Undergraduate students in the George Washington and his World class. Text: Department of History, Columbian College of Arts & Sciences seal


Examining the Past to Understand the future
Studying history through today's lens

Who We Are


Professor Joel Blecher teaching a class on Islamic History with a group of graduate students listening


With an unparalleled location in the nation's capital, award-winning faculty and access to some of the most important research repositories in the world, the GW Department of History offers an ideal platform from which to explore our past. Undergraduate and graduate students are exposed to a diversity of topics, from the Africa diaspora to the Cold War, from imperialism to urbanization, from the founding of Islam to Judaic history, from race relations to labor, law and politics. Students graduate with the knowledge and analytical tools necessary for success in a wide range of careers.


Where We Are


The Washington, D.C., area offers a front-row seat to history. Students are immersed in their surroundings through trips to museums, battlefields and historical sites including the Folger Shakespeare Library, the Jamestown Settlement, the Gettysburg Battlefield, the Society of the Cincinnati and George Washington’s Mount Vernon estate.

Through the department's collaborative relationships with institutions throughout the region, students also have extraordinary access to historical documents at the National Archives, the Library of Congress, the National Security Archive and the Smithsonian Institution.

Aerial picture of the national mall. Left to right: The Smithsonian, The Washington Monument, museum of natural history


Farah al-Nakib

Farah Al-Nakib, BA '01

Author, Kuwait Transformed: Oil and Urban Life

"[Senior year] was the first time I ever studied Kuwait's history. ... Being able to unearth unused documents about the subject I was researching was really thrilling. I didn't quite know it back then, but that experience officially turned me into a historian."

 History by the Numbers

100+ students in the major


50+ students in the minor


~40 full-time faculty members


Our Highlights 

Udi Greenberg

How Free is Religious Freedom?

Udi Greenberg's talk will consider a series of recent controversies that have led many thinkers to question the principle of religious freedom. Despite its egalitarian aspirations, they claim, it often fosters discrimination (as shown by the mistreatment of Muslims in France or Copts in Egypt). This talk will draw on the recent history of European Christian politics to assess this line of thinking, and to reflect on the potential future of religious liberty.

View Event Details

Eric Arnesen, George Washington University History Professor, C-SPAN3: American History: "American Democracy & Post-WWII Japan"

Eric Arnesen Discusses American Democracy on C-SPAN

Professor Eric Arnesen appeared on C-SPAN3 for the segment “American Democracy and Post-World War II Japan."

Two adults in the foreground talking at a busy event

History News Network Comes to GW

We are excited to announce that the popular website History News Network (HNN) has moved to the History Department.