History Major

Goal 1: Build historical knowledge.

Outcome 1.1: Gather and contextualize information in order to convey both the particularity of past lives and the scale of human experience.

Outcome 1.2: Develop a body of historical knowledge with breadth of time and place—as well as depth of detail—in order to discern context.

Goal 2: Develop historical methods.

Outcome 2.1 Collect, sift, organize, question, synthesize, and interpret complex material.

Outcome 2.2 Practice ethical historical inquiry that makes use of and acknowledges sources from the past as well as the scholars who have interpreted that past.

Goal 3: Recognize the provisional nature of knowledge, the disciplinary preference for complexity, and the comfort with ambiguity that history requires.

Outcome 3.1: Describe past events from multiple perspectives.

Outcome 3.2: Identify, summarize, appraise, and synthesize other scholars’ historical arguments.

Goal 4: Apply historical methods to the historical record because of its incomplete, complex, and contradictory nature.

Outcome 4.1: Consider a variety of historical sources for credibility, position, perspective, and relevance.

Outcome 4.2:Evaluate historical arguments, explaining how they were constructed and might be improved.

Goal 5: Create historical arguments and narratives.

Outcome 5.1: Generate substantive, open-ended questions about the past and develop research strategies to answer them.

Outcome 5.2: Craft well-supported historical narratives, arguments, and reports of research findings in a variety of media for a variety of audiences.

Goal 6: Use historical perspective as central to active citizenship.

Outcome 6.1: Apply historical knowledge and historical thinking to contemporary issues.

Outcome 6.2: Develop positions that reflect deliberation, cooperation, and diverse perspectives.

The traditional undergraduate programs includes a minimum of 120 credits distributed across three components: A General Education component divided into Signature Courses, Variable Courses, and an Integrative Learning requirement; a Major and Divisional component; and Free Electives. In addition to course requirements as specified in each area, students must complete one certified course in each of the following overlay areas1:

  1. Diversity, Globalization or Non-western Area Studies,
  2. Ethics Intensive
  3. Writing Intensive, and
  4. Diversity

Overlay requirements are part of the 120 credit requirements

General Education Signature Courses

See this page about Signature courses

HIS 154Forging the Modern World3

General Education Variable Courses

See this page about Variable courses. Six to Nine courses

Social/Behavioral Sciences
Select any 100 level POL

General Education Overlays

See this page about Overlays.

General Education Integrative Learning Component

See this page about Integrative Learning Component. Three courses:

History majors can complete the Integrated Learning Component of the GEP by completing three courses from any one track shown below.  Courses taken as part of the History Department's ILC may count toward a minor or a second major.  They may not, however, count for credit elsewhere in the GEP.  Subject to departmental approval, and under their advisor’s guidance, students may petition to construct a different ILC.

  1. The Arts and Letters Track consists of any three courses that count toward majors in any of the following departments:
    • English
    • Art
    • Modern and Classical Languages
    • Music, Theater and Film
    • Philosophy
    • Theology and Religious Studies
  2. The Social Sciences Track consists of any three courses in any of the following majors:
    • Criminal Justice
    • Economic
    • Education
    • Political Science
    • Sociology
  3. The Multi-disciplinary Track consists of three non-history courses that are all part of the same multi-disciplinary College of Arts and Sciences Program, including:
    • Africana Studies
    • American Studies
    • Ancient Studies
    • Asian Studies
    • Faith Justice Studies
    • Gender Studies
    • International Relations
    • Latin American Studies
    • Medieval/Renaissance/Reformation Studies

