May 30, 2024  
2019-2020 Catalog 
2019-2020 Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

History, BA

Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: Programs of Study

Department of History, College of Humanities and Social Sciences

60 Credits


Most students are required to study history in both elementary and secondary schools. At that level, students often are given the impression that the study of history simply requires memorization of names, dates, and other facts about events in the past. At the college level, however, the study of history facilitates the development of research, analytical, evaluative, and interpretive skills. History majors learn how to locate and access a wide range of sources, to analyze historical evidence, including textual and visual sources, to evaluate historical interpretations, and to develop and support their own interpretations. The quantity of writing and discussion required in history courses also helps students to develop effective communication skills.

Why Consider a History Major?

If you like to read, write, and learn about the experiences of people in different places and times, you should consider the history major. No other major prepares students for as many different careers. History majors’ strong communication skills are valued by all employers, including businesses and government agencies. The research, analytical, and evaluative skills that history majors develop prepare them for graduate study in many humanistic disciplines, public affairs, and library science and for careers as journalists, government officials, and attorneys. A growing number of history majors have made careers in the expanding field of public history. They work in museums, archives, and historical preservation.

 Contact Information

Major Information and History Department Chair
Johann Neem
Bond Hall 332

Department Manager
Jennie Huber
Bond Hall 362

 Sample Careers

Foreign Service Officer | Attorney | Government Official | Journalist | Business Manager | Social Studies Teacher | FBI/CIA Agent | Historical Consultant | Museum Professional | Government Historian | Librarian | Archivist | Cultural Resource Manager | Curator | Video/Media Producer | Historic Preservationist | Policy Advisor

 Major/Career Resources

How to Declare (Admission and Declaration Process):

There are no prerequisites for declaring a major in History. Students who have earned Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate credit in history should not take the equivalent courses at Western. It is recommended that students who are considering a major in History take at least three introductory courses in History during their first year. These courses include HIST 103, 104, 111, 112, 113, 121, 123, 273, 274, 277, 278, 280, 281, 285, 286, 287, and EAST 201 and 202.

It is recommended that students contact a faculty advisor in the department as soon as they wish to declare a major in History.

Grade Requirements

A minimum GPA in history courses of 2.50 is required for graduation. No course with a grade of less than C- may be counted toward this major.


For this program history courses are grouped into the following fields:

  • ❑ United States

  • ❑ Europe

  • ❑ East and South Asia

  • ❑ Africa and Middle East

  • ❑ Ancient

  • ❑ Western Hemisphere (outside U.S.)

  • ❑ Thematic (A thematic field must be approved by a department advisor and may include but is not limited to the following:)

    • Transnational/Global
    • Gender/Sexuality
    • Environmental
    • Intellectual
    • Religious
    • Military
    • Imperialism/Colonialism

    Credits to be distributed as follows:

    ❑ Three courses in one of the above fields, one of which must be an upper-division class.

    ❑ Three courses in a second field, one of which must be an upper-division class.

    ❑ Three courses in a third field, one of which must be an upper-division class.

    ❑ Electives under advisement.

  •   Credits: 5 (5 credits)
  • At least 30 of the 60 credits must be in upper division (300-400 level) courses, including at least one 400-level course in addition to HIST 499.

Additional Requirements

The department recommends that majors take the maximum permissible number of history courses in the General University Requirements program. Further, history majors are encouraged to enroll in HIST 401 - Methods of Research and Analysis , which offers practical training in the tools of historical research. Students planning to declare a history major should do so at the earliest possible date.

It is strongly recommended that majors who elect a concentration in a field where languages other than English predominate take enough language study to become proficient in appropriate language(s). Students planning on graduate study in history are advised that many graduate schools require foreign language proficiency for admission.

Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: Programs of Study