Department of History
Welcome to the Shepherd University Department of History! Here you’ll find faculty and students who share your passion for uncovering and interpreting the past. We offer small class sizes, courses that span from ancient civilization to Renaissance Italy to modern Japan, and the chance to work directly with top faculty in the profession.
Shepherd’s location on the banks of the Potomac and in the lower Shenandoah Valley provides a setting especially conducive to historical study. The many Native American names on the landscape provide evidence of the earliest dwellers in the area. The oldest town in West Virginia, Shepherdstown is a living museum of architecture and material culture. James Rumsey built and operated the first steamboat here, and the contending forces of the Civil War fought the deadliest battle in American history across the river at Antietam. Three national historical parks are nearby: the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, Harpers Ferry, and Antietam. Other parks, historical sites, museums, and the major research repositories of the Library of Congress and the National Archives are within a reasonable drive or accessible by commuter train.
We offer undergraduate degrees in three concentrations: general, Civil War/Nineteenth-Century America, and Historic Preservation/Public History. Our majors develop strong skills in writing, research, and critical thinking, which lead to exciting and meaningful careers. Some are professional historians who work in publishing, national and state parks, museums, historical societies, and archives. Others take the knowledge and experience they gain at Shepherd to work in government agencies, journalism, business, diplomatic fields, law, and education.
Our Civil War/Nineteenth-Century America and Historic Preservation/Public History concentrations are Common Market programs for students in many of the surrounding states, offering West Virginia in-state tuition.
The George Tyler Moore Center for the Study of the Civil War
Students interested in the Civil War era may gain experience at Shepherd University’s George Tyler Moore Center for the Study of the Civil War, which is engaged in a long-term project to establish a Civil War soldier database, with initial emphasis on West Virginia soldiers. The Center has a magnificent Civil War library and sponsors lectures by leading authorities on antebellum and Civil War history, summer seminars, and battlefield tours.