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History Undergraduate Degrees

Requirements for the Major (required for students entering KU Fall 2018 or laterFor students beginning at KU prior to Fall 2018, please consult the appropriate checklist under the "Forms" tab.

The Department of History is organized into 10 fields of study. For the purposes of the undergraduate major, these fields are divided into two categories, reflecting a Western or non-Western orientation. Some courses can provide credit in either category.

Category I

  • Ancient
  • Medieval
  • Modern Western Europe
  • Russia/Eastern Europe
  • United States

Category II

  • Africa and Middle East
  • East Asia
  • Latin America
  • Native America

The minimum requirement for a major in history consists of 36 credit hours representing both Categories I and II, as follows:

  1. HIST 301 The Historian's Craft
  2. A Minimum of four courses (12 hours) in either Category I or Category II
  3. A minimum of four courses (12 hours) from the other Category
  4. HIST 696 Seminar
  5. 21 hours (excluding HIST 301 & HIST 696) must be at taken at 300-699 level and at least 6 of these hours are required to be at the 500-699 level. (i.e., no more than 9 hours, 3 courses, numbered 100-299)

Exceptions to any of the above requirements must be by petition to the Director of Undergraduate Studies.

Only two courses are required for all majors: History 301 (Historical Methods), ideally taken as soon as the student decides to major in history, and must be taken before a student can register for the other required course, History 696 (Senior Research Seminar). HIST 696 is normally taken during the senior year. Students with at least a 3.5 grade-point average in history may also apply to complete a 2-semester Honors Thesis class (HIST 690 and HIST 691) instead of HIST 696. We urge every major to work closely with an advisor to develop a coherent course of study that reflects his or her intellectual interests.

Thematic Areas

Classes offered by the Department of History touch on a variety of themes that transcend the division between Western and Non-Western History. Students are encouraged to select courses that examine areas of interest to them. Choosing courses from the same thematic area allows students to consider historical questions and problems across time and space and can help students gain an awareness for how Western and Non-Western societies have experienced similar historical issues.  The following themes reflect concentrations in the department’s undergraduate curriculum that may be of interest to students.

Empire, State, and Nation

Environment, Technology, and Medicine

Gender and Sexuality

Migration, Diaspora, and Mobility

Capitalism, Economics, and Globalization

Political Thought, Religion, and Culture

War and Society

Race, Ethnicity, and Identity

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