At the University of South Dakota, our Department of History houses numerous disciplines that exist at the intersection of curiosity, research, writing, storytelling and the human experience. Find the answers to your questions about people, events, institutions and values with the guidance and support of our exceptional faculty.
Welcome to the Department of History
The USD Department of History consists of programs in history, philosophy and Native American studies and supports the women, gender and sexuality studies program. We also offer minor courses of study in religious studies and classical humanities. Our faculty are expert historians, philosophers and thinkers who actively contribute to research in their fields and promote a culture of curiosity and community on campus. With a small student-to-faculty ratio, our department offers personalized mentorship so our students can work directly with acclaimed scholars and researchers. Our students have the opportunity to participate in enriching experiences in and beyond the classroom – including internships, study abroad, archival research and conference presentations – as they prepare for careers or further education in law, journalism, non-profit management, business, education, museums, libraries, cultural agencies and government, among other fields.
Join our community of storytellers, explorers and researchers
If you are driven by curiosity and want to learn about how the human experience has unfolded over time, the USD Department of History is the place for you.
Meet the Department
Assistant Professor Tony Krus and Associate Professor Joseph Tinguely are the recipients of the 2022 University of South Dakota Belbas-Larson Awards for Excellence in Teaching. They will be recognized at the USD commencement ceremony, and they will each receive $5,000, a commemorative medal and a framed certificate.
The University of South Dakota College of Arts & Sciences has awarded three faculty members the 2022 Richard and Sharon Cutler Faculty Awards in Liberal Arts. This year’s recipients are Zhongkui Hong, Ph.D., (biomedical engineering), Tony Krus, Ph.D., (anthropology) and Sara Lampert, Ph.D. (history). The Cutler Awards are presented annually to faculty members who advance liberal arts education through teaching and research over a three-year span.
The Women, Gender & Sexuality Program at the University of South Dakota hosts its biennial research conference on the Vermillion campus and online from March 24-25.
Known for Excellence
Annual Student History Conference featuring student research from USD and other schools.
South Dakota's only master's program in history.
Get a personalized education with small class sizes.
One-on-one mentorship of student research.
You can build your resume, gain real-world experiences and create a network that serves you for years to come through an internship. USD history majors have interned locally at the South Dakota Oral History Center, USD Archives and W. H. Over Museum, the National Music Museum and beyond at centers and organizations like the Dakota Territorial Museum, South Dakota State Archives and Smithsonian.
Student History Club
The Student History Club hosts activities ranging from meals using recipes from “Hollywood with a Historian” film nights to excursions to regional historical sites and performances and exhibits in Omaha.
The Friends of Wisdom
Friends of Wisdom is a student organization that welcomes all students with an interest in philosophy. Friends of Wisdom meetings involve lively discussion of selected topics, current events and other matters of interest.
Tiospaye (extended family)
The Native American studies program promotes Tiospaye, which encourages Native and non-Native students to get involved in school activities. We support students in their academic pursuits and promote Native life on campus by engaging students, faculty and community members of all walks of life.
We create a Tiospaye (extended family) of university and community members to give students a home away from home and encourage South Dakota schools, universities and tribal colleges to work together to promote Native student higher education.
Phi Alpha Theta
The Zeta Mu Chapter of Phi Alpha Theta was formed at USD in 1957 and since that time has inducted over 550 members. Majors are inducted into Phi Alpha Theta at the awards ceremony each spring.
- Undergraduate students must complete at least 12 semester hours in history (four courses) with a GPA of at least 3.1 in history, have an overall GPA of 3.0 or better and be in the top 35% of the class. Membership is not limited to history majors.
- Graduate students should have completed a minimum of 12 semester hours toward their master's degree, have a GPA of better than 3.5 and shall have completed approximately 30% of the residence requirements for the master's degree.
Phi Alpha Theta publishes The Historian, a distinguished quarterly journal with articles written by members with interests in all fields of history. It also contains numerous reviews of scholarly books and other items of interest. The Historian is one of the most widely circulated scholarly historical journals published in the United States.
The Department of History awards four graduate assistantships in history and one graduate assistantship in religious studies each year. Gain real-world, professional experience while enjoying paid employment and discounted tuition rates as a graduate student at USD. The affordability you gain through graduate assistantships and fellowships will equip you will valuable, professional-level skills that will set you apart after graduation.
Departments & Facilities
Research & Creative Scholarship
The USD Department of History is home to a community of curious and driven scholars. Here you'll find faculty who are leading insightful conversations and engaging in collaborative learning that challenges us to view our world in new ways.
You have opportunities to share your research right here at USD. The department hosts a the annual Phi Alpha Theta Student History Conference and a Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Conference that bring scholars from across the region to campus, and the philosophy program will host a conference exploring the role of money in shaping the human condition. Plus, the Schell and Cash lectures provide opportunities to hear from expert scholars.
Preparing Students for Successful Careers
By studying history, philosophy or Native American studies, you will explore people, events, institutions and values as old as the ancient world and as new as yesterday's headlines. Our students graduate prepared for careers in education, law, business, government and more. These disciplines encourage skills that will serve you throughout your life, including critical thinking, reading, writing, intercultural understanding, communication and research skills.
The unique experiences offered at USD – including hands-on internships in the Oral History Center and University Archives, personalized mentoring and valuable research opportunities – will set you apart after graduation. Whether you want to work in a museum, in business or anywhere in between, a degree in history, philosophy or Native American studies from USD will help you get there.
1922-2022: History Graduate Program Centennial Conference & Reunion
The University of South Dakota is celebrating the 100th anniversary of its Master of Arts (M.A.) in History Program. We invite you to join us on campus for a celebration on September 16, 2022. The event will feature a combination of academic and practical history with panels also devoted to past student experiences at USD and in Vermillion.
If you have any questions, please contact the History Department at firstname.lastname@example.org.