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The Program


Latin America, Mixtec Image

History is the study of the past of our own society and how it emerged out of the traditions that produced it. At the same time, self-knowledge for students of history comes not only from self-discovery, but also from a comparison of their own tradition and experience with those of others. It is only by studying the history of other civilizations and cultures that we hope to gain perspective on our own. The course offerings in the major are designed to bring about an understanding of the forces that have shaped the many cultures of this country and the world. The department has one of the largest, most distinguished, and most diverse faculties in the nation.

The flexibility of the History major is one of its strongest appeals. Moreover, the undergraduate program offers a broad introduction to the history of the world's people and civilizations. Students are required to study the history of the United States, Western Civilization or World History, and one area outside the Western tradition. Students are also required to take one course in Historical Practice, and in their senior year they undertake one piece of sustained research in a focused historical subject. Outside of these requirements, students are free to follow their own interests. The Department's selection of upper-division lecture and seminar courses provides the opportunity to become acquainted with a variety of historical fields and methodologies. Social, intellectual, cultural, and political history are all strongly represented.

Bachelor of Arts Degree

The History Department's Undergraduate Program consists of 16 courses in history (six lower-division - the "Preparation for the Major," including the pre-major requirements; and ten upper-division - the "Major"). Students must complete the history pre-major before applying for admission to the major.

Preparation for the Major, Including the History Pre-Major

Required for the pre-major: Three courses including two Western Civilization (History 1A, 1B, 1C) or two in World History (History 20, 21, 22); and History 97 (or 96W).

All prep for the major classes must be taken for a letter grade. After completing the three required courses for the pre-major with a minimum grade-point average of 2.0, the student should petition to enter the major at the Department's Undergraduate Counseling Office in 6248 Bunche Hall. Transfer credit for the pre-major courses is subject to department approval. Transfer students should consult the undergraduate counselor before entering any courses for the major.

Preparation for the Major: In addition to the three courses required in the pre-major, three additional lower-division history courses are required as preparation for the major. These three lower-division requirements can be substituted with upper-division history courses. See the Undergraduate Advisor for a list of appropriate substitutes. NOTE: Students cannot take substitutes for any of they courses required for the pre-major (1A-1B-1C; 20, 21, 22; 97).

The Major

Required: In addition to the preparation for the major, history majors must take at least ten additional courses in history at the upper-division level. The following courses are required of all majors.

  1. Two courses in U.S. History
  2. Two courses in non-Western history from the same field (Asia, Africa, Latin America, Near and Middle East)
  3. Two courses in European History
  4. History 191

NOTE: The requirements for U.S., non-Western, and European history may be fulfilled with either lower or upper-division courses, but majors are required to take a minimum of ten upper-division courses in history.  Be advised that the 97s (or 96Ws) and 191s cannot be used to satisfy the U.S., European, or non-Western requirement.

All courses connected to the major must be taken for a letter grade (i.e., no major courses can be taken on a Pass/No Pass basis).

No more than two History 191's and/or 197's may be taken for letter grades and count towards the Major.

There is no language requirement for the major; however, students wishing to enter the honors program or planning to do graduate work in history are urged to pursue language study early in their undergraduate careers.