The Department of History is one of the largest and most respected units in UC Berkeley's College of Letters and Science. The Department's faculty ranges across virtually all of the major geographical and chronological fields recognized by the discipline. Berkeley has long been proud of its extensive engagement with the history of Asia, a part of the world only recently given its due by many other history departments. While developing ambitious programs in the study of East Asian, South Asian, Southeast Asian, and Middle Eastern history, Berkeley has also maintained and increased its reputation in the several fields in which it first attained distinction in the first half of the 20th century: Ancient, Medieval, Modern European, Latin American, and United States history. More recently, the Department has expanded its engagement with African history. The Department is comprehensive also in the thematic and methodological emphases that render the study of history one of the most capacious of all academic callings. Although in recent years the Department's strengths in cultural, intellectual, and political history have been the most widely noted, the Department's distinction in social, economic, international and other kinds of history is also recognized throughout the world.
Professional assessments of the nation's history departments (e.g., those sponsored by the National Research Council) usually rank Berkeley first, second, or third. The intellectual stature of the Department's faculty is registered in many metrics, including in the number of its members elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. This honor has been won by seventeen regular or emeriti members of the Department: Berry, Brady, Brucker, de Vries, Gruen, Halperin, Heilbron, Herr, Hesse, Hollinger, Jay, Keightley, Laqueur, Litwack, May, Middlekauff, and Slezkine. In addition, individual members of the Department have often carried major responsibility within the Campus's administration. The Department also enjoys a reputation for excellence in both undergraduate and graduate teaching. Many of its members have won teaching awards in recent years. The Department's baccalaureate and doctoral alumni have gone on to a variety of successful careers, including in research, education, the service professions, business, and public affairs.