History Major

The history major requires all students to take a minimum of 30 credits or ten courses (excluding one-credit courses). The major aims to assure that all students have taken at least one course in a broad range of areas of the world, including at least two outside the history of Europe and the United States. It also aims to assure some exposure by all students to history prior to 1800, when there is much less evidence for making historical judgments than in the modern era, as well as requiring at least one course from the modern era. Apart from these distribution requirements, students are free to pursue their interests in one or more areas of history in as much depth as they choose.

The history major has two methodological requirements. The aim of these requirements is to train students how to understand the contingency of historical interpretation and the kinds of debates that result, to frame historical questions, to learn to use primary sources to find the evidence necessary to develop historical analysis and prove historical arguments, and to write papers that develop those arguments in clear and coherent prose. First, all history majors are required to take a 3000-level seminar that has a one-credit Historical Methods laboratory co-requisite (with the number 3000). It is not sufficient to take the 3000-level seminar without the co-requisite laboratory in order to satisfy this requirement. Second, all history majors must take one of the department’s 6000-level capstone seminars. For majors, the History Methods laboratory is a prerequisite for taking the capstone seminar. All 6000-level seminars have, as one of their central requirements, a major research paper of at least 15 pages that incorporates the analytical, research and writing skills that define the capstone experience in history.

The Requirements of the History Major

Advanced Seminars

Advanced seminars -- numbered 6000 to 6999 -- are open to sophomores, juniors and seniors, and also to graduate students.  Sophomores may require permission from the course instructor to enroll in a 6000-level seminar.  

Capstone in History:  All 6000-level seminars satisfy the Capstone requirement in history. In these courses, students will develop specialized historical and theoretical knowledge through the integration of approaches, cases, skills, and ideas from across the breadth of their major that they have learned in earlier courses. The skills integrated will include the understanding of what it means to go into a subject in-depth, the development of a defensible thesis, the use of primary sources (when available) critically to support historical argument, a sophisticated understanding of historical context and change over time, and differences in historical interpretation and methodology. Students will be expected to demonstrate their understanding in written work (including a major independent research paper), oral presentation, and/or classroom discussions. Students may not complete the Capstone until their junior/senior year. History majors should take one 3000-level Methods Seminar before registering for a Capstone seminar.


Pre-1800 Courses

Ancient and Medieval History (HISA)

All HISA courses are included under Ancient and Medieval History with the exception of HISA 3230 - Great Captains from Alexander the Great to Patton.

The following courses in Classical Studies can be counted toward the history major, as European history courses prior to 1800:


African History (HISB)

Asian History (HISC)

Modern Europe (HISE)

Latin America (HISL)

Middle East (HISM)

United States (HISU)

Post-1800 Courses

African History (HISB)

Asian History (HISC)

Modern Europe (HISE)

Latin America (HISL)

Middle East (HISM)

United States (HISU)

Writing Practica