The History Major

Decorative Photo

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 the Major
Major Requirements
The Global Track
Distinction in the Major
Faculty Mentors

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).

Major Requirements

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.

The Historian's Craft: one course, History 201
After the successful completion of History 201, at least one Advanced Research Seminar: History 600. For more information on available 600 seminars and how to register, click here.

Though some courses may qualify in more than one Geographic Breadth area, a course may only satisfy one category for purposes of meeting the requirement.

Courses in Geographic Breadth may also count in the Chronological Breadth requirement.
Some topics courses in history may qualify for Geographical or Chronological Breadth.
The following courses may not be used for breadth in the major: History 199, 600, 699, 681–682, 691–692).

Students should consult the undergraduate advisor in history regarding current requirements for the major.
All students must fulfill the L&S requirements for Quality and Residence in the major:

  • 2.000 GPA in history and required courses in the major
  • 2.000 GPA on 15 upper-level major credits in residence (I/A level History). Students may fulfill this requirement with any of the history courses designated as intermediate or advanced.
  • 15 credits History taken on campus

Global Track

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

Faculty Mentors

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.