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Our Teaching Philosophy and Aims

The Department holds that awareness of the past is essential to understanding the present and that all knowledge has historical roots. Such an approach helps students learn from the past and apply this knowledge to the present and future in a critical and constructive fashion. We argue that History is a useful subject that enables its readers to understand and capture the salient features of humanity’s shared past. Studying history equips students to face the challenges ahead.


The Department aims to cultivate our students’ appreciation of history and to sharpen their critical and analytical abilities. We offer a wide variety of courses, including both general surveys and special topics, which train our students to develop a holistic perspective of history. Special attention is given to major historiographical and methodological issues in the pursuits of scholarly research.


The Department aims to enable students to:

  • Investigate the development of human society from a historical perspective;
  • Develop powers of critical thinking and analytical ability in understanding historical events;
  • Acquire in-depth knowledge of the human heritage;
  • Pursue graduate studies in history or a related discipline; and
  • Enter various non-academic professions.


Our passion for Historical Research

The Department is composed of a team of energetic scholars and dedicated teachers from diverse backgrounds and with varied areas of expertise. Courses reflect our efforts to conduct research-led teaching. For instance, faculty members’ research strengths in archaeology, architecture, art, business, childhood, colonialism, diseases, environment, ethnicity, historical anthropology, historical GIS, historiography, gender, law, leisure, material cultures, maritime defence, migration, military, medicine, multiculturalism, museum studies, politics, religions, science, and urbanism, have all informed courses in these areas. Geographically speaking, faculty members work on East, South, and Southeast Asia, the Middle East, Europe, America, Oceania, and Africa. To maximize our expertise, the Department offers courses on the history of all these regions and continents. On chronological coverage, faculty members work on topics stretching from antiquity to the contemporary world.


The Department has significantly expanded its fields of research while retaining its traditional strengths amidst rapidly changing global circumstances. It has built from its focus on modern and imperial Chinese history to become an innovative research centre that incorporates expertise in comparative and transnational history, urban and environmental history, heritage and material culture, and the history of science and technology. The Department has established a global reputation for high-quality research.

Our Respect for Diversity

The Department of History values the diversity of its faculty, staff, and students, and promotes an environment which is respectful of all, regardless of age, disability, ethnic and racial background, religion, gender, gender identification, sexual orientation, and social background. For more on the university’s support for equal opportunities and different cultures, see: