The History Department was originally established in 1969, and then the night school was added in 1972 to recruit students. In 1985 the Institute of History and Linguistics was established, which included both Chinese and History sections. Each section became independent in 1993; the History section changed its name to the Graduate School of History, and that same year began to recruit graduate students to its Masters Program. In 1997 the PhD Program, specializing in the areas of Chinese history, World history, and Taiwanese history, began to recruit Doctoral candidates. In accordance with social change, in 1997 changes were enacted to further improve and promoted the night school; in 2000 the night school stopped accepting students, but reopened four years later in 2004 to recruit students to its newly formed Graduate Night School.
The History Department is situated in the prefectural city of Tainan in the old Department of Liberal building, a national historic site which was originally the barracks of the Japanese second infantry regiment. With respect to studying researching Taiwanese history, there is no place more suitable then the Cheng Kung University’s History Department. Therefore in 1970, the History Department collaborated with Harvard University’s Yenching Institute to conduct research into Taiwanese history, becoming the pioneer of Taiwanese history research in Taiwan. Teachers and students continue to carry out examinations on the historical sites and collect local historical relics. These relics are stored in National Cheng Kung University Museum of History, which is the only history department museum in Taiwan, and regular exhibitions are held in this museum.
In addition, the History Department has also made significant contributions in the area of Western history. Taiwan’s only domestic Western history periodical, "Western History Collected papers," published a total of 13 issues. This periodical attracted scholastic interest from scholars in Western history on both sides of the Taiwan Strait, but publication was suspended due to a change in the academic environment. In 2000, a national Western history website was established at the request of the Center for Humanities Research. The same year, the Ministry of Education Advisory Office set into action their “humanities and social sciences resource center plan” to establish, along with the National Cheng Kung Library, the “Western History Resource Center,” to provide better academic conditions for the study of Western history.
The History Department at National Cheng Kung University also possesses qualified instructors and comprehensive curriculum for the study of Chinese history and East Asian history. Modern Chinese history in coordination with Taiwanese history complements each other beautifully. East Asian history includes the history of Northeast Asia region, Japanese history, and Southeast Asian history. Chinese dynastic history consists of pre-Qin history, history of the Sui and the Tang, the Song, the Yuan, the Ming and the Qing dynasties, as well as the history of the Republic of China. Specialized history is comprised of social history, Taoist history, women’s history, and North Asian history. The History Department also has an extensive curriculum and research into specific countries such as the UK, Germany, and America to name a few.