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History Major

The Department of History seeks to broaden the student's cultural background through the study of History and to provide preparation for those interested in publishing, teaching, museum work, law, journalism, civil service, military, archival and library work, diplomacy, business school, and graduate study and many more opportunities.

Program learning outcomes include:

  • Students will be able to distinguish among a variety of genres of primary and secondary historical texts (e.g. documents, monographs, letters, novels, film, political cartoons, essays) and use them appropriately and effectively in academic work.
  • Students will demonstrate the ability to conduct research using primary and secondary sources including archival, print and non-print, and web-based texts.
  • Students will demonstrate the ability to define and defend a historical thesis.

About the History Major

Degree Requirements

Requirements for the History major are 39 hours of history course work distributed as follows: 12 hours in 100-200 level introductory courses selected from at least two general geographical fields of history and including History 208; 15 hours in one major field of specialization (see below); 9 hours of history in at least two major fields other than the field of specialization; History 408. All courses for the major must be completed with a minimum grade of C-, and 21 hours of the 39 total hours must be at the junior-senior (300-400) level.
At least one course (three credits), must be taken from an approved list of courses on regions outside both Europe and the U.S. The list may be obtained from the History Undergraduate Advisor's Office.

Introductory Courses

The requirement is 12 hours at the 100-200 level taken in at least two geographical fields.
One of these must be History 208. In considering courses that will fulfill this requirement, students are encouraged to:

  • select at least two courses in a sequence;
  • select at least one course before 1500 and one course after 1500;
  • sample both regional and topical course offerings. Students will normally take one or more introductory courses within the major field of specialization.

Fields of Specialization

Students may choose a field of specialization that is either geographic or thematic:   

  • Geographic: Africa and the African Diaspora; Europe, Britain, and Russia; Global Interaction and Exchange; Latin America and the Caribbean; North Africa, Middle East, and Central Asia; South and East Asia; United States
  • Thematic: Cultural and Intellectual History; Economies, Labor, and Capitalism; Empires and Colonialism; Social Change and Social Movements; Politics, Law, and Government; Race and Ethnicity; Religion and Society; Science, Technology, Medicine, and the Environment; War, Peace, and Society; Women, Gender, and Sexuality; Individualized Pathway

Outside the Field of Specialization

Students are required to take 9 hours of history in at least two areas outside their field of specialization.

  • Students are encouraged to select mainly upper-level courses.
  • Students are encouraged to consider regional diversity.


The History Major Capstone seminar, HIST 408, will be taken in the junior or senior year and may be inside or outside the field of specialization.

Supporting Courses (outside the Department of History)

Nine credits at the 300-400 level in appropriate supporting courses; the courses do not all have to be in the same department. Supporting courses should study some aspect of culture and society as taught by other disciplines. A minimum grade of C- is required. An approved list of supporting courses can be obtained from the undergraduate history office.

A.P. and I.B. credits are accepted.

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