What Do You Learn in World History in College?

World history is a fascinating subject that delves into the past events and cultures of the world. Studying world history in college allows students to gain a deeper understanding of the roots of modern-day societies and cultures. In this article, we will explore what you can expect to learn in a world history course.

World history courses typically cover the broad sweep of human history, starting with the earliest known civilizations and continuing through modern times. The curriculum is often divided into different time periods or regions, such as Ancient Greece, Medieval Europe, or East Asia.

Ancient Civilizations:

One of the key topics covered in world history courses is ancient civilizations. This includes studying the development and contributions of early societies such as Mesopotamia, Egypt, Greece, Rome, and China. Students will learn about their political systems, social structures, religious beliefs, art, architecture, literature and technologies.

Ancient Greece:

In Ancient Greece, students will learn about democracy as a form of government and its impact on Western culture. They will also study Greek mythology which is still influential in art and literature today.


In Rome students will learn about the Roman Empire’s influence on law and governance systems worldwide. The Roman Catholic Church played a significant role in shaping European culture during medieval times.

Medieval Europe:

The medieval period in Europe covers roughly from 500-1500 CE. It was a time marked by feudalism (a hierarchical social system), religious conflicts between Christianity and Islam (Crusades) and ongoing battles between different European nations.

The Renaissance:

The Renaissance was a time period characterized by intellectual growth and artistic innovation that began in Italy during the late 14th century. It marked an era where there was an explosion of creativity across different fields like painting, sculpture, literature, music and architecture.

The Age of Exploration:

The Age of Exploration refers to the period between the 15th and 17th centuries when European nations began to explore and discover new lands. This period marked a significant shift in global politics, economics, and culture.

The Modern World:

In the modern world section of a world history course, students will study major events like World War I and II and their impact on global politics. They will also learn about key historical figures such as Martin Luther King Jr., Mahatma Gandhi, Winston Churchill, and Nelson Mandela.

  • World War I:
    • Causes of the war
    • Military strategies used during the war
    • The Treaty of Versailles
  • World War II:
    • The rise of fascism in Europe
    • The Holocaust
    • The atomic bombs dropped on Japan
  • Civil Rights Movement:
    • Martin Luther King Jr.’s leadership role during the movement
    • Rosa Parks’ contribution to the movement
    • Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court ruling

    In Conclusion:

    Studying world history in college is an enriching experience that provides students with a deeper understanding of human societies and cultures. It helps us appreciate how far we have come as a civilization while also recognizing our shortcomings.

    Whether you are interested in ancient civilizations, medieval Europe or modern times, there is something for everyone in a world history course. By taking the time to study world history, we can gain a greater appreciation for the world around us and how it has been shaped by our ancestors.