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Department of History

Part of the School of Social and Behavioral Sciences

Sherrill Pennington, M.A.
Department Chair
Eastern Civilization,  U.S., World



Brenton Riffel, Ph.D.
U.S., Middle East, Recent America
BOYK 309

Erik Altenbernd, Ph.D.
U.S., West, California



Julianne Johnson, Ph.D.
Women's History, U.S., California
MENH 235

Michael Dermody, M.A.
U.S., Western Civilization



John Varga, M.A.
Latin America, U.S.


Why study history?

The study of history is about problem solving. It promotes critical thinking and the ability to elegantly express oneself both orally and in writing. History encourages students to search - not for easy answers or assumed truths - for a more inclusive perspective incorporating several viewpoints. Historians are trained to quantify and qualify, to question and hypothesize, to identify mysteries and then solve them. In short, history provides the student with the intellectual tools necessary to function as an educated citizen of the modern world.

What does the College of the Canyons History program offer?

Collectively, the history faculty at College of the Canyons brings impressive training and experience, as well as a wide array of interests, to the classroom. In addition to widely popular survey courses in United States History and Western Civilization, students will also find a variety of specialized, transferable courses.

For example, students may choose to take transferable courses in:

  • The History of California
  • Latin American History
  • Eastern Civilization
  • Economic History
  • Women's History
  • American Indian History
  • Latin American Civilization
  • The History of the Americas
  • World History
  • Western Civilization
  • Middle Eastern History

A rich variety of historical study awaits you at College of the Canyons.
The History Department invites you to join us and broaden your horizons.

What skills will I learn by studying history?

  • Detailed research skills
  • Interview skills and techniques
  • Accurate record-keeping skills
  • Critical-thinking skills
  • Strong interpersonal communication skills
  • Outstanding writing skills
  • Oral and written presentation skills

What kinds of jobs can I get with a history degree?

  • History professor
  • Foreign service officer
  • Magazine editor
  • Marketing director
  • Novelist
  • Politician
  • Television producer
  • Law enforcement officer

College of the Canyons Catalog