The general objective of studying history is to restore or reconstruct empirically the history and culture of mankind, so as to explore the 'truth', which could be the ultimate guidance for our times. The Department of History is faithful in achieving this objective, by opening systematic and various curricula that will contribute to one's academic accomplishment. The Department also realizes the distinctive nature of historical studies, so that we operate many different historical 'experiences', such as surveying historical landmarks or excavations. By those activities, we hope to promote on-the-spot education.
The Department of History was first founded in 1915, simultaneous with Yonhee College itself. Yonhee College actually originated from studying and teaching the modern humanities field, which accommodates literature, philosophy and history. The Department of Liberal Arts of Yonhee College was the sole faculty of literature at the time of the colonial era. The Department became the center of Korean studies, which was established in order to combat counterbalance Kyongsung University, which was founded by the Japanese colonial government. Such distinguished intellectuals as Jung In-bo, Choi Hyun-bae, and Kim Yun-kyung became the leaders of this academic movement. The Department also took interest in adopting new Western learning. In short, the Department eventually became the scholarly core for Korean intellectuals in realizing the autonomous independence of Korea. When Yonhee College was expanded and restructured into becoming Yonsei University in 1946, the Department of History became an independent section. The Department of History of Yonsei University, therefore, takes pride in its 50 to 80 years of tradition in stimulating the disciplines of Korean Studies and modern historiography. The Department is currently the backbone of historical studies in Korea, and continues to carry on the achievement and spirit of its legacies.
A major field of study in our department can be divided into Korean History, East Asian History, and Western History. There are many courses or programs set to stimulate studies in each respective field, from ancient to contemporary eras. We also emphasize the readings of primary sources in order to assist the structuring of historical theories and their applications to their fields of specialization. The Department also operates the Master's and Doctor's courses in its graduate school, which acts as an institution to train specialized scholars for the sake of creativity and development of academic excellence.