Major in History
Number of Courses: All concentrators must take at least 12 courses, including CAS HI 200 (“The Historian’s Craft”) and two seminars, and fulfill the distributional requirement, all as described below.
Required Courses: All concentrators 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 international programs administered directly by Boston University. MET courses do not fulfill the seminar requirement of the History Concentration. 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, 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.
Course Level: No more than three history courses at the 100 level may be taken for credit toward the concentration.
Advanced Placement: Although students who received a score of 4 or 5 on the Advanced Placement examinations in either European and American History will receive general university credit toward graduation (HI 098 and HI 099 respectively), these courses cannot count toward the History 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 concentration. 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 the plan of study they have selected. Please consult the guidelines below.
- African History
- Asian History
- European History
- History of the United States and the North American Colonies
- Intellectual and Cultural History
A grade of C or higher is required for all courses counted toward the concentration.
Double Majoring in History and Other Disciplines
Students interested in double majoring are encouraged to consider choosing History as one of their concentrations. In the past, History has worked especially closely with students concentrating in Art History, American and New England Studies, English, International Relations, Philosophy, Political Science, and Religion.
A student may use no more than five principal or required related courses from a given concentration toward another concentration.
The department strongly recommends that all history concentrators, 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. Concentrators should consult with their advisors early in their history program to determine their language needs.