Notes to History Majors

Notes to History Majors

While the Department aims to make our courses available to as many students as possible, we cannot guarantee individuals access to particular courses.  If you prove unable to register for a desired course via InsideND, you may make a special request for an exemption by emailing  In any request for an exemption, please note your class year and reason for wanting the course (breadth requirement, concentration course, elective, etc.).  Priority is always given to graduating seniors and those with compelling intellectual cases, especially concentration area requests.

History majors may count no more than two lower-level courses toward the major (those that begin with a 1 or a 2).  AP/IB credit does not count toward the major, and beginning with the Class of 2018, the university will no longer accept AP/IB history credits toward the university history requirement (or for any credit whatsoever).

The History Workshop, HIST 33000, a required course for all majors, is intended as a “gateway” course into the major, so all majors should take this course as soon as possible, ideally the semester following the declaration of the major.  With more than one section of this course available, majors should build their schedule around the Workshop, rather than the other way around.  Majors cannot complete the History Workshop after the junior year.

A History major should discuss potential concentration areas with her faculty advisor each semester, and can declare an approved concentration area at any time – but this should be done by the end of the junior year at the absolute latest.

Majors must complete a research capstone experience in one of two ways:  a 25-page research paper in a semester-based course, or a year-long senior honors thesis under the direction of a history faculty member.  Most majors will complete the former; the latter requires participation in the History Honors Program (see the History Department website for information on this).  The Department Seminar (HIST 43XXX) is the standard capstone research course, and it should be taken once a major has declared a concentration and can build upon the knowledge acquired in regular coursework.  Majors should consult the Department Seminars offered each semester and consult with their advisor to choose the most appropriate semester and course to fulfill this requirement.