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BA in History Online: Courses

Curriculum Details

36 credit hours required in the major

The online bachelor’s in history from Southwest Minnesota State University is designed to provide a deep understanding of key themes, events, and people throughout a wide range of historical periods. We also weave philosophy and historiography into the study of history, focusing on how interpretation can shape the recording and perception of historical events.

The 100 percent online curriculum includes hands-on research projects to grow your skills using primary sources. Fifteen elective credits are built into the program plan so you can customize your degree for your career goals and interests. Students must have 15 credits of History electives, at least one each from Non-Western, European, and U.S. History courses. Most students complete SMSU’s online history degree in about two years.

History Core


This course is a broadly based survey of major developments in contemporary world history. Major topics will include colonialism and nation building, war, genocide, free trade, socialism, communism, capitalism, democracy, dictatorships, national liberation, human rights, racism, gender, and freedom. Expect units on Asia, Africa, Europe, and the Americas.
A survey of American civilization with emphasis on the political, economic, and social aspects of our development prior to 1865.
A survey of American civilization with emphasis on the social, economic, and political history of the United States from 1865 to the present.
Course surveys European civilization from the time of the Greeks and Romans to the Renaissance.
This course surveys European history from the Renaissance to the 20th century.

This course is a basic introduction to the history of history and the philosophy of history.

This course should be taken as soon as possible after a student declares a history major.

In this capstone course, topics are considered through reading, discussion, and primary research. This course will include a paper based on primary resources.

Non-Western History


This course explores processes of environmental change, examining them in their proper ecological, geographical, and historical contexts. This course also addresses the multi-faceted relationship between human beings and their surroundings as well as changing definitions of environment and nature.
In the first half of the twentieth century, two world wars and the Great Depression revealed the negative effects of the Industrial Revolution and European, U.S., and Japanese imperialism and competition. Through books, and films from the time period, students in this course will examine world history, politics, and culture; going beyond the borders and the conflicts of Europe and the U.S. to investigate Latin America, Africa, and Asia.
This course examines the most important global events and trends since the end of World War Two, including the Cold War and its aftermath, the independence and economic development of newly independent states in South Asia and Africa, the independence of Israel and conflicts in the Middle East, the transformation of China, and the economic, social, and political challenges faced in Latin America.
This course covers the history of Latin America since Independence, with an emphasis on the problems of reform and revolution, the socioeconomic challenges of globalization, and the cultural ferment of the region.
This course surveys the history of Mexico and Central America. It will focus on Amerindian societies before conquest by Spain and other European powers. It will examine the creation of New Spain, a colonial world neither Spanish nor Amerindian, but a combination of both. For modern times, beginning with independence in the early 19th century, the course will focus upon the successes and failures of modernization in Mexico and Central America.
This course covers the history of the relations between Latin America and the United States, addressing the development and execution of U.S. foreign policy in the region, Latin American cooperation with and resistance to the U.S. and the socioeconomic challenges of globalization, and the cultural ferment of the region.
This course will be taught in Spanish; it will serve as both an elective in Spanish and in History. Through Spanish-language sources and class discussion, students will examine the history of Spain and Spanish America since the nineteenth century to 1955. Topics include socioeconomic development; the experience and effect of revolution, civil war, political violence, and dictatorship; and Hispanic cultural influence in the world.
This course will be taught in Spanish; it will serve as both an elective in Spanish and in History. Through Spanish-language sources and class discussion, students will examine the history of Spain and Spanish America since 1955. Topics include socioeconomic development; the experience and effect of the Cuban Revolution, guerrilla insurgencies, military regimes and dictatorships; drug trafficking, reestablishment of democracies and cultural influence in the world.
This course explores the encounter of the peoples of the Americas, Africa, and Europe in the Atlantic World to 1800, with a special emphasis on conceptualizations of race, religion, and gender.
This course will examine the history of Cuba, from pre-colonial times to today, including such topics as the institution of slavery, the sugar business, the struggle for independence from Spain, economic and political relations with the US, the Revolution, and the Castro regime.
This course examines the origins, conduct, and conclusion of World War Two, the most violent conflict in human history. Topics include the racist and fascist basis of German and Japanese aggression, the ideological conflict between fascism and communism (with democracy in-between), the strategic and tactical military history of the war, mobilization and industrial organization of the belligerents, German and Japanese occupation, resistance and collaboration, the Holocaust, life on the Allied home front, the use of massive air bombing by the Allies, the development and decision to use the atomic bomb, and the wars effect beyond the European and Pacific theaters in India, Africa and Latin America. Students will consider several historical studies on the conflict, and complete their own research project using primary resources. Local archives will also be considered, including items in the Southwest Minnesota History Center, the SMSU Library, and the Fagen Flyers WW2 Museum in Granite Falls.
This course will examine the origins of Islamic civilization and the beginnings of some of its key traditions. Topics will include pre-Islamic Arabia, Muhammed as a religious and political leader, Islamic law, sufism (Islamic mysticism), popular piety in the Islamic world, and Muslim social organization.
This course will examine the ongoing crises and conflicts of the Modem Middle East and the possibility of their resolution. We will start with background readings about the Middle East in the foundational periods of Islam and during the Ottoman period. Next we will look at a series of conflicts in the Middle East over the past century and examine them from religious, political, and military perspectives, and see how conflict resolution strategies have been or could be used to resolve these conflicts.

European History


This course will examine the transition of the Roman state from a republic to an imperial monarchy. Topics will include the cultural and political bases of the Roman Republic, growing instability after the Punic wars, Roman military strategies, the rise of Julius Caesar, and the establishment of imperial rule.
A history of Germany from 1815 to the present. Major topics will include the impact of the Napoleonic invasion, German nationalism, the revolution of 1848, unification, the first and second world wars, the Nazi movement, and contemporary Germany.
This course surveys Russian civilization from the Kievan period to the present.
This course surveys England from Anglo-Saxon times to the present.

United States History


A broad look at American social, cultural, and political history in a crucial modern period.
This course examines the experience of Vietnamese and American women and man as they endured the Vietnam War. Critical examination of the Cold War, Colonialism, and Independence movements, and the experience of soldiers will be expected. The course makes extensive use of primary and secondary sources.
This course covers the years from 1763-1816, the beginnings of the American Revolution through the War of 1812. It focuses on the intellectual, social, economic and political developments that brought about the American colonies break from Britain, the founding of the republic, and the launching of the republican experiment.
This course is a history of children and youth in America from colonial times to the present. It looks across time at the role of the family, the school, and the state in relation to children.
This course will study events leading up to the United States Civil War, the impact of the war itself, and its aftermath. Special attention will be paid to issues of race, territorial expansion, the law, and economic development.

This course examines the experience of African American women and men from slavery days until the present. We will use as an interpretative framework the concepts of resistance and institution building as a way of explaining the remarkable changes that have been the experience of black people in the United States.

This course surveys American women’s history from the colonial era through the modern era. The course will focus on the evolution of women’s roles within American society and women’s contributions to the development of American society. The texts used cover the stories of women from various ethnic, social, and economic backgrounds.

This course focuses on the situation of vulnerable people and American society’s response to them from colonial times to the present, considering both the state and private response to those in need.

This course is designed to give the student a concentrated study of a crucial period in American history, 1920 through World War II. Emphasis will be placed on the political, economic, and social issues of the time.
The Examined Life is a study of the intellectual history of the United States from colonial times to the twentieth century through the medium of autobiography.
This course surveys the social, economic, and political development of Minnesota.

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