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Undergraduate Program

Major Requirements

A minimum of ten courses (or 40 credit hours) must be taken from department faculty; no more than four courses (or 16 credit hours) taken outside the department can be counted toward the major. This includes transfer courses, study abroad courses, and cross-listed courses taught by faculty not formally associated with the Department of History.

Gateway Seminar (One Course)

HIS 200: Introduction to Historical Methods

Geographical Courses (Three Courses)

Three courses, with one from each of the following areas:

  • Africa
  • Asia and the Pacific
  • Europe
  • Latin America
  • The Middle East
  • North America

When courses have substantial coverage of two or more of these areas, students may designate one area toward which the course will count. No one course can count for two different geographical areas.

For more information see the list of courses by geographic area.

Chronological Period Courses (Four Courses)

Four courses, two from each of the following chronological periods:

  • Pre-1800
  • Post-1800

When courses have substantial coverage of both periods, students may designate which of the two the course may count toward.

Focus Area Courses (Five Courses)

Five history courses in one of the following focus areas:

  • National or regional
    • Examples: United States, Latin America, Africa, Asia, Europe
  • Topical
    • Examples: Global perspectives, history of science and medicine, African-American history
  • Methodological
    • Examples: Cultural and intellectual, social and economic

For more information see the list of courses by focus area.

Upper-Level Writing Requirement (Two Courses)

Two upper-level writing ('W') history courses, one of which must be at the 300-level, and one of which must be in the student's area of focus. Students must get a grade of C or better in these courses to fulfill the major requirement.

Overlap Policy

Overlap is allowed between some history requirements—for instance, a course on traditional China may count both as a course in the geographic area (Asia) and chronological (pre-1800) requirements. Student must still take at least 10 history courses to meet the major requirements.

Students double-majoring in history and another program in the humanities or the social sciences divisions may, with the permission of the director of undergraduate studies, use one or two courses (a maximum of eight credit hours) from the other major to fulfill the history major when there is sufficient historic content in the other major's courses. Double-majors must, however, still meet the geographical and chronological distribution requirements and the 300-level seminar requirements with history courses.

Language Courses

If studying a foreign language is pertinent to a student's focus area (e.g., Japanese to Asian and Asian-American history, or Russian to European history) and will be used in research for history courses, then the student may, with permission of the director of undergraduate studies, count up to two courses (a maximum of eight credits) of language study toward the history major.

Students using foreign language credits must still meet the:

  • Geographical and chronological distribution requirements
  • 300-level seminar requirements
  • Focus area requirement

Please note: A student using foreign language study to satisfy a humanities cluster may only overlap ONE course in the cluster with the history major.

Transfer, AP and IB Credit

No more than four courses taken outside the department can be counted toward the major. This includes study abroad courses, cross-listed courses taught by faculty not formally associated with the Department of History, and no more than a combined total of four elective credit hours (the equivalent of one course) for AP and IB exams. 

AP credit will be granted for a score of 5 on the American, European, or World History exams. Credit will be granted for only one AP course. This credit is elective credit and may not be used to satisfy the geographical or chronological distribution requirements in the major or minor or to satisfy the focus requirement in the major.

Transfer students majoring in history are required to take a minimum of five courses in the department, thus meeting half the major requirements in residence.

For more information on declaring a major, see the Declaring page.