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Why Study History at New Mexico State University?

A knowledge of history is a powerful tool in an uncertain age. It helps us to understand life’s complexities in both the remote and recent pasts and provides a vital perspective on current events by illuminating the impact of the past. Perhaps most importantly, the study of history represents one of the cornerstones of a liberal arts education; it is essential to a free and enlightened citizenry.

The NMSU history curriculum encourages students to analyze and interpret the past from many different perspectives, as well as to recognize their own role in writing about the past. The things we study range from oral histories to diaries and letters, songs and literature, government documents and recipes. Using primary sources, both undergraduate history majors and MA students at NMSU draw on an array of methods to investigate a range of questions. Our department emphasizes careful, detailed-oriented research as well as writing and communication skills. NMSU’s undergraduate and graduate historians leave our program poised to flourish in a range of professional pathways and as engaged citizens in a rapidly changing world.

NMSU’s Department of History is a dynamic home for curious students. Our students have preserved historic buildings in Las Cruces’s downtown area, created historical podcasts and documentaries, curated museum exhibits at the Branigan Cultural Center, and developed mobile apps that have documented and preserved the murals of Las Cruces. Founded in 1983, our Public History program is one of the oldest in the country.

The study of history develops a range of skills that can be applied not only to further study but also to a wide variety of careers. The study of history emphasizes:

  • Problem-solving
  • Innovative thinking
  • Clear writing
  • Effective speaking
  • Crafting arguments

Students learn how to find and assess reliable sources of information, scrutinize complex documents, masses of data, and varying viewpoints, and communicate effectively across multiple media. Some of our graduates have become instructors of history and professional historians themselves, but others have found that our degree has prepared them for excellent careers as archivists, librarians, museum professionals, journalists, lawyers, CEOs of tech startups, State Department officials, analysts for military intelligence, and screenwriters. See our placement page to get a sense of the incredible things our graduates have done with their degrees, locally and nationally.

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Contact Us!

General Inquiries:

Dana Barksdale

Breland Hall 331, Monday-Friday, 9:00 am to 5:00 pm

Phone: 575-646-4601


Academic Department Head:

Prof. Elizabeth Horodowich


Graduate Advisor:

Prof. Mark Cioc-Ortega