BA in History
History embraces the sum of the human experience and facilitates imaginative encounters with the past. The study of the past not only prepares students for understanding the present, but also arms them with important research and professional skills: the ability to write, to evaluate evidence, and to present arguments. The BA in History prepares students for careers in teaching, law, business, publishing, and media.
Note: Students who began the major in history before Fall 2011 may continue to follow the requirements as approved in 2007; see the History Department website or visit the History Department office (226 Bay State Road) for full information.
Number of Courses
All majors must take at least 12 courses, including the core methodology course (CAS HI 200) and two seminars, and fulfill the distributional requirement, all as described below.
All majors are required to take CAS HI 200, ideally in their sophomore year (students who declare the history major later than the second semester of their sophomore year must take HI 200 in their next semester of registration), and at least two seminars, or small discussion-oriented classes focused on more specialized topics at the 400 or 500 level. These three courses must be taken on the Charles River Campus or through Study Abroad programs administered directly by Boston University. Metropolitan College (MET) courses do not fulfill the seminar requirement of the History major. Students pursuing a more specialized path toward the major are advised, but not required, to take seminars related to the geographical/thematic plan of study they have designed.
Distributional Requirement (four courses)
At least one course is required in each of the following geographical areas: American history, European history, and world history. In addition, one of the four courses must focus on premodern history; a list of courses satisfying this requirement is available in the department office and in the “Course Areas” section of the departmental website.
No more than three history courses below the 200 level may be taken for credit toward the major.
Geographic and Thematic Tracks
The following geographic and thematic approaches to history have been developed by history faculty to serve as guides to students interested in designing a more specialized path toward fulfillment of the requirements for the history major. Students pursuing a specialized track develop a coherent program with a faculty member who works in the area they intend to pursue. Students should also consider selecting seminars related to their chosen plan of study. For assistance in designing a program of study in any of the tracks listed below, students should consult guides available in the History Department office and on the departmental website.
- African History
- Asian History
- European History
- History of the United States and the North American Colonies
- Intellectual and Cultural History
- International and Global History
A grade of C or higher is required for all courses counted toward the major.
Double Majoring in History and Other Disciplines
Students interested in double majoring are encouraged to consider choosing history as one of their majors. In the past, History has worked especially closely with students majoring in History of Art & Architecture, English, International Relations, Philosophy, Political Science, and Religion.
A student may use no more than five principal or required related courses from a given major toward another major.
The department strongly recommends that all history majors, but especially those planning graduate study in history or any related discipline, be proficient in reading at least one foreign language, and if possible two, by the time of their graduation. Majors should consult with their advisors early in their history program to determine their language needs.
Previously Earned Credits
Students who complete CGS SS 102, SS 201, and SS 202 with a grade of C or higher will receive credit for CAS HI 102, HI 176, and HI 334 (formerly HI 350 and HI 290), respectively. Students who complete the four-semester humanities sequence of the College of Arts & Sciences Core Curriculum with a grade of C or higher will receive credit for CAS HI 101 and HI 102.
Of the courses required for the major, at least seven must be taken at Boston University: the core methodology course (CAS HI 200), the two seminars, and four additional courses at the 200 level or above.