Professor John Richards teaching history inside with words on the whiteboard behind him

College of Arts & Sciences



Kris Oehlert

Department Assistant

History, Culture & Society

Real-world approach to teaching.


To understand the present, it is important to analyze and interpret the past.

Our history students gain experience through directed research, oral history, museum and archival fieldwork, and internships. They learn hands-on in the heart of Kansas, where a rich history of Westward expansion has shaped the land. As the oldest university in Kansas, dating back to 1858, Baker University is the perfect place to study history. The curriculum balances European, non-Western, and American history.

Early Written Form from Quayle Bible Collection

To Know Is to Grow

A history degree is a great stepping stone for many graduate degrees, from law school to more in-depth historical studies. Our students learn all the skills necessary to be a historian, from writing and public speaking skills to the implementation of critical thinking.

Professor Leonard Ortiz speaking to students in a history class outside on the lawn
Five girls walking on campus
Photo of stained glass window in the campus library
Male student sitting at desk working on a worksheet

Exceptional Experience


Prepare for Law School

Baker prepares students for law school with our prelaw interdisciplinary minor. Students work with a prelaw advisor to create a course of study that prepares them for law school. The advisor also helps find internship opportunities. Ninety-five percent of our prelaw students are accepted into their first- or second-choice law school.

A Well-Rounded Degree

Our history majors are taught more than just the facts—they’re taught to think critically about what they learn and apply it in their everyday lives. And often, they excel among their peers in written and oral communication and critical thinking skills. Through a wide range of course options and learning objectives, our students graduate ready for whatever comes next, whether it’s graduate school, becoming an educator, or anything else.

Experiential Learning

Whether it’s reenacting famous battles on campus to understand military strategies, re-creating segregated public facilities to understand the consequences of segregation, or studying abroad to learn and become familiar with other languages, cultures, and history, our students have a multitude of experiential learning opportunities to choose from.

Research Award Winners

Our students, who learn the essential skills of effective writing and critical thinking, routinely win top awards at the Missouri Valley History Conference. A Baker student has won the best undergraduate paper three times in the past five years. By presenting their research to an audience, fielding questions, and receiving feedback from professors from other schools, students gain confidence and professionalism.


Our economics majors have gone on to the following careers:

  • Archival Management
  • Museum Administration
  • Teaching
  • Law
  • National Park System
  • Researcher
  • Positions in Government Agencies
Religious Studies student sitting down and writing in a book during a excavation dig in Israel


The Department of History, Culture, and Society gives these awards with financial prizes to be applied to the following year’s tuition:

  • Mildred Hunt Riddle Departmental Recognition Scholarship for Social Sciences
  • Mildred Hunt Riddle Departmental Recognition Scholarship for Philosophy and Religion
  • Mildred Hunt Riddle Departmental Recognition Scholarship for History
  • Dorothy J. and James F. Hilgenberg Scholarship
  • Gilbert and Martha Jane Lewis Ferguson Scholarship
  • Brune Memorial Scholarship
  • Paul Dick Scholarship
  • Warren E. and Marion Rhodes DeSpain Scholarship in Church Leadership
  • Thomas G. Manson and Frances B. Manson Scholarship
religious studies artifact from 2000.2 B.C.

History Course Descriptions

Meet the Faculty

John Richards
Associate Professor of History, Chair of the Dept. of History, Culture, and Society
B.A., M.A. University of Kansas; ABD Brown University
Expertise: dynastic Egypt, ancient Greece and Rome, early medieval Europe
Office: Parmenter Hall 21

Leonard Ortiz
Associate Professor of History, Susan L. Perry Chair
B.A. Santa Clara University, M.A. Stanford University, Ph.D. University of Kansas
Expertise: American west, Native American and 20th century U.S. history
Office: Parmenter Hall 20

Parmenter and long student center

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