The major in history exists because of that special environment in which man lives: time. History is a way of understanding the ways men and their societies change over time. Furthermore, history properly understood should focus not just on the events and changes, but also on the reasons for those changes. Thus, history stresses more than just knowledge of places or facts; rather, it stresses analysis and insight.

History serves to instill in its practitioners a number of qualities. The ability to analyze and understand is paramount to an understanding of history. The ability to express oneself well, be it in speech or in prose, is crucial. The ability to adopt a critical sense of one’s material is important, as is the ability to read accurately and well. Students should be able to cultivate a historical sense that will free them from the presuppositions of their own era, and teach them empathy for other peoples and places. History has long been considered the ally of the statesman and lawyer, and serves these professions well. Finally, as Cicero noted, “To be ignorant of what happened before you were born is to live the life of a child forever.”

The history major begins with a core program that is required for all undergraduates and has several aims. First, it is meant to provide a framework and background for the University’s curriculum such that students can develop an understanding of the historical context in which the other subjects they are studying arose. Second, it is meant to give all students a sense of era and period, a sense of history. Third, it is meant to give the students a common culture and context for discussing and interactions based on their knowledge of history. Finally, it is meant to assist the other departments at the University in the inculcation of analytical skills for critical thinking and reading, as well as good prose style and writing habits, in Ave Maria students.

Explore the History Program

In addition to the core curriculum, history majors take the following courses
HIST 208 Intermediate History of the United States
HIST 401 Historiography
HIST 490/495 Senior Seminar/Honors Thesis

Elective Options
HIST 224 Medieval Europe
HIST 225 Renaissance & Reformation
HIST 228 20th Century Europe
HIST 266 British Empire
HIST 267 Victorian Society
HIST 290 History of Ideas
HIST 301 Topics in Church History
HIST 307 The United States Presidency
HIST 312 America: The Colonial Era
HIST 313 America: The Revolution through the Civil War
HIST 314 America: Reconstruction through the Present
HIST 322 Ancient Greece
HIST 323 Ancient Rome
HIST 335 History of Modern Italy
HIST 352 American Economic History
HIST 355 The American West
HIST 359 American Political History
HIST 362 The Crusades
HIST 363 Chivalry and Knighthood
HIST 367 War & Culture
HIST 372 The Holocaust

See the Academic Catalog for course descriptions

Any job needs people who can think, analyze, write and be persuasive and those are the skills history majors learn in addition to acquiring historical knowledge and understanding about the world they live in. The American Historical Association External link details the careers that historians should consider.

Paul Baxa, Ph.D.

Chair of the History Department and Associate Professor
Education: B.A., York University; M.A., Ph.D., University of Toronto.
Office: Henkels 2019
Phone: (239) 280-1661
Fax: (239) 280-1637

Daniel Davy, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of History
Education: B.A. (cum laude), Ave Maria University; M.Sc. (honours), University of Edinburgh; Ph.D. (distinction), University of Otago.
Office: Henkels 2021
Phone: (239) 304-7127
Fax: (239) 280-1637

Michael Breidenbach, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of History
Education: B.A., American Studies and History, Northwestern University; M. Phil, Political Thought and Intellectual History, University of Cambridge; Ph.D., History, University of Cambridge
Office: Henkels 2014A
Phone: (239) 280-1570
Fax: (239) 280-1637

Bradley Ritter, Ph. D.

Associate Professor of Classics and History
Education: B.A., University of Florida;
M.A., University of California, Berkeley;
Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley
Office: Canizaro Library 218
Phone: (239) 280-1667

Michael Sugrue, Ph.D.

Professor of History
Education: A.B., University of Chicago; M.A., Ph.D., Columbia University.
Office: Henkels 2018
Phone: (239) 280-1624
Fax: (239) 280-1637

Mary Blanchard, D. Phil. (candidate)

Instructor of History
Education:  B.A., History, Ave Maria University; M.A., Medieval Studies, Western Michigan University; D.Phil (candidate), History, University of Oxford
Office: Henkels 2028
Phone: (239) 280-1563