Excellent Undergraduate Education

As one of the largest providers of undergraduate general education courses, in addition to our majors, the faculty of the history department takes teaching seriously. Our professors have received recognition and awards for their teaching, and we continuously work to improve the breadth, depth, and quality of our undergraduate courses. Our graduate student teaching assistants have also won accolades for their teaching, and the department’s TA training program has become the basis for teaching instruction across the wider campus community. We truly believe that history matters.

Outstanding Graduate Education

Our graduate program ranks among the best in the nation, supported by the diversity of our faculty and the resources available both at USC and in the greater Los Angeles area. We pride ourselves on consistently producing some of the top winners of coveted and prestigious awards and fellowships nationwide. Doctoral students develop long-lasting and in-depth relationships with our esteemed faculty, whose mentorship helps them to become both better historians and future problem-solvers. Our commitment to supporting and professionalizing our graduate students helps them to become top-tier researchers, instructors, and sought-after candidates across a wide variety of career paths. We make history here.

A Community of Scholars

At its core, the history department is a community of scholars. Our award-winning faculty work in collaboration within the department, across the university, and with regional and national research institutions. The faculty, graduate students, and undergraduate students of the history department are a gathering of minds inquiring into the human past in an environment of academic rigor. Whether a student is joining us for a general education requirement, an undergraduate degree, a public lecture, or graduate training, all who are interested in the method and pursuit of history are welcome. Let’s make history!


As of this year, the USC Van Hunnick History Department has truly entered a new era. Thanks to the extraordinary generosity of Elizabeth Van Hunnick, our department will be growing and our faculty and graduate students will have the resources to be still more productive as researchers and scholars. But even before our department received its new name, we were in the midst of something like a renaissance, welcoming into our community a new group of scholars from diverse backgrounds whose work spans the globe and who bring to their investigations a wide range of methodological approaches and life experiences. At a time when, due to external pressures, some institutions (legal, governmental, and otherwise) and even some scholars have chosen to ignore the realities of history and to set aside the goals of diversity, equity, and inclusion, the Van Hunnick History Department continues to embrace these ideals and to savor the benefits of having done so. We encourage you to visit our faculty and graduate student pages. Get to know our community. Explore our calendar of events. And feel welcomed and encouraged to take our classes, attend our lectures, participate in our conferences, and investigate the complex histories that have shaped our world and that give us glimpses of better worlds that might yet be.

Paul Lerner, Department Chair

  • Please click here to find the contact information for all staff members and student advisors.
  • Please click here to view contact information for faculty.


Inaugural Sustainability Fellow Explores Historical Impacts of L.A. Freeway Construction Through Archival Collections

Amber Santoro, a graduate student in the USC Van Hunnick History Department, recently completed her term as the USC Libraries’ inaugural sustainability fellow. Presented in partnership with the USC Van Hunnick History Department and the USC Wrigley Institute for Environment and Sustainability, the new Summer Primary Source Research Fellowships on Sustainability support USC students’ public-facing research at the intersection of history, gender studies, and sustainability studies.

Beginning this past June, Santoro worked closely with library faculty and staff, including Rebecca Corbett, director of special projects, and Suzanne Noruschat, Southern California studies specialist. They steered her toward archival collections relevant to her research interests in the history of environmental racism and its relevance for today’s sustainability efforts.

At the end of USC’s summer break in August, Santoro emerged from her fellowship with plans to curate a digital exhibit that highlights the effects of freeway construction on marginalized Los Angeles communities.

Department Chair

Paul Lerner

Director of Undergraduate Studies

Lindsay O’Neill

Director of Graduate Studies

Brett Sheehan