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Department of History

Offering doctoral, master's, public history, and bachelor's programs.

The World Is Open to AU History Majors

History classes hone our students' research, writing, and analytical skills. Our home in Washington, DC, offers students unparalleled resources for research, internships, and jobs. The nation's capital is our classroom.

Our outstanding faculty are not only exemplary teachers and scholars, but they are also actively involved with archives, museums, government institutions, and non-profits in DC, across the United States, and around the world. Whether you are interested in working in government, private industry, non-profits, or academia, AU's Department of History offers a stepping stone to a promising career.

The History Department offers a BA, a minor, a combined BA/MA, an MA in History, an MA in Public History, and a PhD

Fast-Track Your Way to a BA and MA in History

American University's Combined BA/MA Degree program allows students to complete both their BA and MA in History in 5 years. Students in the BA/MA program save upwards of $22,000 in tuition costs by sharing credits between the two degrees. 

Students may pursue either the General MA program or the Public History program. Inquire at to learn more about our BA/MA program.

Spring 2024 Special Topics Courses

HIST 296 001

3 credits, Dr. Kondoyanidi, Mondays & Thursdays, 11:20 AM - 12:35 PM

Since the eighteenth century, the idea of revolutionary social change has been a central element in the Russian understanding of history, in what may be called the historical and cultural mythology of Russia. This course explores how Russian authors viewed revolutionary epochs. Students read literary works by Fyodor Dostoevsky, Anton Chekhov, Maxim Gorky, Ivan Bunin, Mikhail Bulgakov, Vasily Grossman, Boris Pasternak, and Alexander Solzhenitsyn, among other Russian writers. Although these writings engage the mythology of revolutionary change, Russian writers do not describe these transitional moments as triumphant or glorious; instead, they portray the new social worlds as bizarre, ruthless, painful, and confused fusions of the past and future.

HIST 344 001

3 credits, Dr. Sperling, Tuesdays & Fridays, 12:55 PM - 2:10 PM

This course traces the long history of antisemitism in America and the myriad ways it has shaped American Jewish experiences. Subjects include barriers such as immigration and hiring quotas, violence committed by gangs and Nazi sympathizers, and the religious and cultural negotiations Jews made to 'fit in' as Americans.

Crosslist: JWST-396-001.

HIST 396 001

3 credits, Dr. Partovi, Mondays and Thursdays, 2:30 PM - 3:45 PM

This course considers the history of urban male associations in the Middle East from the early Islamic period to modern times. Course materials and class discussions examine how gangs and guilds have both organized and disrupted public life in the region, including contemporary manifestations like the Mahdi Army and Islamic State.

HIST 412 001

3 credits, Dr. Giandrea, Tuesdays and Fridays, 2:30 PM - 3:45 PM

The course of European history was changed forever when the Vikings began to take an interest in their neighbors. What began as a series of small but devastating raids in the late eighth century soon mushroomed into a mass movement of Scandinavians to Ireland, Britain, France, and beyond, forever altering the landscapes of these kingdoms. To their victims they were heathen pirates who killed without regard for age, gender, or status. But the Vikings also impacted Europe in more positive ways, opening up long-distance trade routes and encouraging urban development, among other things. This course takes a broad view of the Viking world by considering the evidence for the Vikings themselves as well as their impact abroad. Students use material evidence (i.e., archaeology) and primary sources to better understand Viking society and religion, technology, ways of warfare and influence across time and space.

Crosslist: HIST-612-001.


  • Laura Beers published Orwell's Ghosts: Wisdom and Warnings for the Twenty-First Century (W. W. Norton and Company, 2024).

  • M.J. Rymsza-Pawlowska was chosen for a Us@250 Fellowship with New America to support a longform article on local and federal efforts for Bicentennial planning in D.C. and her on-going research on tourism to Washington, D.C. 

  • Peter Kuznick spoke with CGTN, Izvestia, TVC Russia, WION News, RT International, and RTVI about a variety of topics ranging from US foreign affairs to the ongoing conflicts in Europe and the Middle East.

  • Gautham Rao (History) co-authored a brief to the Supreme Court for consideration in the Trump v. U.S. case.

  • Congratulations to Prof. Alan Kraut on reaching 50 years of dedicated service in the AU Department of History!

  • History Alumnus Matthew Skic was featured in the Philadelphia Inquirer for his discovery of the only-known eyewitness depiction of women camp followers during the American Revolutionary War. He is currently the Curator of Exhibitions at the Museum of the American Revolution. 

  • PhD History Alumnus Dr. Thomas Hauser published Flying in the Shadows: Forging Aerial Intelligence for the United States Army (US Government Publishing Office, 2023).


Department News

To the Point

Government & Politics ·

To the Point: What Are the Implications of Trump’s Shocking NATO Comments?

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Tim Doud with his Art at Amtrak mural “A Great Public Work”

Research ·

College Faculty Receive 80 Awards Totaling Over $11 Million in 2023

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Top image credit: Teddy Roosevelt (right of man in white vest) watches the laying of the cornerstone for AU's McKinley Building, 1902.
AU Archives. Read more about AU's presidential past.