History concentrators must take 10 courses in the Department: two prerequisites and eight other departmental courses. The Junior Seminar counts as a departmental. Students should speak with the Departmental Representative if they have questions about satisfying prerequisites or designating cognate courses as departmentals.


Students are required to take and pass at least two departmental courses before they enter the department. At least one of these two courses must come from the list of courses designated as prerequisites. Students who have not fulfilled the 200-level prerequisite must take one of the appropriate courses in the fall of their junior year. Humanities 216-217 or 218-219 may be used as a 200-level prerequisite but cannot be counted as one of the ten departmental requirements. CLA216, CLA217, CLA218, and CLA219 do not satisfy to 200-level prerequisite but will count as departmental courses.

Students who wish to enter the department but who have not taken two departmental courses before their junior year should consult with the Departmental Representative.

Rules of 8 and 12

University regulations stipulate that undergraduates must take at least eight, but not more than twelve, departmental courses. Departmental regulations stipulate that undergraduates must pass at least ten departmental courses in order to receive the A.B. degree. History courses taken in the freshman and sophomore years are numbered among the ten to twelve required for graduation. Students may not designate any departmental courses "Pass-Fail" even if the minimum ten courses have been completed. (Readmitted students of the class of 1990 and before must pass at least eight departmental courses.)

Distribution Requirements

To satisfy the department’s Distribution Requirements, students must take at least one course in each of the following four areas:

  • European history (including Russia)
  • United States history (including Afro-American history)
  • Non-western history (including Asian, Near Eastern, Latin American, or African history).
  • Pre-modern history.

See the Distribution Requirements for a list of courses satisfying each of these areas. (No single course may satisfy more than one of the distribution requirements.)

Graduation Requirements and Honors

In order to qualify for a bachelor's degree a student must (a) fulfill the History Department's course distribution requirements, (b) receive a passing grade on the senior thesis and (c) achieve C or better in a departmental average calculated by the departmental honors formula. Departmental honors are calculated according to the following formula:

  • Departmental course grades equal 45%. (All History department courses taken in the sophomore through senior years and all approved cognate courses taken in the junior and senior years count automatically. Courses taken freshman year will also be counted if they raise the overall average or if they are necessary to meet any of the requirements.)
  • Junior independent work equals 15%.
  • The senior thesis equals 35%.
  • The departmental comprehensive examination equals 5%. Note that this component counts at least as much as one course and often means the difference for graduation with honors.

The Department has no hard and fast statistical averages (or cut-offs) for determining the ranks of honors. These judgments are made at a faculty meeting when the quality of work that has been accomplished by students is reviewed.

Academic Integrity

Multiple submission of papers to satisfy one requirement within the Department and one outside the Department constitutes academic fraud unless such submission has been previously authorized in writing by both professors involved. For more details see Rights, Rules, Responsibilities, 2015 ed., Section 2.4.6. See also Academic Integrity at Princeton: "Misrepresenting Original Work."