Students in History class


Learn to analyze the past critically and become a better-educated citizen in the present and future.

Grad shaking Dean's hand

At a Glance

The History program at CU offers small class sizes and personal attention from faculty, opportunities to research and craft individualized historical topics. You will have access to innovative and unique hands-on opportunities in documentary editing and museum work as well as preparation for graduate school and careers in history, education, public history, government service, or law.
Students have the opportunity to work with digital history project on campus with Papers of Martin Van Buren, as well as hands-on service learning opportunities with local historical societies and museums including the Lebanon City Museum, History Associates of Wilson County, and Fite Fessenden House.

Student Favorite Courses

Labry Hall Atrium

Conspiracy Theories

Conspiracy Theories

This course helps students understand the complex reasons behind conspiratorial thinking, the resulting benefits and dangers, and the influence that it has had on American history.

Dr. McDaniel teaching in Baird Chapel

Russian & Soviet History

Russian & Soviet History

This course is taught by Dr. Sean McDaniel who specializes in Russian and Soviet Union history and has spent much of his time learning about and traveling to Russia, Ukraine, and Kazakhstan.

Women, Gender, and Sexuality

Women, Gender, and Sexuality

This class examines how women, gender, and sexuality worked to shape North American cultures from the colonial period through the recent past.

Aspiring History Teacher

“Since high school, I have had an interest in history and I thought the best way to demonstrate my love of history would be through teaching. Coming from a small town, I wanted to attend a college that had the same friendly, community-oriented atmosphere, which led me to Cumberland. The size of the campus made me feel comfortable and significant because I wasn’t just another face on campus. I became a part of the Cumberland community. The history courses usually have a small number of students, so discussions, lectures, and projects are hands-on which makes a better learning experience for me and other students as well.

The faculty of the history department are super friendly and see beyond the student. They recognize hard work and the importance of being able to apply what we learn in the classroom to our future careers. This inspires me to push through challenges so one day I can achieve my goal of becoming a secondary history educator.

Education, specifically in history, is very important to me because it tells people’s stories. Often, history is overlooked, and I want to teach how history is relevant and how, even though it took place in our past, it still influences our future. History is tied to all the other subjects because history represents all human ideas. I want to teach how history has shaped our societies and how to apply history to our modern-day societies.”

– Alexis Tomlinson, Junior at Cumberland University 

Alexis Tomlinson

Internship Opportunities

  • The Papers of Martin Van Buren Project
  • The Hermitage: Home of Andrew Jackson
  • Historic Castalian Springs
  • TN State Library and Archives
  • Various Law Firms in Nashville and Lebanon
Dr. Cheathem talking to students about the Papers of Martin Van Buren

Career Paths

  • Law School
  • Graduate School
  • Teaching
  • Historic Preservation
  • Archival Administration
  • Museum Administration
  • Cultural Resources Management
  • Nonprofit/Government Service

Hear From Our Students

What Our Graduates Say

“I am currently working at the Tennessee State Library and Archives as an Archival Assistant and Legislative Recorder. The History program at Cumberland taught me many valuable skills that I apply to my career, including reading analysis and comprehension, writing, and public speaking.” -Kayla Eatherly, Class of 2021

Graduate at the Cordell Hull Peace Forum

“I currently work as a Veterans Service Representative with the Department of Veterans Affairs office in Nashville, assisting our Veterans as they apply for the benefits they earned through their service. This opportunity was only presented to me because of the amazing experience I had at Cumberland, where the History Department taught me the importance of research, being detail oriented, and always trying to improve. Attending Cumberland University was the best decision I ever made!” -Cade Arnold, Class of 2020

Graudate Cade Arnold
National Civil Rights Museum

Students immerse themselves in history at the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, TN in 2022

Honor Societies

  • Pi Gamma Mu- Social Science Honor Society
  • Phi Alpha Theta- History Honor Society
  • Philomathean Society- Literary Honor Society

Annual Events

  • Cynthia Van Buren Lecture
  • Vise Library Speaker Series
  • Honor Society Inductions
  • Social Science Spring Social
  • Additional Experiential Learning Opportunities

Meet the Faculty

Miguel Chavez
Dr. Miguel Chavez
Assistant Professor of History
Dr. Mark Cheathem
Professor of History and Editor of the Martin Van Buren Papers
(615) 547-1341
Dr. Natalie Inman
Associate Professor of History
(615) 547-1279
Dr. Sean McDaniel
Assistant Professor of History
(615) 453-6374
Dr. Tara Mitchell Mielnik
Assistant Professor of History
(615) 453-6423

What is new at CU

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