Planning and Declaring a Major


Planning a Major

Students interested in pursuing a major in history should familiarize themselves with the course levels within the Department’s curriculum.

  • History 105 – Introductory Seminars in History. Designed for first-year students and sophomores, these seminars focus on specific topics. Normally, four or five such seminars are offered each semester. These courses are writing intensive and fulfill one of the “written communication” requirements (F2i) under the Foundations Curriculum. Most of these courses also fulfill the “historical forces (F3) requirement.  Enrollment is limited to sixteen students.
  • History 200-level courses. These courses cover a broad chronological span or large geographical area and are introductory in nature. In addition to mastering course content, students will begin to learn to think historically through interpretive writing assignments that require them to draw from and engage with course material and readings. Students may be introduced to historiographical issues where appropriate. Such courses are open to all students and normally fulfill the “historical forces” (F3) requirement.  Enrollment is limited to twenty-four students.
  • History 300-level courses. These courses focus on narrow themes or topics. They devote more attention to historiography and writing than 200-level history courses. Assignments may include original research in primary sources, service learning, group projects, oral presentations, or other engagements outside of class. Prerequisite: Any 100- or 200-level history course. Enrollment is limited to eighteen students.
  • History 400-level seminars. These courses focus on historical interpretations of a specific topic or time period. Historiography plays a significant role in these seminars, and students are required to complete either a substantial research paper based mostly on primary sources or other significant writing that the professor deems appropriate. Normally, these seminars also include a significant oral presentation component.  Enrollment is limited to sixteen students. Prerequisite:  History 300 (formerly History 200) or permission of instructor.
  • All students majoring in history are required to take History 300 (formerly History 200): The Historian’s Craft. This course must be taken by the end of the sophomore year. All majors are also required to take History 485: Senior Seminar. This can be taken either during the fall or spring semester of the senior year.  For the complete list of required courses, see Requirements for the History Major. Students can also print out a copy of the the History Major Worksheet.

For additional information about course selection, see Career Planning.

Declaring a Major

  • All students majoring in history must, in consultation with an adviser, fill out the Declaration of Major Form. This needs to be done by the end of the sophomore year. 
  • Prior to obtaining the approving signature of the major adviser, the student is required to submit electronically to the adviser a Major Essay. This essay should include a reflection of the student’s goals in pursuing the  major; possible links between the major coursework and other courses taken or to be taken; what areas of the major field represent the student’s greatest interests; and what other areas of the major will help the student to become more well-rounded in the major field.