History, Languages, & Humanities

The Department of History, Languages, and Humanities offers majors in History, Social Studies, Spanish, Teaching English as a Second/Foreign Language and Women's and Gender Studies. Minors are offered in History, Spanish, Teaching English as a Second Language, and Women's and Gender Studies. Certificates in Women and Science, Academic English Proficiency, and Proficiency in International English are also offered.

Department Chair of History, Languages, & Humanities: Annette Morrow

History and Social Studies
MacLean Hall 374, (218) 477-2812
Faculty: Yolanda Arauza, Nathan Clarke, Paul Harris, Steve Hoffbeck, Annette Morrow. Kim Park Nelson, Jomo Smith, Sean Taylor
Social Studies Program Coordinator: Steven Hoffbeck


The History Department offers courses in U.S., European, South American, African, Asian, and World History to meet the varied needs and interests of our students. History courses can be found that fulfill requirements in several areas of the Liberal Arts and Sciences Curriculum. Upper-division courses in History also prepare students for careers as teachers or in such diverse areas as law, government, libraries, museums, and business. The study of history at MSUM involves much more than the memorization of names and dates. Our students learn to think analytically and critically about the past and to understand history as the experiences of real human beings.

Social Studies

Successful completion of the Social Studies major leads to certification from the State of Minnesota to teach in grades five through twelve.

The major has four components:

  • Core requirements, also known as distribution requirements. These courses expose majors to the various disciplines that comprise Social Studies. All students must complete the 27-29 credit requirement listed below.
  • Emphasis. Majors must choose one discipline as their emphasis. Requirements for each discipline are listed below.
  • Secondary emphasis. Majors must choose one discipline as their secondary emphasis. Requirements for each discipline are listed below.
  • Teacher licensure requirements. These requirements are common to all secondary education majors and are listed under Secondary Education. Students should carefully study and understand all of these components and choose their course of study in consultation with their advisor. In selecting primary and secondary emphases, students should consider their own interest and aptitudes and the needs of the job market in secondary schools. While History is the foundation of Social Studies in the schools and is the most frequently taught subject in Social Studies, other areas are also taught at the secondary level, often depending on the size of the school. In Minnesota, high schools must commonly offer courses in Geography, Political Science, and Economics.

It is also worth noting that students can enhance their appeal as teacher candidates by qualifying themselves to coach a sport. Consult with the Health and Physical Education Department to learn more.

Languages and Cultures
MacLean Hall 279, (218) 477-2812
Faculty: Nathan Clarke, John Hall, Michael Martinez, April Schmidt, Linda Houts-Smith

In our Spanish program, students first focus on becoming proficient in their use and understanding of the language then they begin to take courses in culture and civilization, literature, linguistics, and translation.

The Department of History, Languages, Critical Race and Women's Studies is affiliated with Sigma Delta Pi, the National Collegiate Hispanic Honor Society. Our chapter of the Society, Upsilon Sigma, has been nationally recognized for Honor and Merit.

Proposed course of study for B.A. Spanish majors:
1st year
fall semester SPAN 201 and SPAN 211 
spring semester SPAN 202 and SPAN 212 

2nd year
fall semester SPAN 301 and SPAN 311 
spring semester SPAN 302, SPAN 321 (odd years) or SPAN 322 (even years)

3rd year
fall semester SPAN 340 and SPAN 401
spring semester SPAN 341 (even years) or SPAN 342 (odd years), SPAN 351

4th year
fall semester any 3rd or 4th year elective
spring semester any 3rd or 4th year elective

All transfer students and incoming freshmen must take a placement exam before enrolling in Spanish courses.

Other Languages
Students may obtain minors in French, German, Norwegian, and Scandinavian Studies through Tri-College coursework.

Study Abroad
Students who are studying in the department are strongly encouraged to take advantage of the opportunity to study abroad. We have exchange programs and connections with other study abroad programs in Japan, Spain, and Ecuador. Students who wish to study abroad should work closely with their faculty advisor in order to plan a course of study that will apply to their major or minor coursework. For further information, contact the department. Organized trips usually take place in the spring or right after spring semester.

