When you choose to study history at Princeton, you choose an undergraduate experience that prepares you to be a thoughtful scholar. As a large, flexible department, we offer you the opportunity to truly explore your interests. As to where you take it, that part is up to you. The paths our alumni take are many, but all have benefitted from their time spent with the Department.
Why History? Alumni Share Their Stories
Recent History grads discuss their journeys at Princeton and beyond. Visit our Alumni Journeys profiles »
Life As a History Major
History concentrators must take ten courses in the Department: one 200-level prerequisite, the Junior Seminar (History 400), and eight other departmental courses.
Among the departmental courses, concentrators must take one in each four thematic areas: Knowledge & Belief, Power & Conflict, Pre-Modern (pre-1700), Race & Difference. In addition, students are required to take at least two courses that are principally focused on Africa, Asia, Latin America, or the Middle East. Courses taken to fulfill the thematic and geographical requirements may overlap. History courses taken in the first and sophomore years are counted among the ten required for graduation.
In stages, concentrators advance toward the writing of the 75-page senior thesis based on original historical research. The History Department offers financial support, on a competitive basis, to seniors who travel to conduct archival research. In past years, the Department has supported travel to Germany, England, and South Africa.
Thesis titles in recent years include:
- "Peering Through Half-Shut Blinds: The Declassified History of CIA Intervention in Iran and Guatemala in the Early Cold War"
- "Christians and Shang Dynasty Bones: How an Evangelical Movement Contributed to the Study of Ancient China"
- "Colored Television, White Press: The Rodney King Story and Modern Journalism's Treatment of Race"
- "Evolving the Internet: How Entrepreneurs and Innovators Commercialized the World Wide Web"
- "'Vainglory and Worldly Pomp': A Study of England's First Two Sumptuary Laws"
Plan your path to majoring in history. View prerequisites.
How to Sign In / Declare
Get a step-by-step overview of how to sign in and declare your concentration.
Explore History 400 Seminars
Your History 400 Junior Seminar will mark your first step towards engaging with the kind of historical research you will conduct for your senior thesis.
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