History Program

Winona State’s History major prepares students for work in a variety of careers. Any job that requires clear thinking, good writing, articulate speaking, and the ability to ask and answer complicated questions can be a good fit if you have a history degree.

Studying history allows students to:

  • Build a set of skills employers are looking for
  • Develop organization and presentation skills 
  • Sharpen critical thinking through the investigation of an abundance of materials
  • Be able to evaluate evidence and make clear, concise, and convincing arguments 

History gives learners the cultural background to function in today’s contemporary, globalized society, providing students with in-depth knowledge of societies from the past to the present era.

Degree Requirements

The History major builds upon entry level foundation courses in history that are in WSU’s general education curriculum. 

The major is accessible to transfer students or those wishing to add a second major or minor. Likewise, history majors at WSU are often able to add a second major or minor.

Major Map (PDF) is available to help students plan to complete their major coursework in four years. The Transfer Pathways Major Map (PDF) is a version to help transfer students plan their coursework. 

Capstone Course

One of the unique features of our program is learning to do the work of historians– developing your own interpretations of the past using sources from the past. In the History major capstone, you will be completing a semester-long project on a topic of your selection. For this project, you will be working with original sources on a thesis. Some recent senior thesis topics are:

  • “Fighting for Freedom and Equality in the American Civil War: The 54th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment”
  • “German Prisoners of War in Minnesota During World War II: The Unique Relationship Between Americans and Germans”
  • “The Rise and Fall of the Nonpartisan League in North Dakota and Minnesota: 1915-1923”
  • “The Vietnam Antiwar Movement: Local Activism in Winona, Minnesota”
  • “The Island City’s Survival: Winona’s Role in New Deal Projects and River Traffic during the Great Depression”
  • “Vindication of Restorative Justice: A Homage to the 1960s Red Wing Reform Period”
  • “Mandatory Patriotism: The Minnesota Commission of Public Safety and Wartime Obedience, 1917-1920”

While all classes in the major use both primary and secondary sources, the major is organized around a series of classes that will prepare you to develop a thesis topic and engage in the research necessary to complete it.

Each of these 3 courses is offered once each year. Sophomore Seminar is open to all students, but students are encouraged to take this course early on in their major, if possible. Students must complete HIST 395 before HIST 495. 

All History majors are encouraged to meet with their advisors and plan their coursework in the major, leading up to the capstone sequence.

Contact the History & Legal Studies Department
Dr. Matthew Lungerhausen
Department Chair

Minne Hall 214


Email Dr. Matthew Lungerhausen
Dr. Gregory Richard
Director of Legal Studies

Minné 209


Email the Legal Studies Program
Michelle Eggerichs-Rekstad
Office Manager

Minné Hall 212


Email Michelle Eggerichs-Rekstad