Our history program strives to increase students’ understanding of the past in order to give them a better perspective on the contemporary world. With training in research, writing and analysis, our majors are well prepared for graduate work as well as a variety of careers in such fields as education, government, museum studies and business.

Our Program

While we emphasize American and European history, students learn to appreciate our multicultural world through a variety of courses on non-Western regions. We encourage majors to immerse themselves in other cultures through study abroad programs in such diverse locations as Italy, Egypt, France and Senegal.

Closer to home, we take full advantage of our location in Newport, a leading seaport in the Colonial and Revolutionary eras and a favorite summer destination for the wealthy during the Gilded Age. From courses on the religious history of Newport to internship opportunities at historical societies, archives and museums, we offer unique, hands-on learning experiences in a living historical environment.

Students may also choose to double major in history and secondary education, which prepares them to apply for Rhode Island teacher certification for grades 7-12.

Program Spotlight: Battlefield Analysis

In collaboration with the Middletown Historical Society, our students completed an investigative analysis of the Siege of Newport, a 1778 battle that became one of the largest military operations of the American Revolution. The historic effort to retake Newport was the first joint military operation of the newly formed alliance between the French and the Colonials.

The 365-page document was the first in-depth analysis of the battlefield that could very well have been the site where the Revolutionary War was won. The research was commissioned by the National Park Service’s American Battlefield Protection Program.

Our Faculty

Our faculty are scholar-teachers whose areas of expertise include the American Revolution, the American immigrant experience and urban studies. In addition to providing world-class instruction, each of our faculty members has published a book with a leading university press.

Meet Our Faculty

Life After Salve

A degree in history develops students' analytical abilities and strengthens their research and writing skills. Our curriculum prepares students for graduate programs, law school and a variety of career paths.

In the Workforce

  • Teaching: Graduates teach at the high school or middle school level, in public and private schools.
  • Museums, archives and public history: Graduates are working in museums, historical societies and libraries.
  • Public service and government: Graduates have served in federal and state agencies along with political organizations.
  • Business: Graduates work in banks, the insurance industry, information technology companies and real estate agencies.

Graduate and Law School

Graduates have pursued advanced degrees in law, history and related fields such as archival studies or education at institutions such as:

  • Catholic Theological Union
  • New York University
  • Northeastern University
  • State University of New York
  • Suffolk University
  • Tulane University
  • University of Connecticut
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst
  • University of Pennsylvania
  • University of Vermont

 The history program gave me such a diverse pool of educational content that I felt like I was ready to teach any area of history after graduation. In my current position teaching AP U.S. history, I use so much of what I learned in class - I’m even using my old Salve notebooks to prepare lesson plans. 

Michael McNamara ‘16
High school social studies teacher, St. Raphael Academy

Major in History (B.A.)

12 courses | 37 credits

Required courses:

  • HIS270: The Historian's Craft
  • HIS390: Historical Research Methods
  • HIS490: Senior Thesis Capstone

Students choose eight additional courses in history, including one non-Western history elective. They also take one elective in cultural and historic preservation.

All majors choose a concentration in either American history or modern European history.

Major in History and Secondary Education (B.A.S.)

12 courses | 35 credits

To earn the double major, students complete the courses listed below and must also meet the requirements for secondary education.

Required courses:

  • HIS103: Western Civilization I: 500 B.C.-1500 A.D.
  • HIS113: History of the United States to 1877
  • HIS114: History of the United States Since 1877
  • HIS270: The Historian’s Craft
  • HIS390: Historical Research Methods
  • HIS490: Senior Thesis Capstone

Students choose five additional courses in American history, European history and non-Western history, along with one geography workshop.

Minor in History

7 courses | 21 credits

Required courses:

  • HIS113: History of the United States to 1877
  • HIS114: History of the United States Since 1877

Students choose five additional courses in history, with a minimum of three in one concentration. At least four courses must be at the 200 level or higher.


American History

Students who concentrate in American history obtain a solid overview of American history from the colonial period to the present.

Additional required courses:

  • HIS113: History of the United States to 1877
  • HIS114: History of the United States Since 1877

Students also choose three of the following:

  • HIS225: Introduction to Public History
  • HIS251: Sport in America
  • HIS313: American Immigrant Experience
  • HIS316: American Economic History
  • HIS320: The American Revolution
  • HIS321: America's Civil War
  • HIS322: Urban America
  • HIS340: History of Warfare
  • HIS403: Modern America
  • HIS415: Modern American Foreign Policy
  • HIS422: American Presidency

Modern European History

Students concentrating in modern European history acquire a sound foundation of European history from the French Revolution to the present.

Additional required courses:

  • HIS113: History of the United States to 1877 or HIS114: History of the United States Since 1877
  • HIS201: Europe 1789-1914
  • HIS202: Europe 1914-1990s 

Students also choose four of the following national history courses:

  • HIS306: Modern Germany
  • HIS308: Modern France
  • HIS309: Modern Russia
  • HIS310: Modern England
  • HIS311: Modern Ireland
  • HIS312: Modern Italy