History Distinctive Programs

Semester Concentrations in Area Studies

The department of History works closely with other departments, through interdisciplinary teach-taught courses, through Women's Studies, Global Studies, European Studies, Irish Studies, Catholic Studies, or Middle Eastern Studies, and through co-curricular activities. In particular, it sponsors semester concentrations with at least four inter-departmental electives offered in:

  • Latin American Study Semester
  • Center for Medieval Studies
  • East Asian Study Semester

Each of these semester study concentrations offer film series, field trips, special speakers, and in the case of the Center for Medieval Studies, a Medieval Feast, including authentic food, dancing, sword fighting, live music, and a Medieval Mystery Play performed by the SHU Players.

Senior Thesis

The capstone for students of history is to complete, during their senior year, an extended thesis, ranging from 35-55 pages in length. Through the collegial discussion in a senior seminar and closely guided work with their supervisor, the student produces a paper that can make them truly proud. Beyond the often indirect and secondary record of grades and grade-point averages, or letters of reference, the senior thesis demonstrates a direct and primary example of the student's potential and abilities to future graduate school professors or employers.

Study Abroad

Sacred Heart University has run trips to China, Latin America, and Europe, in which the department of history has played a major role in planning, touring, and teaching electives in the field. Sacred Heart University has established campuses in Ireland [Dingle, County Kerry] and the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, as well as official connections with the American University of Rome, University of Notre Dame in Fremantle and Sydney, Australia, and the University of Granada, Spain.

Student Tutoring

Well before their senior year when many students choose to follow the certificate in education and participate in a full semester of student teaching, students may elect in certain history courses to become involved in sharing their historical knowledge with primary and secondary students. Sacred Heart University has a special connection to Winthrop School in Bridgeport, where approximately 200 University students participate in various programs. Student tutoring is run through the Service Learning program at SHU.

Classroom Learning Assistantships (CLA)

Upper level history majors may apply to become a CLA, which offers a stipend. CLAs assistant in tutoring in the basic Hi 101 course offered at the freshman level. They are assigned a number of office hours each week for student tutoring where they begin to get valuable training in pedagogy and working with students. While they do no grading, they assistant students with understanding the primary sources and the secondary-source textbook.  

Service Learning

Sacred Heart University is a leader in the State of Connecticut in Service Learning. In addition to several outstanding connections to the urban and suburban community, such as the SHU Campus Chapter of Habitat for Humanity, (Link to SHU Habitat for Humanity page in Community Service Site) the Thomas Merton soup kitchen, or the SHU Community Connections program, history students have directly offered their skills and time through oral histories, community language studies, and tutoring.


Several well organized local-town historical societies offer internships with a variety of duties and projects. The Department of History assists students in attaining these desirable internships, especially the Fairfield Historical Society and the Darien Historical Society