Field of Concentration

Princeton in the FallStudents at the end of their senior year must pass a comprehensive examination in a departmental field of concentration. (See section on Departmental Comprehensive Examination.) The senior thesis is ordinarily written in the field of concentration, but there is no requirement in this regard.

Students commonly choose to focus on the following fields of study:

  • Africa
  • Ancient Greece and Rome
  • Asia
  • Europe since 1700
  • Gender and Sexuality Studies
  • History of Science and Technology
  • Intellectual and Cultural History
  • Latin America
  • Medieval and Renaissance Europe
  • Modern Imperialism and Colonialism
  • Near East
  • Russia
  • United Kingdom
  • United States
  • War, Revolution, and the State

There are no formal requirements for most fields of concentration, but students are encouraged to take at least three courses in their chosen field. Two fields of concentration do, however, carry special requirements:

United States History

Those students choosing to concentrate in American history must take a minimum of two courses in pre-20th century American history. (See Distribution Requirements for a list of appropriate courses.)

History of Science

History majors wishing to concentrate in the history of science need not meet the departmental prerequisites or distribution requirements. But they must take ten to twelve courses that satisfy the following requirements:

  • Two courses in science, engineering, or mathematics in addition to those used to fill the University's science distribution requirement.
  • Four of the following courses:
    • EGR277/HIS277, Technology and Society
    • HIS 290, The Scientific World View of Antiquity and the Middle Ages
    • HIS 291, The Scientific Revolution and European Order, 1500-1750
    • HIS 292, Science in the Modern World
    • HIS 293, Science in a Global Context: 15th to 20th Century
    • HIS 294, What is the Scientific Revolution?
    • HIS 295, Making America: A Technological History of the United States
    • HIS 391, History of Contemporary Science
    • HIS 392, History of Evolution
    • HIS 393, Race, Drugs, and Drug Policy in America
    • HIS 395, History of Medicine and the Body
    • HIS 396, History of Biology
    • HIS 397, Translation in the History of Science
    • HIS 398, Technologies and Their Societies: Historical Perspective
    • HIS 399, In the Groove: Technology and Music in American History, from Edison to the iPod  
    • HIS 489(see HUM 470) Interdisciplinary Studies in the Humanities
    • HIS 490, Perspectives on the Nature and Development of Science
    • HIS 491, History of Ecology and Environmentalism
    • HIS 492, Problems in the Development of the Life Sciences
    • HIS 493, Science and Religion: Historical Approaches
    • HIS 494, Broken Brains, Shattered Minds
    • HIS 495, The Soviet Science System
    • HIS 498, History of Pseudoscience
    • HIS 499, THINGS

Note: With the permission of Prof. Guenther, one of these courses may be replaced by a cognate course from another department.

  • Four other history courses.

The independent work and departmental comprehensive examination requirements are the same as for all other departmental majors.