History Major

Our major allows you to be a Master of Space and Time as our courses take you around the world across different time periods. Further, it is structured so that you have a hand in how you complete your study of history.

As a History Major, you will have the opportunity to explore the past through the following 10 courses plus Senior Capstone:

  • two 100 level courses
  • three 200 level courses (1 American, 1 European, 1 Non-Western)
  • four 300 level courses (1 American, 1 European, 2 Electives)
  • HIST 285 – Thinking Historically
  • HIST 385 – Interpretations of History and Historiography

We have designed the major so that each level of course work provides the foundation and experience for the next. Here is the typical map of what the major looks like:

Two 100 level courses

These courses are designed to introduce you to the study of history through topical courses and/or an exploration of Western Civilization. You can choose any two 100 levels to complete during your freshman and sophomore years.

Three 200 level courses plus HIST 285

These courses give you the opportunity to explore different nations and time periods more deeply. You will examine primary and secondary sources, engage in class discussion and continue developing your critical thinking and analytical writing skills.

You will complete one course of your choice from each regional distribution – the United States, Europe and Non-Western. These typically should be completed in the sophomore and junior years.

As a sophomore (junior if a transfer) you will take HIST 285 – Thinking Historically, a course that examines such questions as ‘what is history?’, ‘why is history important?’, ‘what does it mean to be a historian?’.

Four 300 level courses

These upper-level courses are topical in nature allowing you to delve more deeply into a historical era or theme. At this level you will complete one course each in American and European history and a further two courses as electives.

All of these courses give you the opportunity to apply the skills that you have been developing in your 100 and 200 level courses. Typically these courses are not started until the second semester of your sophomore year with the majority being completed in your junior and senior year.

These courses center on student discussion and typically require some form of research – a paper or a group project, for examples.

You also have the opportunity to complete an internship where you can apply your skills as an apprentice historian in museums and other venues.

Additionally, you may pursue your own research project under the guidance of one of our faculty members as a semester-long independent study.

Senior Capstone

In the fall of your senior year, all of the history majors take HIST 385 – Interpretations of History and Historiography, a course that will explore the discipline of history – its history, its practice and its impact.


With the completion of the major, you will have a critical understanding of the essential features of the western tradition, a discriminating knowledge of cultures different than their own, and the communication and thinking skills necessary for both a career and full participation as citizens.