Historical studies involves more than facts, dates, and events. 

Our four-year bachelor of arts program calls upon students to examine the practical and intellectual aspects of history that will intrigue, challenge, excite, and inspire. The program focuses on key historical events and developments, social and cultural contexts, changing ideas, and the lives of peoples who significantly shaped or were shaped by historical change.


Why take historical studies?

History is the living and breathing story of the past – of how things which have happened continue to influence today's world.  The Historical studies program offers different ways of studying this story, of how societies, cultures, and nations of the West have evolved from the days of Greece and Rome to the present, and how this past is understood.

Our program offers courses in European and North American history.  They address a host of important topics from the beginnings of European empires, global expansion, and how the world has changed.  Our students learn about Indigenous and enslaved peoples, settler migration, nation-states, geopolitical conflict, biographies of individuals, cultural beliefs and ideologies, art, gender, genocide, protest, and revolution. They are also introduced to traditional and cross-disciplinary approaches to the study of history.  In other words, different methodologies, historiographical perspectives and interpretations, and how the past can be viewed through various disciplinary lenses. 

Students in our program are given multiple opportunities to research, assemble, discuss, analyze, and write about a range of topics.  They learn to use primary documents and scholarly readings, and how to use these tools to investigate important issues and concepts related to past and present.  They study how to make sense and integrate evidence-based information, and how to critically evaluate what they have heard, read, and observed.  They also learn how to develop original ideas and confidently how to communicate their findings iin their writing and presentations.  In short, our students acquire significant transferable skills and knowledge useful in many professions and occupations, not just history-related ones, and come to understand the current world a little better.

For historical studies majors, their program culminates in a fourth-year independent research project.  Based on any historical topic of their choice, this course requires students to carry out extensive and focused readings under the personal supervision of a faculty member, and then to write an extended essay followed up by a public presentation.  This course helps to prepare students for possible subsequent study at the graduate and professional level.

So, explore various resources offered for students in the historical studies program. Take part in the Historical Society at Grenfell Campus.  And don't forget to check out and join our Grenfell Historical Studies Society Facebook page.


Regional and local historical sites

The west coast of Newfoundland and the south coast of Labrador are rich in history.  Inhabited by Indigenous people for thousands of years before any European arrival, these lands are where the Beothuk lived and where Innu, Inuit, and Mi'kmaw peoples still live.  This is where the first Norse (a.k.a. Vikings) landed in North America, where the Basques fished five centuries ago, where the explorer Jacques Cartier sailed on his way to New France, where English, Irish, Scots, Channel Islanders, Acadians, and other Franco-Newfoundland followed, and where fishers from Nova Scotia and New England plied their trade. This entire region was once important to Spain, France, England, the United States, and nowadays, of course, to Canada.

Our natural and human heritage is evident throughout the entire region.  It offers an extension of the Appalachian Trail, UNESCO sites at Red Bay and L’Anse aux Meadows, National Parks at Battle Harbour and Gros Morne, and many other interesting places such as the Rose Blanche lighthouse, Codroy Valley, Bay St. George, and our own Bay of Islands.


Information for students

As a Grenfell student, you can participate in the Student Exchange Program, where you pay Grenfell tuition rates while studying in another NSE member university in Canada or the United States.

Our faculty bring history to life while exploring the history of Newfoundland, Canada, and ancient, medieval, early modern and modern Europe and their global reaches.  Meet our historical studies program faculty and staff. 

Efforts of outstanding students are recognized with University Medals for Academic Excellence and other scholarships, awards, and prizes.



You must meet to the general admission requirements for Memorial University and declare historical studies as your major to be admitted to the program.


Career opportunities

Our graduates have had a number of career opportunities:

  • Education 
  • Federal and provincial civil service 
  • Media and communications
  • Law
  • Archival, museum, and heritage work
  • Tourism