The strength of the U.S. division lies in its breadth and diversity. The faculty cover all periods of American history and offer many different emphases and methodological approaches. Students are encouraged to take courses throughout, and even outside of, the department and to explore diverse approaches to their chosen topic. Among the division's particular thematic strengths are Race and Ethnicity, African-American, Women and Gender, the West, and Labor. In addition, the department is one of the few to offer expertise and graduate training in the areas of African-American Intellectual, Native American, and Environmental history.
Graduate students may develop fields that are defined thematically or methodologically (e.g., Asian-American, the West, Cultural) as well as fields that are defined chronologically (Colonial, Nineteenth Century, Twentieth Century). Students are encouraged to study key topics in U.S. history (Ethnicity, Gender, Colonialism) in comparative or transnational frameworks. Beyond the department's core faculty in U.S. history, students also benefit from the involvement of faculty in American Indian Studies, American Ethnic Studies, Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies, and Urban Design and Planning.
The University of Washington maintains an outstanding library for studying American history. It has an excellent book and journal collection, a rapidly expanding network of on-line primary and secondary sources, and an extensive collection of microforms, government documents, and scientific publications. The library's Special Collections division documents the history of the Pacific Northwest and includes among its holdings substantial material on the region's ethnic and minority communities and an impressive photography collection. In addition, the regional repository of the National Archives and Records Administration is located a few minutes from the campus.
Special resources for students studying American history at the University of Washington include the Center for the Study of the Pacific Northwest, which houses The Pacific Northwest Quarterly and promotes research and teaching related to the local region and the American West, and the Harry Bridges Center for Labor Studies (co-sponsored by the departments of History and Political Science), which hosts speakers and conferences and funds research related to labor. Both Centers offer financial support to graduate students. In addition, the department has several fellowships designated for incoming students in American history.