History

About the Department

The History major takes students up a ladder from introductory surveys and seminars (100 level courses) through intermediate lecture-discussion courses (200 level) to specialized research and discussion seminars (300 level courses). You may even develop you own directed reading course with a faculty member (HIST 403), hold an Internship (HIST 453), or write an Honors Thesis (HIST 493) on a specialized research topic of your devising. The major requires you to develop depth in one area of concentration (American, European, or Global history) and to develop breadth by taking at least three courses outside your concentration as well. Normally students sample introductory courses and fulfill their FDR requirements during their first two years. They chose the major, a faculty advisor, and begin developing an area of concentration toward the end of their second year.

As a history major, you will choose from a wide array of offerings to build a course of study. Early in your major you should begin developing a concentration in one of three areas:

  • European and Russian history (including the history of Science)
  • American history (and Latin American, with the department chair's approval)
  • Global history, including Asian, African, Latin American, (and Russian with the department chair's approval)

The major requires completion of 36 credits (12 courses).*  See History Major Requirements for a formal statement of the major.  Here these requirements are restated in check-list form:

Introductory courses:**  Take two courses either in or outside your eventual area of concentration. You may use this opportunity to sample areas of the past that you may not have encountered before, or to begin developing your concentration.

  • 100-level
  • 100-level

Depth: Take five courses at the 200 level or above in your area of concentration, at least one of which must be a 300 level seminar.

  • 200 level or above
  • 200 level or above
  • 200 level or above
  • 200 level or above
  • 300 level

Breadth: Take three courses outside your concentration.  All should be 200 level or above, one of which must be a 300 level seminar. It is desirable that you take the seminar in an area you have already explored at the 100 or 200 level.

  • 200 level or above
  • 200 level or above
  • 300-level

Electives: Take two more courses in anything you like. 

  • 100 level or above
  • 100 level or above

Your History major is now complete!


*  Each history course earns 3 credits during Fall or Winter terms, or 4 credits in the Spring. If you have earned “extra” credits during spring term(s), your advisor or the department chair will help you choose where they may apply within the design of the major.

**  Note: AP credits in American or European history would count for this part of the major. But, if you were awarded 3 credits in AP European history, and then choose to take either HIST 101 or 102, the W&L course replaces your AP credits since they are in effect the same material.  The same applies if you were awarded 3 credits in AP American History.  Taking HIST 107 or 108 replaces that AP credit.  We offer many other 100 level HIST courses that do NOT replace your AP credits (see the Course Catalog).  AP scores of 5, and IB scores of 5, 6, or 7 may earn credit as described in their respective policy pages.