Welcome to the History Major! A flexible major adaptable to your interests, history combines rigorous intellectual and professional training while empowering students to seek out connections between the past and the present. The History major emphasizes research and communication; understanding contemporary issues and the historical path which shaped their development; and learning through your own custom course of study, within a collaborative environment.
Declaring a History Major or Honors in the Major
Students may declare the history major at any point in their academic career, however, the earlier you declare, the sooner you can get involved with the department and the full range of opportunities available to History majors. Declaring the major and/or Honors in the Major can be done during walk-in advising or a scheduled advising appointment. We like to look over your DARS with you when you declare, so the whole process usually takes about 10-15 minutes.
If you would like to preview a major’s requirements and see how they fit with your previous coursework, you can order a “what-if” DARS by following these instructions: DARS QUICK GUIDE (pdf).
A minimum of 30 credits in history is required to complete the major, to include:
Geographic Breadth: at least one course from 4 of the following categories:
- U.S. history
- European history
- African history
- Central or East Asian history
- South or Southeast Asian history
- Latin American history
- Middle Eastern history
- Transnational history
Chronological Breadth: At least one course must deal with the history of Europe and/or the Mediterranean before A.D. 1500 or with the history of Africa or Asia before these areas fell heavily under European influence.
History Writing and Research Sequence
History majors must complete both of the following:
- History 201 The Historian’s Craft. Students are encouraged to complete History 201 as early as possible.
- History 600 Advanced Seminar in History, to be taken after satisfactory completion of History 201. Enrolling in a History 600 seminar requires instructor consent. Available seminars can be found on the history department website.
Notes on History Breadth Requirements:
- Breadth courses may be taken in any order.
- Chronological Breadth courses may also count toward a Geographic Breadth category.
- Some courses qualify for more than one Geographic Breadth area, but a course may only count for one Geographic Breadth category for the purposes of meeting the requirement.
- Topics courses in history: History 200, History 201, History 221, History 223, History 225, History 227, History 229, History 271, History 272, History 273, History 274, History 275, History 283, & HISTORY 500) may count for Geographic and/or Chronological Breadth. For topics courses, see the course notes for current breadth information.
- The following courses may not be used for breadth in the major: History 199, History 600, History 680, History 681, History 682, History 690, History 691, History 692, History 698, & History 699.
Want to focus on more international issues? Bring foreign language or study-abroad experience into your major? Any undergraduate history major may choose to pursue the Global Track by completing all requirements for the history major above, and these additional requirements:
- Geographic Breadth: one additional course, in a fifth breadth area; at least one of the five breadth courses must be from the Transnational category
- Foreign Language or Experience Requirement: one of the following options:
- Completion of the 5th unit of a single Foreign Language, defined as the 5th semester of College instruction or the 5th year of High School instruction
- English 118, English as a Second Language
- 3 credits of coursework from a UW Study Abroad Program
Note: The Global History Track is unofficial and will not be recorded on a student’s final transcript. For purposes of graduation auditing, DARS will display the track as an informational section only.
Distinction in the Major
To be awarded Distinction in the Major, students must:
- Achieve a GPA of at least 3.7 out of 4.0 in History courses
- Complete a minimum of 21 upper-level credits in major coursework
- Complete all requirements of the major
In addition to our undergraduate advising team, History majors can seek out advice and encouragement from their faculty mentor. When a student declares the History major, they will complete a brief survey designed to help match them with a History faculty member.
Faculty mentors provide intellectual guidance and direction during students’ time at UW. Faculty mentors can assist mentees devise individual programs of study, offer course advice, or point toward resources for studying abroad, finding internships, and career planning.