During the past decade, two UCLA professors – Joyce Appleby and Lynn Hunt – served as presidents of the American Historical Association, while Joyce Appleby and Gary Nash served as presidents of the Organization of American Historians. Holocaust historian Saul Friedlander was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship – the “genius award” – while eleven UCLA historians are among the 250 historians elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
During the 1990s the National Research Council ranked the UCLA History department sixth nationally, following only Yale, UC Berkeley, Princeton, Harvard, and Columbia. During the previous decade, UCLA had improved from eleventh place, and in so doing passed Stanford, Chicago, Johns Hopkins, Wisconsin, and Michigan in the rankings. This is particularly impressive since UCLA is the “youngest” among the ranks of elite research universities.
Yet the department has not achieved this prestige by neglecting our undergraduates. Senior faculty teach freshman survey courses, and every history major has the opportunity to take two or more small seminars. In 2012 UCLA gave degrees to 420 undergraduate History majors, compared to much smaller numbers at our competitive institutions: Yale (218); Princeton (119); UC Berkeley (210); Harvard (96); Columbia (150); and Stanford (87). We are proud that so many UCLA students find history an attractive major,and many others take History electives: last year the department taught 26,200 undergraduates - more than any other UCLA department!