Students majoring in History have the opportunity to develop either a thematic or a geographical concentration. Geographical regions with strong faculty support include North America, Europe, Latin America, Asia/Middle East, and Africa. A wide variety of thematic concentrations are possible; for detailed information, consult the department's Thematic Concentrations page.

Courses appropriate for prospective majors

First-Year students with good high school preparation in American or European history should consider enrolling in a 200-level course. However, because the First-Year program should seek to develop skills and to get a feel for what history at the college level is like, a 100-level survey course is strongly recommended for most First-Year students.

HIST 105, Medieval Europe
HIST 106, Early Modern Europe to 1799 
HIST 107, Modern Europe, 1789-2000
HIST 117, American History to 1877
HIST 118, American History since 1877
HIST 119, South Asia: India and Pakistan
HIST 120, East Asia: China and Japan
HIST 121, Middle East to 1750
HIST 122, Middle East since 1750
HIST 130, Latin American History I
HIST 131, Latin American History II
HIST 150, History of Science
HIST 151, History of the Environment

HIST 170, African Civilizations to 1850

HIST 171, African History since 1800

HIST 206, American Environmental History
HIST 211, Topics in American History
HIST 213, Topics in European History
HIST 215, Topics in Comparative History
HIST 222, Feudal Europe
HIST 223, Renaissance Europe
HIST 231, Modern France
HIST 247, Early American History
HIST 253, Autocracy, Uprisings, and Daily Life in Medieval and Imperial Russia
HIST 254, Revolution, War, and Daily Life in Modern Russia
HIST 257, European Intellectual History
HIST 278, European Women’s History
HIST 279, The History of Film
HIST 282, Diplomatic History of the United States
HIST 286, New Nation
HIST 288, Civil War-Reconstruction

Students intending to major in History should take HIST 204 no later than the second year. Students planning to study abroad for the year are encouraged to take HIST 204 their third semester. This course, which has a prerequisite of one completed course in History, is intended to provide tools – library research techniques, analysis of primary materials, and writing of papers – that the History student will find helpful throughout his or her college career.

Test scores and credits that may affect course selection 
Advanced Placement: Credit is awarded automatically for Advanced Placement examinations in European, US, or World History with scores of 4 or 5.  Although AP and IB courses may result in college credit, they do not count toward the history major.  

For course descriptions and requirements for the major, refer to the Academic Bulletin: History.

Courses that fulfill distribution requirements

Social Sciences (Division II):
Any one of the courses in history.

Global Diversity: 
HIST 119, South Asia: India and Pakistan
HIST 120, History of East Asia from Ancient Times to the Present
HIST 121, Middle East to 1750
HIST 122, Middle East since 1750
HIST 130, Latin American History I
HIST 215 (if specific topic is appropriate), Topics in Comparative History
HIST 247, Early American History
HIST 259, Islam
HIST 170, African History from Earliest Times to c. 1850
HIST 171, African History since 1800
HIST 272, The Atlantic Slave Trade
HIST 274, Rise and Fall of Apartheid
HIST 275, The Rise of Modern China
HIST 315 (if specific topic is appropriate), Studies in Comparative History
HIST 373, Ecological History of Africa
HIST 374, African Women's History

U.S. Diversity:
HIST 117, American History 1607 to 1877
HIST 118, American History 1877 to the Present
HIST 211 (if specific topic is appropriate), Topics in American History
HIST 248, The American Revolution
HIST 273, African Americans Since Slavery
HIST 276, Outsiders in America
HIST 286, New Nation
HIST 288, Civil War - Reconstruction
HIST 311 (if specific topic is appropriate), Studies in American History
HIST 388, African-American History
HIST 389, Native Peoples of Eastern North America

Suggested curricular flow through the major

The History major is a particularly flexible major. Students should take the methods sequence in order (204, a 300-level course and 404), but all other courses can be done in any order. Many history majors do a study-abroad program either for one semester or two – something the department supports. Most study-abroad programs offer history courses making this easier.

The guidelines are written for the entering student who thinks they might major in history. Rather than specify the courses that a student “must” have in a given semester, the following are general guidelines regarding types of courses that we suggest taking each year.

First Year 
One or two 100-level history courses or upper-level courses with good foundations from successful AP or IB coursework

Sophomore Year 
204, and one or two additional history courses

Junior Year 
A 300-level and two or three other history courses

Senior Year 
404 and remaining upper level history courses

NOTE: Students should plan their major in consultation with their advisors. 


Honors in the major require a minimum of two courses in independent research. Project proposals must be formulated and approved in the second semester of the junior year. Detailed guidelines are available on the honors page. The project should be discussed with the department chair and faculty advisor. An oral examination is conducted by the department on papers judged to have honors quality.


Contact the Internship Office and/or an individual member of the History Department for information. Internships are ordinarily scheduled in the junior or senior years. Summer internships, perhaps at "living history" or museum sites, are also encouraged.

Opportunities for off-campus study

The Department encourages participation in the many off-campus options. The Dickinson programs in Bologna, Italy and Norwich, England are particularly attractive options for History majors.

Additional Remarks

Preparation for graduate study: Students contemplating graduate work in History should consult members of the department concerning foreign language requirements and supporting courses in the social sciences and humanities.

Majors Committee: This body plays an active and significant role in the work of the history department. Committee members help organize and promote a wide variety of departmental programs and events. They also meet with and help to evaluate job candidates, and gather information and advise the department when faculty are being considered for contract renewal, tenure, and promotion. 

Careers: Many History majors continue their education, sometimes in law but also urban studies, history, museums and libraries, social services, and business. Others enter government service, management trainee programs, secondary education, and journalism.