The departmental offerings are divided into the following fields: Africa, East Asia, Europe, Latin America, South Asia, and the United States. Students may, with departmental approval, define fields that differ from those specified above.
The major consists of ten courses, distributed as follows:
1. A primary field of concentration, selected from the above list, in which four or more courses are taken. No more than five courses in any region will count toward the major. At least one of the courses in the field of concentration must be a 300-level seminar or a 400-level advanced independent study taken at Bowdoin.
2. One intermediate seminar in any field of history, to be taken at Bowdoin, preferably by the end of the sophomore year. It is recommended that students complete at least one 200 level course prior to taking an intermediate seminar.
3. At least three courses taken from two of the following fields: Africa, East Asia, Latin America, or South Asia.
4. One pre-modern course.
5. No more than two courses numbered below 200 can be counted toward the major; these must be taken prior to the junior year. No more than one such course can count toward the field of concentration.
6. Students must obtain a minimum course grade of C- to receive credit toward the major.
7. Students may not count Credit/Fail courses toward the major.
8. Students participating in off-campus study may count no more than one history course per semester toward the history major. In exceptional cases, students may petition to receive credit for more than one course per semester toward the history major. In all cases, a maximum of three history courses taken away from Bowdoin can count toward the history major, but no more than two can count toward the field of concentration.
The program chosen to meet the requirements for the major in history must be approved by a departmental advisor. Before electing to major in history, a student should have completed or have in progress at least two college-level courses in history. In consultation with the departmental advisor, a student should plan a program that begins at either the introductory or the intermediate level and progresses to the advanced level.
With departmental approval, a student may receive credit toward the history major for college-level work in history at other institutions. This work may represent fields other than those that are available at Bowdoin. In the sophomore year, a student who anticipates study away from Bowdoin should discuss with the departmental advisor a plan for the history major that includes work at Bowdoin and elsewhere.
Honors: All history majors seeking departmental honors will enroll in at least one semester of the Honors Program (Hist 451, 452). Its primary requirement is the research and writing of the honors thesis. To be eligible to register for Honors, a student must have the equivalent of a B+ average in courses taken in the department and the approval of a thesis advisor.
Languages: History majors are encouraged to develop competence in one or more foreign languages and to use this competence in their historical reading and research. Knowledge of a foreign language is particularly important for students planning graduate work.
AP Credits: Students who received a 4 or higher on an AP history exam must complete a history course with a minimum grade of B in order to receive a college credit for the exam. AP credits do not count towards the history major or any college requirements; credits from AP exams only count towards total credits needed for graduation. If a student has scores for more than one AP history exam, only 1 total credit will be awarded. See the registrar's page for more information.
The minor consists of five courses. Three courses are to be taken in one field of concentration and two in a subsidiary field; both fields should be chosen from the list specified by the department for a major.
Students participating in off-campus study may count no more than one history course per semester toward the history minor. Students may not count Credit/D/Fail courses toward the minor. This must be approved by a departmental advisor.