Monash University’s history program enjoys a distinguished national and international reputation for innovation in teaching and research. Our diverse expertise encompasses medieval renaissance European history, and modern Australian, American, Asian, European, and global history.
As an academic discipline, history seeks to interpret and find meaning in the past. Making use of a wide range of theoretical and methodological tools, we reconstruct the stories of people, places, and things and attempt to understand how context and contingencies shaped change over time. Only though a deep understanding of the past can we grasp how we got to where we are today.
In addition to offering an understanding of how the world we live in came to be, a degree in history provides practical skills that are transferable to a wide variety of careers. Research, writing, and critical thinking skills are at the heart of historical inquiry. Our students learn how to ask probing questions, find the answers, and craft persuasive, evidence-based answers. Whether in government work or the private sector, employers value the skills that an Arts degree in history provides.
The major is designed to develop these skills over time, building year on year. In the gateway units, student gain a foundation in the broad sweep of premodern and modern history and get their feet wet with the critical analysis of primary sources. The cornerstones at second year tackle major themes across time and place, allowing students to explore new contexts while extending their research and writing skills.
Across second and third years, student also choose among our wide variety of elective offerings. From the history of witchcraft to war to decolonisation, from medieval Europe to colonial Australia to the modern US, these varied units probe more focused topics.
By the capstone unit at third year, students are ready to engage with a wider range of methodologies and to dig deeply into a topic of their own choosing, crafting a research project in close consultation with staff. For those who choose to go on to honours, the capstone offers a taste of the kind what that kind of independent work will be like.
Those students who pursue honours will find the experience of designing an original research project of larger scale and working one-on-one with staff a satisfying and enriching endeavour that pushes their skills to a new level.
Postgraduate students are welcomed into a stimulating community of scholars. Areas of particular strength include Australian history, the social history of war, urban history, medical history, and the history of colonialism and decolonisation. Regular seminars are held, giving staff, postgraduate students and visitors the opportunity to present their current research and learn of the research of others. An annual postgraduate conference provides an opportunity to hone presentation skills and benefit from feedback from fellow postgraduate students and staff.
Historical Studies Graduate Research is part of the Arts Graduate Research Program.
Monash is among the leading centres for historical research in Australia. We are known widely for our scholarship in several areas which include:
- Urban life and culture
- Memory, history and community
- History of medicine and health
- Colonialism and decolonisation
- War and society
The Monash history program is committed to bringing this vibrant research to the public. Our staff and postgraduate students contribute to media outlets, offer public lectures, speak to community organisations, and consult on exhibits. This engaged, impactful work brings to life important, previously untold stories of who we were and what the legacy of that past means for us today.