University of Rochester

The History Major

Before admission to a major in history, students must satisfactorily complete at least two history courses. Students may then count these courses toward fulfillment of the history concentration requirement, which consists of a total of 10 courses (or 40 credit hours), including:

  • Completion of a "Gateway Seminar" (HIS 100, "Introduction to Historical Methods"), ordinarily in the freshman or sophomore year (Required for class of 2014 and after)
  • A minimum of 6 courses (or 24 credit hours) taken from members of the History Department faculty; no more than 4 courses in the concentration may come from courses taken elsewhere, study abroad courses, AP or IB credits (see below), or cross-listed courses taught by faculty not formally associated with the Department of History. (Please note that some History [HIS] courses are offered by faculty in other College departments and will not count toward the 6 course minimum.) Transfer students majoring in History are required to take a minimum of 5 courses in the department, thus meeting half the major requirements in residence.
  • One course each covering the histories of three different geographical areas (a total of three courses). Students choose their three areas from the following--Africa, Asia and the Pacific, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, and North America. When courses have substantial coverage of two or more of these areas, students may designate one area towards which the course will count. No course can do "double duty" for fulfillment of this requirement by counting for two different geographical areas. Students should refer to the list of courses by geographic area.
  • A minimum of 2 courses in each of two chronological periods--pre-1800 and post-1800. When courses have substantial coverage of both periods, students may designate which of the two the course may count towards.
  • 5 History courses (or 20 credit hours) in an area of focus. These may be national or regional (United States, Latin America, Africa, Asia, Europe), topical (Global Perspectives, History of Science and Medicine, African American History), or methodological (Cultural and Intellectual, Social and Economic). Students should refer to the list of courses by focus area.
  • 2 upper-level writing ('W') history courses, one of which must be at the 300-level, and one of which must be in the student's area of focus. Students must get a grade of C or better in these W courses to fulfill the major requirement.
  • All of these specific requirements are included within the 10 required courses, and overlap is allowed between requirements--for instance, a course on Traditional China may count both as a course in the geographic area (Asia) and chronological (pre-1800) requirements.
  • Students double-majoring in history and another department/program in the Humanities or the Social Science divisions may, with the permission of the Director of Undergraduate Studies, use one or two courses (a maximum of 8 credits) from the student's other major toward the fulfillment of the history major when there is sufficient historic content in the other major's courses. Double-majors must, however, still meet the geographical and chronological distribution requirements and the 300-level seminar requirements with history courses.
  • If study of a foreign language is pertinent to a student's focus area (e.g. Japanese to Asian and Asian-American history, or Russian to European History) and will be used in research for history courses, then the student may, with permission of the Director of Undergraduate Studies, count up to 2 courses (a maximum of 8 credits) of language study toward the history major; students using foreign language credits within the major must still meet the geographical and chronological distribution requirements , the 300-level seminar requirements, and the focus area requirement with history courses. (Please note: a student using foreign language study to satisfy a humanities cluster may only overlap ONE course in the cluster with the history major.)

Advanced Placement Policy

Advanced Placement credit will be granted for scores of 5 on the American history, European history, or World history exams. This credit is elective credit and may not be used to satisfy the geographic, chronological, or area of focus requirements in the major or minor.

International Baccalaureate Policy

International Baccalaureate credit will be granted for a higher-level exam score of 6 or better. No credit is granted for subsidiary level exams. This credit is elective credit and may not be used to satisfy the geographical or chronological distribution requirements in the major or minor OR to satisfy the focus requirement in the major.

Note: A student may receive a total of no more than 4 elective credits for AP and IB exams.