Teaching Foreign Languages
Students who plan to teach foreign languages in elementary or secondary public schools should elect the B.S. major or minor.

All students, including transfer students, who apply for the B.S. degree with a language major must have completed a minimum of 14 credits of upper-level coursework in the department, including LANG 471 and LANG 472. Candidates for teaching licensure must be able to pass a number of proficiency tests that meet the standards of the State Board of Teaching before the application for teaching licensure can be approved. All students seeking a B.S. major or minor in the department should establish and maintain close contact with a departmental advisor to be certain that satisfactory progress is being made toward the degree. Consult with the department chair concerning an advisor.

Graduate Study in Foreign Languages
A reading knowledge of a second foreign language is essential to graduate study in languages. A student who expects to seek a graduate degree is advised to plan an undergraduate curriculum with a minor in a second language or with a double major. It is also advisable to take more than the minimum credits required for the major.

Teaching English as a Second Language or Foreign Language
Program Coordinator:
Linda Houts-Smith
Faculty: Aimee Hilgers, Linda Houts-Smith
MacLean Hall 279B, 218-477-4059

The Bachelor of Science in Teaching ESL is a degree for individuals who wish to practice teaching ESL/EFL in a classroom setting overseas or in U.S. K-12 schools. It is specifically intended to provide individuals with the initial preparation for a teaching certificate in Minnesota. Since licensure requirements vary from state to state and country to country, students should consult licensing boards in the locations where they wish to work to determine whether the B.S. in TESL will meet the requirements in the location of the student’s choice.

The Bachelor of Arts in Teaching EFL is geared towards individuals, such as international students, who wish to teach English as a foreign language in countries where English is not the dominant language.  It may also lead to limited possibilities in the U.S., such as working in adult ESL programs where only a bachelor's degree is required.  It can serve as a foundation for teaching ESL in community colleges and universities in the U.S., but is not enough for working at those levels.  Students who wish to work at those levels should expect to continue beyond the bachelor's degree to an M.A. in TESL. This degree is inappropriate for those who hope to teach English in k-12 schools in the United States, as it will not lead to a k-12 teaching license. Students who wish to obtain that credential should enroll in the B.S. in TESL, which is approved by the Minnesota State Professional Educator Licensing and Standards Board requirements for teachers of ESL and has been accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP).

Women’s and Gender Studies
MacLean Hall, 175 (218) 477-4075
Program and Affiliated Faculty: Anna Arnar, Laurie Blunsom , Steve Bolduc, Marilea Bramer, Karen Branden, Ellen Brisch, Rebecca Gardner, Brittney Goodman, Paul Harris, Geri Hendrix-Sloan, Susan Humphers-Ginther, Kyja Kristjansson-Nelson, Jennifer Kupferman, Annette Morrow, Carol Okigbo, Raymond Rea, Larry Schwartz, Sherry Short, Chris Walla, Patricia Wisenden, Deborah White

Women’s and Gender Studies Curriculum
The Women’s and Gender Studies program at MSUM has been ongoing since 1971. Students can earn a major or minor in Women’s and Gender Studies, a minor in Women’s Health, and a certificate in Women and Science. Women’s and Gender Studies uses diverse historic and contemporary sources to examine the intersections of gender with racism, classism, heterosexism and other oppressions. Courses in the program use theoretical frameworks from social science, history and humanities plus other disciplines grounded in anti-oppression and social justice work to analyze the social and political locations of diverse identities. The program combines an interdisciplinary understanding of social structures with specific analyses of women’s experiences both locally and globally. Students are challenged to understand and analyze complex current and historic realities and to enact social change through activism.


Philosophy and Humanities
MacLean Hall, 279 (218) 477-2478
Faculty: Joseph Bessie, Marilea Bramer, Theodore Gracyk, Chang-Seong Hong, Philip Mouch