History Major | History Minor

General Distribution Requirement

All history courses count toward the general distribution requirement in humanities except HIST 237, which counts as social science general distribution. Topics courses that are taught by faculty in other departments but are cross-listed by History fulfill the general distribution requirement selected by that department.

General Education Requirements

Courses that meet the general education requirements in writing, quantitative thinking, internationalism and U.S. identities and differences will be posted on the Registrar's web page in advance of registration for each semester.

Additional information regarding the general distribution requirement and the general education requirements can be found in the graduation requirements section of this catalog.

Honors Program

The history department participates in the honors program. Students working on honors projects must take HIST 490 in the fall of their senior year and can undertake an independent study under the supervision of their honors thesis advisor the following spring. Eligibility requirements, application procedures and specific project expectations for the department are available either from the department office or the Director of Academic Programs.

Topics Courses

HIST 194, HIST 294, HIST 394, HIST 494 

Topics courses are occasional, often experimental courses, offered by instructors at their own initiative or in response to student requests. Recent topics courses include: Great Lakes American Indian Histories; Making History: Russian Cinema as Testimony, Propaganda and Art; From Telenovelas to Tacos: Popular Culture in Mexican History; The Victorian Empire: 1830s to 1910; Monks, Lords, War & Pestilence: Europe 950-1350; Ethics of Service; Indigenous Peoples and Museums; Modern German History, 1871-Present; History of Feminisms; US in the 1930s; France & Germany: Neighbors, Nations and Citizenship; French Revolution to European Integration; Medieval Travelers & Their Accounts; Transnational Latin Americas

Independent Study

The department offers independent study options in the form of tutorials, independent projects, internships, and preceptorships. For more information contact the department and review the Curriculum section of the catalog.

Course levels

Courses numbered 100-199 are introductory in nature. They are introductions both to the study of history and to the history of a particular part of the world. As introductions to the study of history, they all aim at teaching students to think historically and to understand that human activity must be understood in the context of a specific time and place. In addition they contain a number of "skills" components, though, in keeping with the nature of history as a time and placelinked discipline, those "skills" are taught in the context of a particular history rather than as abstract theory. 100-level courses will include attention to understanding the distinction between primary and secondary sources, examining and evaluating evidence, formulating an argument, analyzing competing arguments, and understanding the nature of history as it is constructed by historians. Courses numbered 200-299 are intermediate in nature and are driven by specific content. Some are surveys of a relatively broad period; others may examine a narrower topic. 200-level courses are appropriate to majors and non-majors alike, and may be taken by students of any class-standing though the bulk of students enrolled in these classes will probably be sophomores and juniors. Courses numbered 300-399 are aimed at history majors and minors, though they may also enroll other students who have an interest. They are generally narrower in focus than 200-level courses and many will involve some degree of independent research. History 379, The Study of History, which is a required course for majors also is designated a 300-level course. Courses 400-649 are advanced seminars and independent projects ordinarily taken by seniors.

History Major

Major Requirements

A history major is planned in consultation with a student's advisor and comprises no fewer than 40, nor more than 48, history credits. These credits may include up to four internship credits (HIST 624) if approved by a history department member, and four independent study credits (HIST 614) carried out under the supervision of a member of the department. Preceptorship in history credits (HIST 634) may not be counted among the first 40 credits for the major but may be a supplement to them up to a maximum total of 48 credits. Courses completed for college credit prior to matriculation at a collegiate level institution, such as Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate courses, may not be used in completion of a major. Except with consent of the department, the major will include no more than eight introductory level course credits and no more than eight history credits taught by faculty outside the department.

All history majors are required to take:

  • HIST 379 - The Study of History, which examines the different approaches and analytical frameworks of historical scholarship. Prospective majors are strongly encouraged to take "The Study of History" during their sophomore year.
  • In addition to HIST 379 - The Study of History students must also take a second 300-level History course, ideally before taking HIST 490 - Special Advanced Topics.
  • HIST 490 in the fall of their senior year, an advanced study seminar in which a major research paper is written. The college senior capstone requirement is to be met by completion of HIST 490.
  • 4 credits in each of three geographic areas. The department normally offers courses in the following geographic areas: United States, Europe, Latin America, Africa, East Asia, and Middle East/Islamic World.
  • 4 credits in courses that deal primarily with the history of a period prior to 1800,
  • 4 credits in courses that deal primarily with the period since 1800,
  • Students who declare after August 1, 2012 must take at least 4 credits in global and/or comparative history.


History Minor

Minor Requirements

A minor in history consists of twenty-four credits chosen with the assistance of the student’s departmental advisor. Not more than twelve of these may be introductory level courses and not more than four of them taught by non-departmental faculty.