The Department of History is a long-established one within the Faculty of Arts and has in turn inspired the growth and spread of other studies both within the Faculty of Arts and outside it. What characterises and distinguishes it is the no-nonsense solidity of its programmes of study. The academic ethos of the Department is to approach the study of History, not as a mere exercise in knowledge accumulation or memory, but as a process of understanding and interpreting our past in order to gain a solid grip on the world we live in today, whether we are looking at national, European, Mediterranean, or global history—and whether viewed from the perspective of national or international politics, diplomacy, war, culture, society or the economy.
In this way History is tackled as a living process, and as such its study equips students with superb analytical and synthetic skills that make its graduates highly adaptable, and consequently employable in a wide range of careers. Evidence of how strong a foundation for further pursuits the study of History can be is the large number of lecturers and professors in diverse academic entities within the University of Malta itself who graduated in History before developing their skills in other disciplines—be it Diplomacy, Tourism, Politics, European Studies, International Relations, Law, Public Administration, Librarianship or even Psychology. The best part however is that History is pleasant and exciting to study, for what can be more intriguing than the narrative of human development?
The Department itself maintains an enviable local and international profile. Besides being dedicated to their students’ learning and welfare its academic members are research-active and participate regularly in international conferences and academic networks. They are equally engaged in public affairs and debates, either because of their academic expertise or their record as opinion formers, frequently featuring in the media as contributors of expert advice or opinion pieces, interviewees, guests in television and radio discussion programmes, guest speakers at public inaugurations, and so on. Their participation and presence in national debate and other forms of public engagement attest to a public commitment that helps sustain the centrality of the University to society and the country at large.
The Department is visited regularly by external examiners from prestigious academic institutions to ensure the strict maintenance of international standards of learning, and it periodically invites distinguished scholars from other universities to lecture on special topics both to students and the general public. It is the department’s policy to encourage student mobility to the full through participation in Erasmus and other international exchange programmes with overseas universities. To this end, the department allows students maximum flexibility when choosing courses to follow during the exchange. Conversely, history courses are particularly popular with visiting overseas students.