Minor in History

Understanding the human past is essential to living in the present and shaping the future. The themes explored in History courses address questions about the transformation of societies over time and the diversity of human experience, through the study of politics and conflict, religion, race and ethnicity, gender and sexuality, or the production of knowledge (among many themes). By juxtaposing current-day assumptions and biases against the norms and prejudices from the distant past and other cultures, the study of history provides valuable insights on how we are situated in the present. For students majoring in the natural sciences or engineering, the History minor provides the opportunity to pursue a parallel intellectual journey. For students majoring in other humanities or social science disciplines, the History minor complements their course of study.


The History minor is open to all undergraduate students, without prerequisite.

The exceptions are History majors and students pursuing the History of Science, Technology, and Medicine minor (HSTM), who are not eligible for the HIS minor.

Admission to the Program

  • Students may declare their interest in the HIS minor from the spring of sophomore year to the spring of junior year.
  • Students register their interest by filling out the Minor in History application form and contacting the History Minor Adviser to schedule a brief meeting to discuss their plans.
  • Students majoring in History or pursuing a minor in the History of Science, Technology, and Medicine are not eligible.

Program of Study


Students are required to complete five History courses, to be determined in accordance with each student’s plan of study and in consultation with the History Minor Adviser.

All courses for the History minor must be taken on a graded basis (no P/D/F). They must be offered by or cross-listed with the History Department (i.e., they must have a HIS course number.) No cognates are permitted, and courses taken in study-abroad programs do not count.

No more than one course may double-count with a course taken for credit in the major or another minor.

Junior Seminar: HIS 400 (Optional)

Interested History minors may apply to take the junior seminar for majors (HIS 400) during fall or spring of the junior year or fall of the senior year. Available spots will be allocated after History majors have registered. The course requirements would be standard with the exception of a modified research paper (shorter than JP length).

Independent Work

Students are required to write a research paper (minimum length of 12 pages) with substantive primary source engagement. The research paper will normally be written for a HIS course and revised as needed to meet the requirements of the minor. In addition, students will submit a 500-word methodological reflection on the research and writing process. The History Minor Adviser will review the submitted work and verify that it satisfies departmental requirements.

The research paper and methodological reflection should be submitted via this form (login required).

History Minor Adviser

Michael A. Blaakman
Office Phone
G-22 Dickinson Hall

Undergraduate Administrator

Judie Miller
Office Phone
129 Dickinson Hall