History is a discipline at the core of the liberal arts tradition. It seeks to preserve, extend, and reevaluate our study of the past, and to connect it with the present. Students who specialize in History are typically those who plan to teach, practice law, or enter government service; but History students also go into business, librarianship, foundation work, management of local history projects, and fundraising. Some history alumni have become successful writers.
General Information for Undergraduate Students
In addition to the history undergraduate program, the following are offered to undergraduate students:
- Oral History Program
- Minors offered by the History Department (General Minor in History, Minor in Jewish Studies, Minor in Latin American Studies, Minor in Middle Eastern Studies)
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Please print and complete the undergraduate worksheet and bring it with you when you meet with your advisor. The worksheets are in *pdf format. If you need Adobe Reader, you may download it here. If you are using a Mac, please make sure to open the document with Adobe Reader.
- Worksheet for students declaring History as a major starting from Fall 2006
- Worksheet for students declaring History as a major starting from Spring 2006
- Worksheet for students declaring History as a major between Fall 2003 and Fall 2005
- Worksheet for students who declared History as a major between Fall 2001 to Summer 2003
If you declared History as a major before Fall 2001, you may pick up the worksheet that corresponds to your program year from the Department Office at FO2-106 (next to the LA5 building).
If you declared your History major before Fall 2006, please see a departmental undergraduate advisor for information on requirements.
Bachelor of Arts in History
Majors must take 48 units of history: 9 lower division and 39 upper-division.
- Core: 15 units. All majors must take HIST 301 (4 units), 302 (4 units), 499 (4 units), and one history course that fullfils the gender, race, and ethnicity requirement (from a list of approved courses available from an Undergraduate Advisor or the Department).
- HIST 301 must be taken in first semester of upper division course work in the major. 301 is a prerequisite for 302, and both courses are prerequisites for 499.
- Fields of emphasis: 18 units. All majors have the option of specializing in two or three fields.
- Option one: two fields of nine units each.
- Option two: three fields of six units each.
- The fields are: (A) Africa and the Middle East, (B) Ancient and Medieval Europe, (C) Asia, (D) Latin America, (E) Modern Europe (including Britain), (F) United States, and (G) World.
- Breadth: 6 units. Majors must take six units in a field (or fields) of history outside of their fields of emphasis.
- All majors must develop a portfolio (beginning with HIST 301) reflecting their work in the History major. The portfolio will be evaluated as one of the requirements in the senior seminar, HIST 499.
- Prerequisites for HIST 499, completion of HIST 301, 302 and 18 units of work in the major.
The History Department now requires majors to move through a sequence of courses that begins with History 301, followed by History 302, and culminates in a senior seminar (History 499) that matches one of the areas of concentration they have chosen for the major. History 499 must be taken in the student’s last semester of work or after 18 units of upper-division work in the major. Those 18 units must include at least 6 units, that is, two courses, in the concentration of the History 499 being taken. Students in History 499 are required to assemble a portfolio that contains their work in their upper-division history courses. This portfolio is designed to enable students to show development in the major and mastery of key analytical, mechanical, and presentation skills. As part of this process, history majors (or prospective history majors) should save all work from upper-division history courses for eventual inclusion in this portfolio.
Note: History majors are strongly encouraged to include the study of foreign language and literature in their programs. Students working for a single-subject credential in secondary education must consult with the College’s secondary education advisor as to the applicable credential major requirements.
History B.A. Student Learning Objectives
Upon completing the Bachelor’s of Arts in History, individuals will be able to demonstrate the following:
- An understanding of the discipline of history and its methods, including such concepts as causality, conceptualization, and contextualization, as well as the role of theoretical advances within the discipline.
- An understanding of the major trends of historical knowledge of at least two subfields, and the relations between subfields within the larger context of global change.
- The facility to conduct research in both primary and secondary resources.
- Mastery of advanced analytical skills, including the ability to formulate historical questions, determine bias, express original arguments about the past, and evaluate and interpret various types of evidence.
- Familiarity with basic mechanical skills of writing and analysis, including computer literacy and other skills appropriate to the discipline.
- Proficiency in presentation skills, including professionalism, facility with Powerpoint or other techniques of audio and visual content delivery, and the ability to construct an organized and coherent verbal presentation directed to appropriate audience levels.
Bachelor of Arts in History Honors Program
Students with a major in history may be admitted to the History Department honors program (option of the University Honors Program) provided they have:
- Completed at least 30 semester units of college- or university-level courses, including at least two history courses;
- A minimum cumulative GPA of 3.3, and a 3.5 in history courses;
- Submitted to the department honors committee chairperson two letters of recommendation from faculty members;
- Received admission approval from the departmental honors committee.
Students who have the minimum GPA requirements established by the University Honors Program (3.0 over-all and 3.3 in the major but who do not meet History departmental GPA requirements above may petition the department honors committee for conditional admission to the Department Honors Program). In order to graduate with Honors in history a student must:
- Complete all regular requirements for the history major;
- Complete 3 units in HIST 501;
- Complete 3 units in HIST 498H: Honors Research;
- Complete 3 units of HIST 499H: Honors Thesis;
- Complete 6 units of additional course work chosen in consultation with the Department Honors Advisor; such courses normally will require two analytical papers or a research paper on an honors level of performance;
- Complete UHP 499 Synthesis, as partial fulfillment of the University’s requirement of 6 upper-division units;
- Have at the time of graduation a cumulative GPA of at least 3.3 and a GPA of at least 3.5 in history.
Students admitted to the program must maintain a file in the University Honors Program which will include copies of proposals for 498H and 499H. For other academic programs affiliated with the History Department, please visit our Affiliated Programs page.