Planning Your Major and Minor

Some helpful guidelines for students looking to major or minor in history.
Suggested Timeline:

Although students' experiences and programs of study in the major vary, the curriculum is designed to challenge students with increasingly complex historical content, concepts, and methodology. As students progress through the major, they are encouraged to take the initiative in their own explorations. Why major or minor in history?

First Year:

In the first year, students begin to explore courses in the curriculum. First-year seminars, 1000-level introductory courses, and 2000-level lecture courses are all open to first years; the first-year seminar is especially encouraged. Students should take courses in multiple regions, especially those that were unavailable to them in their high schools. They should also study with several professors and begin to consider who might serve as their advisor.

Sophomore Year:

Potential majors may take a 1000-level introductory course. They are encouraged to take 2000-level lecture courses in a variety of fields and to consider the 2000-level intermediate seminar on a topic of interest. Sophomore year is an excellent time to identify which departmental requirements might require planning to fulfill (one pre-modern course, four courses in African, East Asian, Latin American, or South Asian history) and begin to take these courses.

During the spring semester, students will declare their majors; students may consult the history department's page on the value of a history major. They should contact their history advisors early in the semester to discuss their major programs. Students planning to study abroad should approach potential advisors even earlier and meet in the late fall or early spring to ensure that they will be able to complete the major. Those planning to be away for their entire junior year should take an intermediate seminar. 

Junior Year:

Students should complete the intermediate seminar requirement by the end of junior year. They are also encouraged to have met many of the department's requirements for pre-modern and non-Euro/US courses. Students in their junior year are well positioned to approach a professor about an independent study or honors project on a topic of interest. They may take a 3000-level advanced seminar, especially if they have plans to pursue an honors project or if it fits their interests well, because only one or two of these courses is offered in each region a year. Students intending to do an honors project should begin to speak with their advisor as early as possible in the spring semester to discuss the process, begin to find a topic, and lay out a plan for summer research.

Senior Year:

In addition to completing the range of courses necessary to fulfill the requirements for the major, senior students are strongly encouraged to pursue their own research projects through 3000-level advanced seminars, independent studies, or an honors project. Students should plan independent work with their advisors or with another member of the department well in advance of the start of the semester. At the close of senior year, departmental prizes are awarded. The departmental "Why Major or Minor in History" page has links to guides to potential careers for history majors.

Required Forms for Scheduling:

Once you major or minor in history, please complete the history major and minor course planning forms. If you are considering majoring or minoring, it is useful to look at them even if you are unable to officially declare for several months in order to see what sort of classes you might need to take. When it is time to declare, save a copy on your computer, fill it out, and email it to your advisor. Your advisor will approve the form, sign it, and send it directly to the department.