Preparing Boys for Life


Upper school history


we believe that the study of history and social science is at the heart of a strong liberal arts education and, therefore, vital to the development of the essential qualities of a Haverford School graduate.

It is through the study of world in the contexts of time and space that a student can understand how the earth and humankind have come to be as they are today and to foresee how the lessons from the past can guide the interactions between peoples and nations in the future. Our core program is two years of global history followed by an in-depth study of United States history. Subsequent electives allow students to closely investigate topics of particular interest, including those in American and global studies, politics and government, and the Olympic Games. Throughout the program, students increase their curiosity, develop their capacity for critical and creative thinking, and expand their openness to new ideas and different ways of experiencing our common humanity.

critical thinking at The Haverford School

The role of critical thinking in the history curriculum was featured in a recent issue of Haverford School Today, the school magazine. Read the story >

We emphasize the development of the following attitudes, attributes and skills:
  • Read with an inquisitive, critical mind so as to explore material for authenticity and value
  • Think critically so as to arrive at well-reasoned conclusions
  • Communicate effectively orally and in writing
  • Research effectively using both electronic and printed sources
  • Apply sound note-taking, memorization, test-taking and other study skills
  • Use technology to maximize learning
  • Internalize an ethical, moral compass to guide decisions and actions
  • Become a lifelong student of history

We also recognize the efficaciousness of using collaboration to educate boys by engaging them in major projects that involve research, writing, debating, and oral presentation skills.


  • The Archaeology Project: a museum curator provides relics to research
  • World War I Trials: students serve as ambassadors and engage in a mock trial
  • Madison Meetings: students research and debate Supreme Court cases
  • Thesis-oriented research

Davis R. Parker Memorial History Lecture

Erica Armstrong Dunbar at history lecture

Dr. Erica Armstrong Dunbar, Charles & Mary Beard Professor of History at Rutgers University, was the 2019 history lecture speaker. Learn more >

Learn More