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Home » Undergraduate College » Admission » History » Majors & Minors » Major in History

The major in history is composed of 40 semester hours of history courses. The courses are integrated into the major in such a way as to provide academic work in a range of periods, geographical areas, and cultural contexts.

Most of the courses at the 100- and 200-level may be taken without prerequisites; however, the department does recommend a sequence that begins with relatively introductory courses and progresses toward more specialized courses. Whatever the particular combination, the net effect as determined by the department shall be that the spirit of distribution will be upheld so that a student has some breadth as well as depth in her course of study. While the particular combinations of courses are individualized, the department expects that students will be exposed to the study of the Americas, Europe, Africa, Asia, and other areas of the world.

Category I: Introductory Level

Students considering a major in history are advised to complete Category I by the end of their sophomore year. History majors who have received a grade of four or five on the advanced placement exam in history may opt to take only two introductory courses.

Choose any three courses from the following:

Category II: Specialization

Three courses with a specific geographical (such as Asia, Europe, or the U.S.) or thematic (such as race or gender) focus. One course in Category I may count in Category II. 

The new specialization in public history includes five of the following, with HIST 253 as the first course:

  • HIST 205 Environmental History
  • HIST 252 History and Material Culture
  • HIST 253 Boston's Past: Introduction to Public History
  • HIST 254 History through Novels and Films
  • HIST 260 Interpreting the Past: The Craft of History
  • HIST 335 Sites of History: Research Seminar in Public History
  • HIST 370 Internship in Public History Site

Category III: Breadth

Three courses covering required topics: one course with a focus on race and ethnicity history (AST 240, HIST 210, HIST 211, HIST 213, HIST 217, HIST 231, HIST 237, HIST 240), one course in early or pre-modern history (HIST 202, HIST 222, HIST 223, HIST 224, HIST 225, HIST 235, HIST 240, HIST 241, HIST 371), and one course in historical gender studies (HIST 204, HIST 207, HIST 215, HIST 216, HIST 219, HIST 230, HIST 360, WGST 204).

Category IV: Methods

All majors must take HIST 260: Interpreting the Past, preferably in their junior year. By petition, students in the accelerated BA/MA History program may count HIST 397 to fulfill the Methods requirement for the undergraduate major.

Category V: Advanced Work

One history course above the 350—level. An independent study course from another department may be counted towards this requirement. The course must involve advanced work in history, the student must petition for the course to count towards the history requirement, and the history faculty must approve the petition by a majority vote.

Majors must declare how they plan to fulfill the independent learning requirement before the end of their junior year.