Cockefair Hall, Room 203
5121 Rockhill Road
(816) 235-1631

Department Chair:
Brian Frehner

Professors Emeriti:
William B. Ashworth Jr., Jesse V. Clardy, Gary Ebersole, James S. Falls, Miriam Forman-Brunell, John T. Graham, Herman M. Hattaway, Carla L. Klausner, Dennis Merrill, Linda Mitchell, Stanley B. Parsons, Lynda Payne, Patrick A. Peebles, Louis W. Potts, Joseph P. Schultz

Andrew Stuart Bergerson, Diane Mutti Burke, Viviana Grieco, Massimiliano Vitiello

Associate Professors:
David Freeman, Brian Frehner, Matthew Warner Osborn

Assistant Professors:
Sandra Enríquez  

Associate Teaching Professor:
Rebecca Miller Davis

Associate Research Professor (William T. Kemper Digital and Public Humanities):
David Trowbridge

Department Description

History is an essential component of a liberal arts education. Historical study enables students to understand peoples and places, societies and cultures, ideas and events. Beyond its own inherent interest, history provides important perspective on the present and makes planning for the future possible.

The department offers, at the undergraduate and graduate levels, courses in African American history; American history; ancient, medieval, and modern European history; Classics; environmental history; Latin American history; Latinx history; public history; urban and social history; and women’s, gender, and sexuality studies. The department is also involved in interdisciplinary courses and programs.

Desirable Preparation for Undergraduate Admission

Students wishing to major in history should acquire as broad a background as possible in subjects related to their historical interests. Both secondary school and community college courses in history should be supplemented with courses in other social sciences and the humanities.

The discipline is broad in scope and methods. Faculty members believe a logical and systematic selection of courses in other disciplines will complement the study of history. They encourage prospective majors to consult with them in preparing an integrated course of study.

Career Implications of the Bachelor's Degree

Among the many fields you might consider are: business, education, government, journalism, law, marketing and communications, public history (e.g. museums, archives, historical societies), and publishing.

Why so many opportunities? Consider this: the study of history trains you how to think—not in a small or prescribed way, but in an expansive, analytical way. In our courses, you will discover that a flexible and perceptive mind is the most practical tool imaginable. You will become an excellent writer and communicator with the ability to research and analyze complex problems with dexterity and finesse, a skill that will help you regardless of your chosen career path.

If your interests remain in the academic world, know that our students have gone on to many top-flight colleges and universities. Recent UMKC history majors have pursued graduate study at the state universities of California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Mississippi, Nebraska, New York, Texas, and Virginia, as well as at Brown University, Cambridge University, Columbia University, Emory University, Georgetown University, King's College London, London School of Economics, Marquette University, Northwestern University, Ohio State University, Princeton University, Queen's University Belfast, Southern Methodist University, Texas Tech University, University of British Columbia, University of Notre Dame, and Yale University.

Individuals seeking careers as teachers and professional historians may pursue advanced degrees on this campus. The department offers the Master of Arts degree, participates in the Interdisciplinary Ph.D. program, and recently introduced an Accelerated BA/MA dual degree. Students interested in the Master of Arts degree should contact Massimiliano Vitiello, vitiellom@umkc.edu; for the Interdisciplinary Ph.D. program, contact Matthew Osborn, osbornmw@umkc.edu; to learn about the Accelerated BA/MA, contact history@umkc.edu.

Departmental Activities


Advising is key to a meaningful and profitable course of study in the department. Students should consult with a departmental advisor regarding selection of courses and for help in academic matters.

Principal Undergraduate Advisors
Roo Advising

Principal M.A. Advisor
Massimiliano Vitiello

Interdisciplinary Ph.D. Program Advisor
Matthew Osborn

Special Programs

Teaching Certification in Social Studies

Certification as a middle school (grades 5-9) or secondary (grades 9-12) social studies teacher in either Kansas or Missouri requires that a student complete specific requirements in history, political science, economics, geography, behavioral sciences and the School of Education, Social Work, and Psychological Sciences. A separate application for teacher education is required. For further information about the program, consult the School of Education, Social Work, and Psychological Sciences section of this catalog or contact the Education Student Services Office at (816) 235-2234.

Public History

Courses offered by the department prepare graduates for a variety of careers in historical agencies or in the study and preservation of cultural artifacts. For further information, consult Sandra Enríquez, Director of the Public History Emphasis Program.

The History Club

Founded in 1999 with the purpose of promoting the study of history, the History Club is open to all UMKC students, history majors and non-majors alike. The club sponsor is David Freeman, freemandf@umkc.edu.

The History Graduate Student Association

Students participating in the M.A. and Interdisciplinary Ph.D. programs are automatically members of the History Graduate Student Association (HGSA). Each year the HGSA sponsors two events: the Graduate Student Orientation and the Graduate Student Conference. The faculty advisor is David Freeman.

Phi Alpha Theta

The department sponsors a chapter of Phi Alpha Theta, the national history honor society. To qualify for membership, undergraduate students must complete a minimum of 12 semester hours (4 courses) in history, earned in the classroom, online, or through AP or transfer credits (or a combination thereof). A minimum GPA of 3.1 in history and 3.0 GPA overall are required. A student need not be a history major to apply. Graduate students should have completed a minimum of 12 semester hours toward their master’s degree in history and have a GPA of better than 3.5.