effect along with their knowledge of the general chronology of human experience.

Undergraduate Major

The History major requires a minimum of 36 credit hours in History courses or approved substitutions and an additional 12 hours of a single foreign language or equivalent credit by examination as determined by the Department of Modern and Classical Languages. All courses used to satisfy major requirements – including the language requirement – must be completed with a grade of C or better. To complete the Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree in History, all University Studies Program (USP) and college requirements must also be satisfied.

Specific requirements for the History major are as follows:

Lower-Division Electives (12 hours)

Upper-Division Electives (15 hours)

Elective: any level (3 hours):

One additional History course at any level

Two required courses (6 hours):

  1. HIST 3020, Historical Methods
  2. HIST 4030, Senior Capstone Seminar


Students must complete three semesters of a single foreign language or the equivalent as determined by the Department of Modern and Classical Languages. This requirement may be satisfied by American Sign Language.

Undergraduate Minor

The history minor must take at least 18 semester hours of history courses, 9 hours of which must be at the 3000-4000 level. These courses must be taken for letter grades with a minimum earned grade of C. For assistance in tailoring the minor content, contact the department office.

History/Social Studies Education Majors

Through a cooperative agreement with the College of Education, students can now earn concurrent majors or dual degrees in history and secondary education in social studies. Interested students should inquire with the Office of Teacher Education, McWhinnie Hall, room 100.

Graduate Study

The History Department a Master of Arts (MA) degree.

Program Specific Admission Requirements

General Regulations

The Department of History requires 18 hours of undergraduate history courses as minimum preparation for admission. The rules under which the student enters remain those governing the program for the duration of the student's continued enrollment. In accordance with university graduate regulations, students are responsible for meeting all deadlines and for fulfilling all requirements for the degree.

Application and Admissions

To be eligible for financial support in the form of a Graduate Assistantship, the Department of History must receive all materials by March 1. All other application materials must be received by the Department of History no later than May 1. The application process is now completely online. In addition to the application, applicants must upload the following documents via the UW Admissions website (

  1. GRE EXAM with a score of at least 150 on the verbal reasoning section and a score of at least 141 on the quantitative reasoning section is required.
  2. Three letters of recommendation that assess the student's academic and research abilities. 
  3. Transcripts from all undergraduate institutions and graduate programs.
  4. A writing sample of 10-20 pages, typically either a portion of a senior thesis or an upper-level seminar paper.
  5. A statement of purpose of 250-500 words, explaining the applicant's preparation, interests, and plans. Please indicate if you would like to be considered for a graduate assistantship.

Program Specific Graduate Assistantships

When applicants submit their materials to the Department of History, they should indicate their wish to be considered for a Graduate Assistantship. Anyone receiving financial support must be registered as a full-time (9 hours per semester) student and must be making acceptable progress towards degree completion. Renewal of Graduate Assistantships is contingent on such progress. Support is not given for more than two academic years.

Program Specific Degree Requirements

Master's Program

Candidates for the MA in history are required to complete a minimum of 31 hours of graduate credit. Students must complete 27 hours of coursework, with at least 24 hours in history. This will include:

  1. History 5880, History Theory.
  2. 12 hours of history course work in 5000-level, non dual-listed courses (excluding HIST 5880).
  3. 4 hours of thesis research (HIST 5960).
  4. Students must demonstrate a reading knowledge of a foreign language appropriate to their research. Generally, the language requirement may be met by either of the following options:
    (a) Passing a language exam administered by the Department of History.
    (b) Completing the equivalent of the fourth semester of a language as offered at the University of Wyoming. All courses must be passed with a grade of C or better (may be taken pass/fail). In special cases other relevant historical tools may substitute for the language requirement upon approval of the thesis advisor and the Graduate Coordinator.
  5. In the spring semester of the first year, typically in early February, as scheduled by the Department Chair, the student will publicly defend his/her thesis proposal, which must include a written research prospectus and bibliography.
  6. The student will successfully defend the final thesis draft before the Graduate Committee.

History (HIST) Courses

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