Politics & Government

Rachel Maddow debunks Santorum's American history claim with UC Davis course catalog

California's public universities do, in fact, teach American history.

UC Davis' history department was thrown into the media spotlight when its course calendar was used to debunk Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum's claim Monday that California's public universities do not offer courses in American history.

Santorum made the claim at a Wisconsin campaign stop on Monday, telling an audience, "I was just reading something last night from the state of California that seven or eight of the California system of universities don't even teach an American history course. It's not even available to be taught."

MSNBC talk show host Rachel Maddow on her Monday broadcast called the Santorum statement "100 percent untrue" and "hysterically wrong."

She then read from the University of California, Davis, course calendar naming several courses from the Davis catalog and the classes' instructors.

Courses include "History of the United States," "The Gilded Age and Progressive Era" and "War, Prosperity and Depression, 1917-1945."

Davis officials said they were pleased with the unexpected exposure.

"We were thrilled that a national TV audience was able to see the breadth of our course offerings in a very important subject," UC Davis spokesman Barry Shiller said Tuesday.

American history is taught in nine of the 10 campuses of the University of California system. University of California, San Francisco, a medical school, does not have such classes.

American history is also taught in the 23 campuses of the California State University system. In the CSU system, students must complete course work in "U.S. History, Constitution and American Ideals" to earn a bachelor's degree, said Erik Fallis, CSU spokesman.

All UC undergraduate degree programs require study in "American History and Institutions," according to UC admission information.

Students can meet the requirements through high school or community college course work or examinations. UC Santa Barbara requires a college-level history course.

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