Majors and Minors

School ofHistory and Political Studies

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Why History and Political Studies?

Southern’s History and Political Studies Department offers students the opportunity to appreciate mankind’s experience.

  • As one of the major areas of liberal arts study, history instills a collection of necessary skills, including critical thinking through the process of reading, filtering, and creating thought paths; verbal and written communication; and research and evaluation of evidence and arguments.
  • The mission-minded global policy and service studies degree helps students understand the politics and main players in the global arena, assess the development challenges in various regions of the world, and explore practical ways to serve physical needs in cross-cultural settings.
  • Political Science and International Development Studies students have access to international internships and job opportunities through Southern's relationships with U.S. State Department, World Vision, and ADRA.
  • Students are well-prepared for graduate study. Double majors are common and encouraged, along with study abroad.
  • The History and Political Studies Department has a dedicated scholarship to assist students who must travel to work on their senior thesis.
  • Degrees | Classes | Senior Assessment | Resources | Clubs 

Interesting Facts

Students in Action

  • Travel opportunities include a biannual tour of Europe.
  • History majors regularly intern at the Chattanooga History Center.
  • The History Club fosters a sense of community by helping preserve history through community service projects like collecting oral histories, landscaping the historic Civil War battlefield at Chickamauga, worshiping together at special club convocations and vespers, and participating in fun activities like costume galas and election parties.
  • History students must write a baccalaureate thesis based on original research. Many publish their works in academic journals.
  • Students present papers alongside other history majors from local universities at the Southeast Tennessee Student History Conference.
  • Seniors present research at the Association of Seventh-day Adventist Historians conferences, and a senior oral exam is required prior to graduation.
  • Global policy and service studies students graduate with at least an intermediate proficiency in a foreign language.
  • Prominent and prestigious internships (in Washington, D.C. and New York) by Southern students have included: U.S. senators and members of Congress, state senators and congresspersons, the State Department, federal agencies, district and defense attorneys and civil lawyers, private research firms and think tanks, journals and newspapers, the United Nations, public policy centers, and historical and natural museums.

Department Activity

  • This year students attended Maryville College Conference
  • Laura Andrews (’11) who is currently working on her Masters of Library and Information at University of Michigan will be working at the National Archives this summer for her internship.
  • Rachel Lovelace (’10) is working on her Masters in Public History at Appalachian State and won a competitive internship at the Smithsonian for the summer.
  • During the commencement services on May 2, 2010, Kevin Brown, chair of the Faculty Affairs Committee, awarded Mindi Rahn the President's Award of Excellence for Commitment to Student Success.

Marks of Distinction

  • Diverse types of history are taught and explored, including contemporary history/politics, ancient and medieval history, cultural history, Asian history, Middle Eastern history, and colonial Latin America history.
  • Global policy and service studies students learn the importance of following the example of Jesus Christ in meeting temporal needs as a means to share His love.
  • A 3,600-volume collection related to Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War is housed on campus in McKee Library and allows students to do research from original documents and artifacts.
  • Phi Alpha Theta is Southern’s chapter of the National History Honor Society.

Senior Assessment 

  • The senior assessment helps measure how well the Department of History and Political Studies is meeting its educational goals, it offers the chance to advance independent study skills, and it allows faculty to have a more knowledgeable basis for recommending students for employment and graduate study.
  • Criteria:

    Senior Exam Preparation
    Résumé of Activities 

Statistics to Note

  • More than 95 percent of law school applicants from Southern are accepted.

Alumni Updates

  • Jeff Dickerson (2008) will work next year as an assistant at the ACA college in Florence, Italy.
  • Tim Shives (2003) A captain in the Marines Corps, is currently stationed in Iraq with Combat Logistics Battalion 6. Tim has the pleasant task of disbursing American funds for the reconstruction of the nation. Known as the Commander's Emergency Response Program (CERP), these funds enable commanders to lend urgent humanitarian and reconstruction assistance. 
  • Geoff McRae (2000) has been serving in Korea, Taiwan, and Vietnam since 2002. He is currently working with Griggs International Academy (GIA) in Ho Chi Minh City. Geoff has assisted in planting an American elementary school in The Taipei School International School.
  • John Lamb (1993) appeared on the Discovery Channel's popular show MythBusters on December 5, 2007. John spoke as an expert about the Winans steam gun, an unusual weapon developed in Baltimore at the beginning of the Civil War. Although the weapon proved impractical, its unusual concept caught the attention of the MythBusters producers. John was flown to California in August for a tour of the show and the taping of the interview.
 John continues to pursue an eclectic collection of research interests. 


  • Lisa Clark Diller, PhDLisa Clark Diller, PhDDepartment Chair, Professor
  • Mark Peach, PhDMark Peach, PhDProfessor
  • Shannon Martin, MAShannon Martin, MAAssistant Professor
  • Michael Weismeyer, PhDMichael Weismeyer, PhDAssistant Professor

The professors inspire
me with their passion
for the subject.
Rebecca Theus, ’14History major

Students Perform experiments



The History and Political Studies Department is located on the third floor of Brock Hall. Classes and research also take place in the McKee Library's Lincoln Room.


Graduates can be successful in a variety of job placements:

  • administration
  • banking
  • business
  • environmental science
  • government
  • international development
  • international relations
  • law
  • medicine
  • missions
  • national parks
  • nonprofit sectors
  • pastoring
  • political science
  • public health
  • public policy
  • real estate
  • teaching


Lisa Bilbrey Hyder, office manager

History and Political Studies Department 
Southern Adventist University 
P.O. Box 370
Collegedale, TN 37315