Curriculum

Major Curriculum

The History Workshop (HIST 33000)

The Major in History begins with the History Workshop (HIST 33000), an introductory seminar in which new majors learn why and how historians study the past. They also begin the process of becoming historians themselves by analyzing primary sources, developing original historical narratives, and debating perspectives and conclusions through regular discussion with their peers. Throughout the semester, they meet members of the history faculty and learn about the research, internship, and service opportunities available to History majors at the University.

The History Workshop provides new students with the foundational skills and tools necessary to succeed in the major; it therefore should be taken as soon as a student has declared the major (and must be taken before the senior year).

Breadth Areas

To gain breadth of historical knowledge, the history major will also take a variety of courses emphasizing different geographical areas, chronological periods, and thematic approaches to studying the past. Note that students must take one regular history course from four of the following six areas (with one having substantial pre-modern material, defined as pre-1500 on the timeline):

  • Africa/Asia/Middle East
  • Ancient/Medieval Europe
  • Modern Europe
  • Latin America
  • United States
  • Special (includes courses that do not address any of the five areas above)

The Concentration

The heart of the undergraduate history major is the concentration, because each major is empowered to select a specialization tailored to her or his geographic, chronological, and topical interests. In consultation with their history advisor, each major identifies a concentration bounded by place, time, and/or theme and seeks three courses from among the regular Department offerings to fulfill that concentration. Students should declare a concentration with their history advisor no later than the spring of the junior year; majors are encouraged to think creatively when determining their concentration.

In addition to standard geographic fields such as US history, modern Europe, Asia, or the Middle East, majors may also want to consider topical fields such as religious history, labor history, military history, etc. Majors may also consider limiting their concentration by time period, such as the US in the Civil War Era, 20th-Century Europe, or the global 1960s. To facilitate the fulfillment of unique concentrations, history advisors can approve a course taken in other programs (such as Economics, Sociology, English, Theology, etc.) to count as one of the three concentration courses. For example, a major concentrating in the US Civil Rights Movement might benefit from a social movement theory course offered through Sociology. The primary goal is that each student identifies a concentration of interest and develops that interest with a set of challenging and connected courses.

The Department Seminar

The Department Seminar is the capstone of the Major in History, the course where students pursue a research topic of their own choosing, familiarize themselves with the historical literature, seek out a set of primary sources for analysis, and develop an original argument that contributes to the knowledge of the particular historical field within which they are writing. The course is built around the production of a 25-page research paper, which should represent the culmination of the student's development as a young thinker and scholar of history.

The Department offers a variety of topics each semester; students are encouraged to register for a Department Seminar that meshes well with their concentration, allowing them to build upon their knowledge and pursue research on a topic that highly interests them. There is no set semester when majors should take the Department Seminar, but since these are not introductory courses and assume a level of familiarity with the topic as well as the nature and methods of historical inquiry, most majors will take this course during the senior year.


Minor Curriculum

The History Workshop (HIST 33000)

The History Workshop is the Department’s introduction to the discipline of History at the University level. The course teaches students to think like historians—to weigh historical evidence, evaluate historical arguments, and understand the nature of historical debate.

Electives

Students may take any major-level courses in History to fulfill their four-course elective component. One of the four electives must contain a research component, and students may fulfill the research requirement by taking a Departmental Seminar (a class with a 43XXX number) or by taking another regular Department offering that includes a research paper.

No more than one elective course may be taken abroad, and no more than one course may be taken at the 10000 level, including History University Seminars.