The history of the Department begins in 1948. In different years there worked such well-known Kazakhstan scientists – historians such as Professor J. D. Serovaiskiy, A. N. Zaykin, Zh.U. Ibrashev, A.A. Chupekov, L. S. Frishman, R.K. Khairgeldin, B. D. Darichev, K. P. Korzheva, B. M. Mekishev, G.A. Nurtazina.
In 1963, the Department founded a specialized department for training historians, teaching history classes in English and German.
In the early 90-s the Department of history of the ancient world and the middle ages (head of the department Doctor of historical sciences, Professor K.T. Zhumagulov), New and modern history of foreign countries (head of the department Doctor of historical sciences, Professor S. M. Mashimbaev) separated from the Department of General history.
In order to optimize the educational process in 2007, the above departments were united under the title "Department of world history", headed by Doctor of history, Professor K.T. Zhumagulov.
In 2011, the Department of historiography and source studies (head of the department Doctor of historical sciences, Professor K.T. Zhumagulov) was joined to the Department of world history.
Since 2016, the Department is headed by Doctor of historical sciences, Professor G.S. Sultangalieva.
Today, the Department of world history, historiography and source studies is a leading center for training highly qualified personnel in Kazakhstan on world history, historiography and source studies and provides scientific and methodological assistance to a number of universities in Kazakhstan.
The Department serves the following specialties: 5B020300 - history, 6M020300 - history, 6D020300 - history; 5B011400 - history, 6М11400 – history, 5В051500 – archival science, documentation and documentation provision; 6М051500 – archival science, documentation and documentation provision; 5В091000 – librarianship.
Currently, the teaching staff of the Department of world history, historiography and source studies includes 9 doctors of historical sciences, professors, 12 Ph.D., associate professors, 2 doctors of PhD. Among them, the winners of the Republican contest of MES "The Best teacher of the University" - doctor of historical sciences, Professor K.T. Zhumagulov (2006), doctor of historical sciences, Professor G.K. Kokebayeva (2009), doctor of historical sciences, Professor G. S. Sultangalieva (2011), Professor O. H. Mukhatova (2011). Elective courses in English are offered by Professor G.S. Sultangalieva, L.G. Yerekesheva, Professor A. Galiev, senior lecturer Zh.B. Kozhabekova.
Since 2014, Director of the Department of the Republican center for the study of world history is Professor K.T. Zhumagulov. Leading professors and associate professors of the Department participate in the work of the center: Professor S.M. Mashimbaev, Professor T.A. Tulebaev, associate Professor R.S. Myrzabekova, associate Professor E.T. Kartabaeva, associate Professor G.S. Bedelova, associate Professor T.N. Mukhazhanova, associate Professor F.N. Miymanbaeva, associate Professor G. E. Sabdenova, associate Professor N.K. Alpysbaeva, Professor G.A. Seksenbaeva, associate Professor G.T. Zhakupova, associate Professor K. Kunapina, associate Professor B.E. Nurpeisova, Ph.D., P. Nuskabai ... etc.
According to the results of the Center's research, monographs, textbooks and manuals on the problems of world history were published, international conferences were held ("Actual problems of world history"), articles were published in international scientific journals included in the database Scopus and ISI Web of Knowledge, Thomson Reuters. New sources on world history in domestic and foreign archives are revealed.
At the moment the Department has two research project on fundamental researches of MES of RK: 1167 /SF 4 "Institute of volost in the control system of the Kazakh steppe XIX-beginning of XX centuries: the functions, activities and interaction with the Russian authorities" (head - Professor G.S. Sultangalieva) and 4817/SF 4 "The Place and role of Turkic civilization in the history of Eurasia" (head - associate Professor E.T. Kartabaeva)
The Department has established partnerships with national scientific organizations and centers – the National library of Kazakhstan, the Archive of the President of Kazakhstan, the Central state archive of Kazakhstan, the Central state archive of scientific and technical documentation of Kazakhstan, the Central archive of film and sound recordings of Kazakhstan.
As part of the training Department established scientific contacts with universities and research organizations in Germany (University of Göttingen, University of Tübingen), USA (Iowa University, University of Nevada), Japan (Tokyo University, Hokkaido University), Poland (University of Adam Mickiewicz in Poznan and the University of Warsaw), France (Higher School of Social Sciences, higher School of Political science), Italy (University of La Sapienza), Hong Kong (University of Hong Kong). Professors G.S. Sultangalieva and G.K. Kokebaeva became prize-winners of the grant of the German Historical Institute in Moscow.
Professor of the Department doctor of historical sciences G. M. Mendikulova in the 2016 year had won an international grant for the participation in the workshop "Intergovernmental Kazakh-British program "Newton – al-Farabi", conducted by the British Council and the Centre for Professional development and interaction al-Farabi KazNU. Professor, doctor of historical sciences G.S. Sultangalieva received an international grant to attend the conference of the Institute of Asian studies (Leiden, the Netherlands). Teachers of the Department take part in international conferences in the USA (CESS, 2014 - 2016), Hungary (European Forum), Russian Federation (Moscow, Kazan, Ufa, St. Petersburg, Orenburg).
Professors and associate professors of the Department of world history, historiography and source studies maintain traditional links with universities and neighboring countries (Russia, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan). At the Department there are training programs on double-degree education in the specialty 6M020300-history (La Sapienza, Italy); 6M051500 – archival science, document management and documentation support (Russian state humanitarian University, Russia).
In 2015-2017 academic year the Department invited such scholars as Xavier Hallez – research officer of Higher school of social sciences (Paris, France), Etienne Peyrat - researcher of the Higher school of political sciences (Paris, France), Fabio Grassi – Professor of La Sapienza University (Rome, Italy), Mariusz Marszewski - senior researcher of Institute for East representing the University of Adam Mickiewicz in Poznan (Poland). They gave lectures and held interesting meetings with undergraduates and doctoral students of the faculty. At the moment Doctoral student of the University of Iowa John Spates and doctoral student of Tokyo University Hideyuki Naganuma are passing scientific training at the Department, students from Afghanistan and China write master's dissertations.
Teachers of the Department manage the research work of students. The Department has student scientific circles: Discussion club "the West - East and the conceptual problems of history" (supervisor prof. G.K. Kokebaeva), "the Young archivist" (supervisor prof. O.H. Mukhatova), "Heritage" (supervisor Ph. D., T.N. Mukhazhanova), "Actual problems of the ancient world and the middle ages" (head associate Professor E.T. Kartabaeva) which are conducted in both Kazakh and Russian.