History Department


SUNY Cortland’s History Department offers two majors, a minor, and a graduate program. Browse our department webpage to explore options. We have a world-class faculty offering classes ranging from Revolutionary America to Ancient Greece; from Medieval Europe to Modern China; from the Spanish Civil War to Native American History; from World Environmental History to Public History; and dozens more. In our history courses, students don't just study the past---they become historians.

Check out these additional resources on why majoring in history brings a lifetime of opportunity, career choice, and excitement:

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Department News

  • We are saddened by the death of Dr. William F. Sharp, professor emeritus of history. Dr. Sharp served at SUNY Cortland from 1994 through 2010 as professor of history, specializing in Latin American history. He also served as Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs from 1994 to 2001. He will be missed.
  • Why study history at Cortland? To become a great teacher without breaking the bank! SUNY Cortland has been ranked 23rd nationally in best value for teaching degrees.
  • Dr. Laura Gathagan published a new co-edited volume, A Companion to the Abbey of Le Bec in the Central Middle Ages (11th-13th Centuries). She also edited the latest volume of the Haskins Society Journal.
  • Dr. Judith Van Buskirk appeared on the "Ben Franklin's World" podcast to discuss her newest book --- Listen here
  • Dr. Scott Moranda appeared on the New Books Network's podcast to discuss his book, The People's Own Landscape: Nature, Tourism, and Dictatorship in East Germany (University of Michigan Press, 2014) --- Listen here
  • Welcome to our newest colleague, Dr. Bekeh Ukelina! An expert of African history, Dr. Ukelina will offer courses on early and modern Africa, world history, and imperialism.
  • We are saddened by the death of Dr. Leonard F. Ralston, professor emeritus of history. Dr. Ralston taught in the history department from 1957 to 1987. He is best known on campus for writing Cortland College: An Illustrative History. He will be missed.
  • Dr. Judith Van Buskirk published her latest book, Standing in Their Own Light: African American Patriots in the American Revolution (University of Oklahoma Press, 2017). Praising her work, Edward Countryman calls Standing in Their Own Light a "thoughtful, deeply researched, well-written book [that] makes a big contribution to understanding the Revolution in its liberating but tragic ambiguity.” 


Summer Research Fellow Uncovering Lime Hollow’s History

Project combines aspects of GIS technology, history and ecology.

SUNY Cortland Plans Events to Remember Holocaust

Lectures, a film screening and a string quartet performance will remember this dark chapter in history.

Folk Musician to Perform Hidden History

Charlie King will present on the struggle between labor and copper mine owners in 1917.

Van Buskirk Chronicles Black Patriots’ Struggle

A SUNY Cortland professor's book illuminates black roles in the American Revolution.

From SUNY Cortland to the Smithsonian

Life-changing internships and award-winning research revealed a future in art history to senior Claire Leggett.


The History Club is one of SUNY Cortland’s fastest growing organizations on campus! Its goals are to provide a social setting for developing interests in historical topics and to establish a better relationship between faculty and students.

Read More About History Department Clubs