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Major in History

*For requirements for majors who declared before spring 2024, click here.

The History Department requires all its majors to choose a concentration within the major. Since History as a discipline is diverse and our students come to it with varied expectations, the student's concentration may aim at a broad exposure to history--General Studies in History--or at deeper immersion in one of (at present) three geographically based or three thematically focused approaches. The geographic concentrations are: United States, Europe, and Africa, Asia, & Latin America. The three thematic concentrations are: Women, Gender, and Sexuality; Empires, Nations, and Citizenship; and Law, Economics & Human Rights. (See "Concentrations" descriptions below).


with area distribution for concentration requirements

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with area distribution for concentration requirements

Download PDF 



  • A student must complete 11 courses ( a minimum of 35 credit hours), six courses of which must be at or above the 300-level. Two of the eleven courses required for the history major must be 400-level colloquia which meet the College post-freshmen writing GER. Normally, one colloquium will be taken in the junior year, the other in the senior year. Graduate seminar courses (500-level) may be used to fulfill the major colloquia requirement but do not meet College post-freshmen writing requirements, as colloquia normally do.
  • Two research papers are required of all history majors. These papers are written in the 400-level colloquia and are normally sixteen to twenty-four pages in length.To fulfill the history major research paper requirement, the paper must attain a minimum grade of C.
  • Completion of the major requires a minimum of a C average in history courses counted towards the major.
  • The S/U option may not be exercised in any course counted for the major.
  • Special programs have been developed for students who would like to take joint majors in history and art history, history and classics, history and English, and history and religion. Joint major information may be obtained from the Department office.

  • Each student must choose a concentration within the major upon declaration of the history major.
  • For geographic and thematic concentrations, students must take at least five courses within the concentration, two of which may be a 200-level course if listed as pertinent, while the other three must be at or above the 300-level, including one colloquium (400-level course).
  • For the General Studies concentration, students must take five courses, one each in the five primary geographic and chronological fields. At least three of the courses must be at or above the 300-level.
  • One of the major's two research papers must be done within the concentration.

  • All history majors are required to demonstrate chronological breadth by taking at least one course in early history and one in modern history within their chosen concentration.
  • History majors with geographic concentrations are also required to take at least two history courses outside their concentration and in separate geographic areas. The two courses outside the concentration may be at any level but students should keep in mind that they may only take a total of five (5) courses below the 300-level for major credit (this includes AP and IB credits).
  • Majors with thematic concentrations must explore at least two geographic areas within the concentration. General Studies majors automatically satisfy the geographic breadth requirement.

  • History majors may apply a maximum of three (3) study abroad courses towards a history major.

Concentrations for History Majors

One course each (for a total of five) in: U.S. History before 1860; U.S. History after 1860; European History before 1750; European History after 1750; and Africa, Asia, and Latin America.

United States History

This concentration permits majors to study American history in depth, by taking more courses offered by our faculty's U.S. specialists. Students take advanced courses on pre-Civil War history as well as post-1860 America, enabling them to develop a fuller sense of the contours of the nation's history.

European History

This concentration offers students the opportunity to study the transformative social, cultural, and political experiences of European states, societies, and civilizations from ancient Greece and Rome, through the medieval, Renaissance, and early modern periods, to the modern age of revolution, colonialism, total war, and European Union.

Africa, Asia, and Latin America

This concentration allows students to focus on the histories of Latin America, Asia, Africa, and the Middle East through a rich variety of classes offered by our area specialists. Topics of interest include: the rise and fall of empires and civilizations, European colonialism, anti-colonial movements, inter-ethnic and sectarian politics, and globalization.

Women, Gender, and Sexuality

This concentration allows students to focus on the history of women, the social construction of masculinity and femininity, and the making of sexual identities across different societies and eras. Topics include: marriage and the family, definitions of male and female roles by religious institutions and the state, histories of feminism, and changes in notions of sexuality over time.

Empires, Nations, and Citizenship

This concentration lets students explore the social, cultural, and political tensions that have historically shaped relations between societies, and relations within the same societies. Topics include: the rise and fall of empires, from ancient to modern; the growth of nation-states and of related internal or international conflicts; and the problems of liberty, equality, and diversity that have made questions of citizenship so contested.

Law, Economics, and Human Rights

This concentration allows students to examine issues of law, economics, and human rights in historical contexts from ancient to modern periods. Topics include: race and slavery; the origins of capitalism, industrialism, colonialism, and imperialism; diplomatic history; gender regimes; family history; legal and constitutional history; environmental history; medical history; the Holocaust; totalitarianism; and civil rights history.

AP & IB Credits

History majors may use a maximum of six (6) hours of Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB) history credit towards a history major. AP and IB credit cannot be used to satisfy a major distribution area requirement; these credits can be used to satisfy major credit hours only.

A copy of this information in pamphlet form is available in the History Department office, or you can download it here as a .PDF file.