• Students looking at historic manuscripts
    Hands on, minds on – students learning about Aotearoa New Zealand history at the Macmillan Brown Library with Art Collections Curator, Lydia Baxendell. Artwork credit: John Cleveley, View of Charlotte Sound in New Zealand in the South Seas, 1778, Aquatint engraving, UC/MBL/0394, UC Art Collection.



History is more than the study of the past; it is a living creative act. History explores past events in order to inform us about who we are and what is happening today. History gives us our cultural roots. It helps us understand ourselves, our neighbours, our nation, other cultures, and the world, enabling us to become truly global citizens. We learn a lot from history, and this knowledge helps us to avoid the mistakes of the past and make better decisions for the future, just as we learn from our own experiences.

Studying History supplies students with the skills to analyse complex evidence, present evidence-based arguments, and put things in perspective. Such skills developed from studying History can be applied in many careers, as well as to all walks of life.

History is a big subject, at the very heart of the humanities. Everything has a history, and every history can be challenged by a fresh mind. Some types of history and historical evidence are also part of the social sciences, such as Political Science and International Relations, and Sociology, and Law (which is a form of 'applied history'). The study of languages and literature is enhanced by knowing about their cultural and historical contexts. Historians, too, often use techniques and results from other disciplines. History is a supremely interdisciplinary subject.

Contact us

Department of History

Phone +64 3 369 3377
Email [email protected]

5th Floor, Karl Popper building – see campus maps

Postal address
College of Arts | Te Rāngai Toi Tangata
University of Canterbury | Te Whare Wānanga o Waitaha
Private Bag 4800
Christchurch 8140
New Zealand

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