Museum Studies

History Education


Historic Tourism

Course Requirements

History Major Core: 24 Hours
HIST 112 Historical Writing and Research
HIST 201 US History Survey I
HIST 202 US History Survey II
HIST 3XX Elective
HIST 3XX Elective
HIST 3XX Elective
HIST 3XX Elective
HIST 3XX Elective
Additional Required History Courses: 27 Hours
HIST 101 The West and the World I
HIST 102 The West and the World II
HIST/MUES 354 Archival Service Learning
HIST 375 Historiography 
HIST 402 Senior Thesis
HIST 480 History and Contemporary Global Issues
HIST 3XX Elective
HIST 3XX Elective
HIST 3XX Elective
Gen Ed: 36 Hours
Total: 87 Hours
Elective Hours: 33

The Department of History, Museum Studies and Religion at Tusculum University is an active and engaging department. It offers a wide range of programs in history, history education, museum studies, religion and historic tourism.

In the history major, students can focus on American, European and world history from the ancient world to the modern era. Our students benefit from small class sizes and professors committed to their students as well as to their scholarship. Students also have opportunities to conduct historical research on subjects of interest to them, and to present their research at academic conferences.

For more information about our concentrations in history education, museum studies, religion and historic tourism, click the links to the left.

Successful Alumni

Ryan Barker

History logo

Wes Spurgeon

Man in a fedoraI graduated from Tusculum College (now University) in May 2009. A month prior, I was hired by the Tipton-Haynes State Historic Site. In 2016, I was promoted to co-director of the site. The History Department at Tusculum prepared me with myriad skills in order to perform any task required by the site. The skill of process of thinking through research allowed me to develop educational programs and discover new site historical documentation.

The techniques of writing a formatted and documented paper provided me with the ability to write many of the site’s museum exhibit panels, compose two self-published books on the site’s history and pen many other small documents. While at Tusculum, I gave several presentations and developed a skill in public speaking. This helped prepare and strengthen me to be able to provide guided site tours, administer large group presentations, conduct media interviews and much more. The list of skills acquired while in the History Department at Tusculum are endless. They allowed me to easily transition from the collegiate level to working within public history at Tipton-Haynes.


Meeting our Mission

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Students in the Department of History, Museum Studies and Religion are engaged with our community. All students take a historically oriented service learning course and have a variety of opportunities to volunteer and perform community service through the department’s student organization.


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Students in the department are prepared for careers through internships, research opportunities, career counseling, resume preparation, mock interviews and guest speakers representing different career opportunities. With two operating museums on campus, Tusculum is the perfect laboratory for our students to get the hands-on experience they need to prepare them for a career in public history or in the museum world. Tusculum University also hosts a chapter of the Phi Alpha Theta National History Honor Society. As students progress through the program, joining Phi Alpha Theta provides students the opportunity to present their research at undergraduate conferences and to compete for prizes and scholarships. These are important opportunities for students who may be interested in going to graduate school.


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There are many opportunities for our students to engage with history outside the classroom. Our History and Museum Studies Student Organization puts on campuswide events and history-themed social activities. It also organizes trips each year for its members. The trips have a history focus, but there is also some down time. Past destinations have included St. Augustine, Florida; Washington, D.C.; Winston-Salem, North Carolina; Charleston, South Carolina; and Nashville, Tennessee. We also organize some class trips. History is everywhere, and we like to get out – from a day trip to Asheville, North Carolina, to as far away as Norway. The department also hosts a number of annual lectures that enrich our students’ understanding of history.


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For those interested in religion, we offer a program of study in religion (see link to the left). Students may pursue the religion concentration or declare a minor in religion. Some of our department faculty additionally have a research interest in religious history, and students can take courses like, Religion in America and The Reformation.


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At Tusculum, we know that history is not found only within the four walls of the classroom. Whether we are taking a trip to a historical site, digging through archives, working with historical artifacts or examining Tusculum’s Rare Books collection, our students are developing their historical understanding.


Program Success

Our students go on to successful careers in:

  • Education
  • Law
  • Museums/Historic Sites
  • Business/Public Sector
  • Tourism
  • Ministry
  • State and National Parks

The History Department was the winner of the College of Civic and Liberal Arts’ Program of Distinction for 2021-2022 and 2022-2023.

Tusculum student Hughston Burnheimer, who is pursuing a history major with a concentration in museum studies, and recent graduate Eirik Dahlgren, who was also part of that program, participated in July 2023 in excavation work at Tel Lachish in Israel led by Dr. Yosef “Yossi” Garfinkel, a professor of archaeology at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. WBIR, a Knoxville television station, broadcast this story about it.


When Tusculum students David Bowlin and Hughston Burnheimer and recent graduate Eirik Dahlgren participated in July 2023 in an excavation at Tel Lachish in Israel led by Dr. Yosef “Yossi” Garfinkel, they recorded some videos. In this videos, Burnheimer explains some of the work taking place.