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Department of History

The study of history is an important path to informed and effective citizenship. Its emphasis on broad knowledge, critical reading, careful judgment and precise writing offers excellent pre-professional preparation for a wide range of careers in business, public service, the law, teaching, the military, the ministry, journalism, and library and museum employment.

The Department of History faculty guide students toward professional careers and provide opportunities to support academic preparation with field experience in the community. Oakland University's teacher preparation program offers a history concentration in the secondary teaching major and draws on history in the social studies concentration of the elementary teaching major.

Careers in college teaching and other forms of professional historical scholarship require post-graduate training. The History Department's Master of Arts program may serve either as a terminal degree or as a bridge to more advanced study. Like the undergraduate program, it is designed to accommodate both full- and part-time students. In addition to a full daytime schedule, late afternoon and evening courses are available.


Studying history is a lot like journalism. You're headed toward a destination and it can be excruciating because you're pulling in all of this information. You're like, "How in the world am I going to fit this, or am I going to expand this?" It's a Rubik's cube of trying to figure out how can I present it in this organized way so my reader is like, "He's brought me an insight that I didn't know before." My name is John Stoll and I am the business columnist for The Wall Street Journal. I graduated from Oakland University in 2000 with a history degree. My job is to basically try to take the biggest business issues going on in corporate America and make them accessible for the weekend reader. The most exciting part of my job is to break the news. To be able to go to your readers and say, "Here's something you didn't know." It's always an adrenaline rush to be the first. The truth is very hard to get at. It takes a lot of research and a lot of conversations with a diverse group of sources and a diverse group of people to really get at what really happened. That's what journalists do. Journalists try to tell you the truth. I'm always using the tools of trying to find the primary sources, trying to find people who were there. I went to Oakland University's history department never thinking that I was going to be a historian or teach history. I wanted to learn how to study and I wanted to learn how to research and I wanted to learn how to make arguments. Now, a lot of people would say, "What are you going to do with a history degree?" You can do a lot with a history degree. You're going to learn a lot about how to classify information, how to find people, how to relate with people and talk to people and empathize, and see the other side of things that maybe you hadn't seen before. You don't have to go anywhere else to get the best history education. You'll get it at Oakland. Because of my history degree, I understand.

Department of History

Varner Hall, Room 415
371 Varner Dr.
Rochester, MI 48309-4482
(location map)
(248) 370-3510
fax: (248) 370-3528