Welcome to PLU History!

We’re glad that you stopped by. For department news and stories, check out our blog features and alumni updates. For more on what we offer in our major and minor, just keep reading.

What do we do here? History students at Pacific Lutheran University develop the skills needed to ask important questions, collect and evaluate evidence, work collaboratively with others, and offer clear and evidence-based explanations of past events and phenomena.

History Faculty Mike Halvorson, Beth Griech-Polelle, Gina Hames, and Rebekah Mergenthal (May 2024).

Through research and writing projects, internships, lively discussions, class presentations and other opportunities, students build their confidence as poised critical thinkers and effective communicators. History students can study off campus for a month or a semester in many parts of the world, earning credit that counts toward a History major or minor.

Make choices about your future while studying the past.  History faculty provide individual advising that supports students as they develop their vocational interests, career paths, and graduate study plans.  Join us!

To declare a major or minor with just a few clicks, send a note with the subject “Sign me up!” to History chair Rebekah Mergenthal, mergenrm@plu.edu.  Email if you just have questions about our program, too.

Mission Statement

What is studying history all about at PLU?

Traditionally, the discipline of history has focused on the critical analysis of text-based evidence from the past and seeks a detailed, complex understanding of individual and collective human behaviors as they have changed over time.

PLU students of history develop lifelong habits of critical thinking, inquiry-based reading of texts, effective research and technical skills, and the appreciation of complexity and diversity in human behavior.

History majors also develop the skills needed to work collaboratively, organize and deliver oral presentations on historical subjects, and produce substantial research papers that demonstrate the student’s competency in historical research and written expression.

What can you do after PLU? History graduates prepare for active citizenship and a variety of career opportunities, including library and information sciences, research, jobs in technology, government service, journalism, law, business, or graduate school in History. Many of our graduates consider teaching at the middle school, high school, or college levels. For more information, click Why Study History?

Benson Family Endowed Chair in History

The Benson program is excited to support the Innovation Studies minor and its curriculum encouraging creativity, entrepreneurship, and ethical reflection.

Raphael Lemkin Lecture & Award Ceremony

About the Lecture and Essay Contest

Kurt Mayer Chair and Endowment

Contact Dr. Beth Griech-Polelle about research fellowships and Holocaust and Genocide studies at PLU.