Requirements for students matriculating in Fall 2011 and after


You must submit the Planning Your History Major form to the History Department to declare your major or minor. This is separate from the major/minor declaration form required by the registrar's office.


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History offers courses in the following fields of study: Africa, East Asia, Europe, Latin America, South Asia, the United States, Atlantic Worlds, and Colonial Worlds.  “Multi-field” courses fall into more than one of these fields of study.

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 a faculty advisor in the department, a student should plan a program that begins at either the introductory or the intermediate level and progresses to the advanced level.

The major consists of ten courses, with the following stipulations:

1. No more than two courses below the 2000 level may count toward the major, and these must be taken prior to the junior year.

2. No more than six courses in a single field of study. A multi-field course may count toward any one of its designated fields, but a single course may not count toward more than one field of study.

3. Non-Euro/U.S. courses: Four non-Euro/U.S. courses. These courses are designated by professors and noted in the course catalog.

4. Pre-modern course: One pre-modern course. These courses are designated by professors and noted in the course catalog.

5. Upper-level seminars: Three courses above the level of  intermediate lecture courses. This includes intermediate seminars (2500-2999), advanced research seminars (3000s), advanced independent studies, or honors (4000s). Upper-level seminars must be taken in at least two fields of study.

6. Capstone: One of the three upper-level seminars must be a 3000-level capstone seminar. In consultation with a faculty advisor, a major may fulfill this requirement with an honors project. Students are encouraged to take at least two prior courses in the field or fields in which the capstone is taught.

Grades: Students must obtain a minimum course grade of C- to receive credit toward the major. Students may not count Credit/D/Fail courses toward the major.

Honors: All history majors seeking departmental honors will enroll in at least one semester of the Honors Program (History 4050-4079). 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.

Requirements for the Minor in History

The minor consists of five courses with the following stipulations:

1. A maximum of one course taken under the 2000 level (must be taken prior to junior year).

2. A maximum of one course taken at another institution (may not count as an intermediate seminar or higher).

3. One course must be taken at the level of intermediate seminar or higher (course must be taken at Bowdoin).

4. One course must be non-Euro/U.S.

5. Courses that will count toward the minor must be taken on a graded basis (not Credit/D/Fail).