As a field of study, History provides students with many of the necessary skills for a productive professional career and an intellectually fulfilling life. Toward these ends, the History major attempts to provide students with the ability to think and read critically and analytically, to form sound opinions and support them with logical arguments based on documentary evidence, to communicate ideas effectively, and to conduct historical research. The History major further attempts to provide students with a body of historical knowledge that will enable them to understand contemporary events of local, national, and global importance, as well as to understand and appreciate the various cultures and civilizations that make up the world community. Above all, the History major helps to provide students with the means for lifelong learning.
By combining the development of specific skills with the acquisition of a body of historical knowledge, the History major prepares students for successful careers in primary and secondary education (history and social studies), business and industry, and governmental service. The major also prepares students for graduate study in history, law, and other academic and professional fields.
Each student must demonstrate proficiency in a language other than English as specified by the Language Requirement for Students with Majors in the School of Arts and Humanities.
Integrative Studies Requirements
40 credits minimum
One IHHIST course completed to fulfill major requirements may also count toward fulfillment of Integrative Studies in Humanities.
HIST 200, Reading and Writing in History, is required. Students are encouraged to take History 200 as early as possible in order to facilitate their historical analytical skills particularly for use in upper level courses.
The major also requires at least six upper-level courses (300- or 400-level), two of which must be a section of 490 (Advanced Special Topics) and a section HIST 495 (Research Seminars where students work on research projects).
Students are required to take at least two courses in Latin American, African, Asian and/or Native American History. At least one of the two courses must be an upper-level course.
- Self-Designed Major (in which students pursue a topic of particular interest to them that is approved by their history faculty adviser)
- War, Peace, and Society (History courses designated WPS)
- Gender, Race and Class (History courses designated GRC)
- Ideas and Beliefs (History courses designated IB)
- Media and Popular Culture (History courses designated MPC)
Note that numerous history courses have more than one designation.
Specializations will consist of 20 credits (5 courses). Four of these five courses (16 credits) must be upper-level courses and at least one of those upper level courses must be at the 400-level.
Students of History are strongly advised to acquire reading proficiency in at least one foreign language. Reading knowledge of at least one foreign language is essential for all students who intend to apply to graduate school.
Select courses to reach a total of 120 credits for the degree.
History Honors Program
Motivated history majors may have the opportunity to participate in an advanced program of study concentrating on professional research and writing skills. Students who meet the program requirements and high disciplinary standards as determined by the faculty of the History Department will graduate with Honors in History. The program will require students to engage in an intensive study of relevant primary and scholarly secondary sources, formulate an original argument, and defend it in a substantial thesis project. Students who participate in the History Honors Program must complete all requirements for the History major, including a sequence of Honors Independent Studies over the course of two semesters, beginning the first semester of their senior year. These courses may be applied for course credit within the History major.
Admission to the Honors Program will be based on the following criteria:
- Students must have a minimum 3.2 GPA overall and a minimum 3.5 GPA in the major.
- Prior to the end of their junior year, students will submit writing samples, which will be evaluated by the department as a whole; approval of the writing sample will be based on criteria agreed on by the members of the department.
- Students must have a thesis proposal approved by the members of their Honors committee before the end of the schedule adjustment period during the first semester of their senior year. Each student's honors committee will be composed of three members - one primary and two secondary advisors. The precise composition of the committee will be agreed on by the student and faculty members.
Participation in the History Honors Program will culminate in an oral defense of the Honors thesis, which will be adjudicated by the student's committee members. Following the defense, committee members will meet privately to determine the outcome of the defense. Members can choose between three outcomes: pass with honors, pass with no honors, fail.
Students whose defense of their Honors theses pass with honors, and who have maintained a minimum major GPA of 3.5 and a minimum overall GPA of 3.2, will graduate with Honors in History.
Students taking part in the program will take two Honors designated courses in sequence, starting the first semester of their senior year. Honors students will be required to take HIST 498 Honors Thesis Research (4 credits) first semester senior year and conclude with HIST 498 Honors Thesis Writing (4 credits) during the second semester of their senior year. These classes will be conducted under the current program rubric as Independent Studies. In HIST 498 Honors Thesis Research, students will conduct intensive research into their approved topic, being directed by and reporting progress to their Honors Committee, in a form deemed suitable by the members of the committee (e.g., bibliographical essays, annotated bibliography, scholarly book reviews, etc.). In HIST 498 Honors Thesis Writing, students will compose an honors thesis, under the supervision of their Honors Committee, which will be evaluated in accord with professional scholarly standards. HIST 498 Honors Thesis Writing will culminate, as explained above, in an oral defense adjudicated by the members of their Honors Committee. Both HIST 498 Honors Thesis Research and HIST 498 Honors Thesis Writing will receive letter grades.
Under certain circumstances, to be determined by the department, students can apply to the History Honors Program one semester early in order to complete the sequence of required courses before the final semester of their senior year.