GEP Free Electives

Ten courses

Major Requirements

Required Courses:
HIS 201U.S. History to 18773
HIS 202U.S. History since 18653
Ten approved History courses, HIS 203 or higher:30
Upper-division course in U.S. History
Colonial America
America in Age of Revolutions
The American Civil War
American Medicine Since 1865
Reform and Reaction in the US
Black History Since Civil War
US in the World since WWI
American Foreign Policy
Food in American History
Women in America
American Environmental History
Popular Culture in the US
Reacting to the Past
American Military History
Museums, Monuments, and Media
Readings in American Hist
Upper-division course in non-U.S. or non-European History
Historical Intro to Latin Am
Latin American-U.S. Migration
Historical Intro to Asian Civs
History of Modern Africa
Latin America and the U.S.
History of Modern Mexico
Social Protest in Latin Am His
Vietnam War in Film & History
War & Peace in Imperial Russia
Russia & USSR, 1881-1991
The Mongol Empire
Stalinism in the USSR
Genocide & Human Rights
African Ethnicities
Religion & Philosophy: Africa
Exchng & Conq in Mod E. Asia
Gndr, Ideolgy & Rev in E. Asia
Late Imperial China
Modern China
Japan Since 1600
Modern South Asia
History of Islam in Asia
Contemporary China
India & Pak: Colony to Nation
Special Topics in History
Readings in Latin Amer Hist
Readings in Asian Hist
Readings in European Hist
Readings in African History
Upper-division course in European History
AP European History Credit
Special Topics in History
Transfer History Credit
Sports & Spectacle Greece/Rome
Ancient Greece & Rome Cinema
Race & Ethnicity Greece/Rome
The Crusades
The Glory that was Greece
The Grandeur that Was Rome
The Rise of the West: 400-1000
Italian Renaissance 1100-1600
Reform/Rev in Europe 1500-1650
Early Modern Europe 1400-1800
Crime & Punishment in Europe
Eng: Danes to Tudors, 700-1485
Witches in Early Modern Europe
Transfer History Credit
Special Topics in History
Seminar in American History
Seminar in European History
Seminar in Eurasian History
Seminar in Latin Am His
Seminar in Asian History
Seminar in African History
Seminar Global Comparative His
Experiential Learning
Washington Leadership Seminar
Washington Internship
Washington Center Elective
Washington Internship I (Experiential Learning)
Washington Internship II
Philadelphia Area Internship
Honors Research & Ind Study I
Honors Research & Ind Study II
Transfer History Credit
Total Hours36

Honors Requirements

To receive Honors, students enroll in the senior year in HIS 493-HIS 494, two consecutive semesters of course-based research and study to produce a senior thesis. For students in the University Honors program, these two courses may be counted toward the eight course University Honors requirement.   If you are interested in completing the College Honors project during your senior year, please contact the department chair early in the spring semester of your junior year. Specific requirements for the College Honors thesis may be found in this catalog under the Honors Program.


Qualified history majors are eligible to participate in a variety of internships for academic credit with historical, cultural, educational, governmental, and other organizations.  See the HIS 411, HIS 412 and  HIS 491 course description below.

Teacher Certification for Secondary Schools
Dual Major in History and Secondary Education

History majors are eligible to complete a double major in History and Secondary Education.  In addition to the subject-specific content requirements for secondary school teacher certification that are met by completing the major, dual majors become candidates for the Grades 7-12 teaching certificate in Pennsylvania by completing a prescribed sequence of coursework, which includes the specific requirements for Accommodations and Adaptations for Diverse Learners in Inclusive Settings and Meeting the Needs of English Language Learners under PA §49.13(4)(i).

Below is the recommended program for students to be eligible for a PA Level I teaching certificate in Secondary Education.

EDU 150Schools in Society w/ Field3
EDU 157Adolescent Development w/Field3
EDU 246Language and Culture w/ Field3
EDU 247Literacy in Cont Areas w/Field3
SPE 205Inclusive Classrooms w/ Field3
SPE 160Intro to Special Education3
EDU 230Eval: Secondary Grades 7-123
EDU 412Instr Techniq Soc St w/Field3
EDU 491Secondary Student Teaching12

Note: Candidates for Secondary School Teacher Certification must also complete two courses in Mathematics.  One course is satisfied by the Mathematics GEP requirement. For History majors, the second Mathematics courses is taken as a free elective. It is recommended that MAT 118 be taken.

Also note that HIS/EDU double majors must take POL 111 as their POL 1** course.

Students seeking the double major are urged to declare their intentions as early as possible in their undergraduate careers and must register with the Teacher Education Department, which will guide candidates through their required Teacher Education courses and also assist students through the certification requirements of the Pennsylvania Department of Education. Students must have an overall Grade Point Average (GPA) of 3.0 or higher to be accepted into the teacher certification program and must have an overall GPA of 3.0 as one of the requirements to obtain teacher certification. See the Teacher Education Department section of the Catalog for more information.