History Major

Majors must take a minimum of 10 courses and may take a maximum of 14 courses. Advanced Placement credits do not count toward that total.

First-year students interested in majoring in History are encouraged to take Montserrat courses taught by members of the department. A sequence of two such Montserrat courses counts as one course toward the History major. First-year students are also encouraged to enroll in 100-level History courses. Students should take at least one college-level history course prior to enrolling in HIST 200 The Historian's Craft, which is ordinarily taken in the second year.

Department Advanced Placement Policy

As described above, students with AP credit in history earn placement in the history curriculum but AP credit does not count toward the number of courses required for the major. Students in the Class of 2018 with Advanced Placement scores of 4 or 5 in History may qualify to enroll in 200-level courses during their first year.


  • At least five courses for the major must be numbered 201 or higher, including two courses numbered 300 or higher.
  • All majors are required to take HIST 200 The Historian's Craft. This course is normally taken in the sophomore year, after the student has completed at least one college-level history course; no seniors will be admitted to it. Historian’s Craft is a prerequisite for all advanced courses at the 300 or 400 level. Non-majors without Historian’s Craft must receive permission from the instructor to enroll in advanced courses.
  • All majors must take at least two Pre-Industrial/Pre-Modern courses. (A list of Pre-Industrial/Pre-Modern courses is available online and can be accessed from the department’s home page; copies are also available in the Department office.)
  • Global Themes: All majors must select one of the following six themes within the major:
    1. Colonialism and Empire;
    2. Gender in Public and Private Life;
    3. Knowledge and Belief;
    4. Race and Ethnicity;
    5. Resistance, Revolution and Reaction;
    6. War and Memory.
      With the assistance of a faculty advisor in the department, each student submits a rationale and a course plan during the fall semester of the junior year. The course plan must include four courses that can be clustered within the chosen theme. One of these four courses may be at the 100 level; one of these four must be at the 300 or 400 level. The theme must incorporate more than one geographic area. The Historian’s Craft course cannot be included in one’s global theme. (A list of courses that address each of these themes is available online and can be accessed from the department’s home page; copies are also available in the Department office.)
  • All majors must complete a Capstone Project. This project must be completed during the senior year, in the student’s Global Themes, within a 300- or 400- level course. The Capstone Project is a summative research project of significant length. The specific nature of the Capstone Project is at the discretion of the instructor of the course.
  • Fourth-year majors will not be admitted to 100-level courses, except with special permission from the Department Chair.
  • Transfer students and students who study away may receive credit toward the major for up to four history courses if they are away for a year or up to two history courses if they are away for a semester. Courses taken elsewhere must be approved by the History department for credit toward the major.