Jordan Hall, the oldest building on Central's campus

History in the Making

Studying history at Central College provides context for understanding ourselves and the world.

“Those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it.”

Most know this famous quote, and no matter who is credited with it, it still rings true.

History majors at Central College have access to a wide range of courses that cover all aspects of world history, including the United States, Europe, the Middle East, Asia, Africa and Latin America. The department offers a robust curriculum covering multiple time periods.

Seasoned professors bring added insight into the classroom through their personal research specialties.

Studying history at Central provides context for understanding ourselves and the world. It allows students to be informed citizens and strong decision makers. Central’s history major can take students in many directions, from teaching social sciences to arts management to pre-law.

The Central Difference


Central’s history program works closely with other majors on campus, allowing students the chance to find their own path. Through a focus on social sciences, Central remains strong in preparing students who wish to teach history. History majors can combine coursework from other majors to determine their career path, including political science or even pre-law.

Timothy Olin

Title: Assistant Professor of History
Fun Fact: The best part of being a historian? Travel! Olin lived in four countries while completing his dissertation — Austria, Hungary, Romania and Serbia — and served in Kyrgyzstan with the Peace Corps.

Off-Campus Experiences

Central students can study off-campus — both internationally or domestically in the United States. These opportunities give students the chance to prepare to be global citizens, equipped to compete in the global job market. Students can check out experiences led by Central faculty or attend select academic programs across the world that provide opportunities for study, service, internships and other types of experiential learning. Options include experiences in Chicago, Washington, D.C., Central America, Ghana, England, the Scottish Highlands and more.

Travel to Historic Sites

Central students have had opportunities to experience the past firsthand, touring historical sites such as Civil War battlefields in Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Mississippi. Closer to home, students can get behind-the-scenes access to the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum and the National WWI Museum. Students have also toured, studied and worked at the State Historical Society of Iowa and Living History Farms.


History classes meet in historic Jordan Hall, which has been updated to meet the modernized needs of today’s students.

Central College student

Beyond Central

Putting the “Hire” in Higher Education

  • Marie Bakken ’23, Visitor Services Assistant Manager, The Mining and Rollo Jamison Museums
  • Adrienne Bergman ’20, Communications Specialist, Iowa State University
  • Jeb Rosebrook ’18, Freelance Archeologist
  • Jordan Rouse ’16, Assistant Blackhawk County Attorney, Blackhawk County Criminal Division
  • Kyle Freischlag ’14, General Surgeon, University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics
  • Lindsey Hillgartner ’13, Digital Archivist, History Nebraska
  • Karleigh Miller ’13, Attorney, Cohen Law Office;  Adjunct Professor,
  • Patrick McElyea ’04, District Court Judge, Seventh Judicial District of Iowa
  • Joshua Goering ’06,  Director, U.S. ethics, Walmart

Central College Hosts Unique Black History Month Activities

Central will celebrate Black History Month through a series of educational and service programs on campus throughout February.

Other Opportunities

No matter what your interests, Central has a student group or organization for you. Student groups of interest for history students include:

  • History Club
  • Phi Alpha Theta, National History Honor Society

Graduate Placement

  • University of Wisconsin
  • University of Kansas
  • University of Iowa
  • University of Northern Iowa
  • Ball State University
  • Western Illinois University
  • Duke University Medical School
  • University of Iowa Law School
  • Creighton University Law School
  • Drake University Law School


  • American Gothic House, Eldon, Iowa
  • Austrian Museum for Folk Life and Folk Art, Vienna, Austria
  • British Imperial War Museum, London, England
  • Victoria and Albert House, London, England
  • Living History Farms, Urbandale, Iowa
  • Iowa State Historical Society
  • Pella Historical Village and Scholte House, Pella, Iowa
  • American Gothic House, Eldon, Iowa
  • National Czech and Slovak Museum, Cedar Rapids, Iowa
  • Marion County Sheriff’s Office, Knoxville, Iowa
  • US Congress, Washington, D.C.
  • US Department of Defense, Washington, D.C.
  • Victoria and Albert House, London, England
Central College student

Courses & Faculty

The research interests of Central’s history faculty create breadth and depth across courses including military history, political history, popular culture, migration and refugees, inter-ethnic relations and more.

Central’s history program exposes students to museums, archives, academic and corporate libraries and other fields that utilize the work of historians. An internship is strongly recommended in this program.

Learn more about this discipline in the course catalog.

Meet the Faculty

  • Tim Olin, B.A., M.A., Ph.D., Associate Professor of History
  • Lori Witt, B.A., M.A., Ph.D., Kenneth J. Weller Distinguished Professorship of the Liberal Arts and Associate Professor of History

Sample Coursework

First Year

  • World History Survey Course
  • American History Survey Course
  • Major Electives
  • Core Courses

Sophomore Year

  • Major Electives
  • Core Courses

Junior Year

  • Studies in American History
  • Studies in World History
  • Historiography Seminar
  • Major Electives
  • Core Courses

Senior Year

  • History Research Seminar
  • Major Electives
  • Core Courses


Learn More

Want to find out more about History at Central? Contact us to learn more about this discipline and our other strong academic programs.

Visit campus to observe classes and experience The Central Difference firsthand.


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