Students normally begin their studies with one of the general courses in historical studies and then go on to more advanced courses. To declare and design a major, the student should first see the undergraduate advising head; together they will select as adviser a faculty member who seems best suited to that student's interest and area of future work. The adviser and student will then select a course of study that gives greatest coherence to the student's other course work and career plans.
All majors are expected to complete satisfactorily at least nine semester courses in history from among the HIST and cross-listed offerings. No course grade below a C will be given credit toward the major requirement of nine courses.
Of these nine courses, at least one must cover history before 1800 and another history after 1800. Of the nine courses, also, at least one must be in U.S., another in European, and another in non-Western history. Finally, at least one course, normally taken in the sophomore or junior year, must require a substantial research paper.
Students may not double-count the same course toward the period requirement (pre-1800 and post-1800) or double- or triple-count the same course toward the area requirement (U.S., Europe, and non-Western). They may, however, double- or triple-count the same course towards the period, area, and/or research paper requirements as long as it meets each of them.
A minimum of six courses counted toward the major must be taught by members of the history faculty. Transfer students and those taking a year's study abroad may offer up to four semester courses taught elsewhere, depending on individual circumstances, and need take only five courses instead of the usual six taught by members of the history faculty. To apply such transfer courses to the history major, a student must obtain the approval of the department advising head.
In addition, HIST 98a and 98b (Readings in History) may be taken by students on a subject of particular interest to them that is not covered in the regular curriculum or as a supplement to work on the Senior Honors Thesis. (The consent of the instructor is required.) HIST 99a and 99b (Senior Research), which must be taken in addition to the regular nine-course requirement, enables students to undertake an honors thesis and is required for degrees granted with distinction.
The major can be combined with other programs of study, such as Latin American studies or Russian and East European studies. Students should consult their advisors to design a major that best complements the requirements of other programs.