The study of 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. Most importantly, it teaches one to think historically.

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 100 Doing History
  • HIST 201 The Formation of Europe, c. 800-1648
  • HIST 202 Imagining Modern Europe, 1648-Present
  • HIST 208 History of the United States from the Colonial Era to
  • Reconstruction or HIST 209 History of the United States from
  • Reconstruction to the Present
  • HIST 490/495 Senior Seminar/Honors Thesis

Elective Options (4 Required)

  • MUSC 101 Gregorian Chant (1 credit)
  • MUSC 305 Heritage of Sacred Music
  • MUSC 312 Survey of Western Music History I (3 credits)
  • HIST 362 The Crusades
  • HIST 375 The Viking World
  • HIST 324 Anglo-Saxon England
  • PHIL 403 Political Philosophy
  • PHIL 406 St. Augustine
  • PHIL 407 St. Thomas Aquinas
  • POLT 302 Catholic Political Thought
  • THEO 306 Catholic Spirituality
  • THEO 412 Mary, Mother of God
  • THEO 414 St. Thomas Aquinas

See the Academic Catalogue 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, Associate Professor of History
Education: B.A., History, York University; M.A., History, University of Toronto; Ph.D., History, University of Toronto
Office: Henkels 2019
Phone: (239) 280-1661

Mary Blanchard, D.Phil.

Instructor of History
Education: B.A., History, Ave Maria University; M.A., Medieval Studies, Western Michigan University; D.Phil, History, University of Oxford
Office: Henkels 3034
Phone: (239) 280-1563

Michael Breidenbach, Ph.D.

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

Daniel Davy, Ph.D.

Assistant Dean of Faculty, Assistant Professor of History
Education: B.A., History, Ave Maria University; M.Sc. (honors), History, University of Edinburgh; Ph.D., History, University of Otago, New Zealand
Office: Henkels 2021
Phone: (239) 304-7127

Bradley Ritter, Ph.D.

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

Michael Sugrue, Ph.D.

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