Prospective Majors

Life As a History Major

History majors 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, majors 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, majors 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:

  • "Acequias, New Mexicans, and the Clash of American Economic Identities"
  • "Towards Self-Health: Healing Black Neurosis, Drug Addiction, and AIDS in the Nation of Islam"
  • "The Unprotected Public: The Pertussis Vaccine Controversy from 1982-1986"
  • "A Paradox of Time: Uncovering Women’s Shifting Contributions to American Business Through the Lens of Fortune Magazine, 1956"
  • "Lettres de Noblesse: The Financial and Political Ascent of the House of Orléans, 1660-1793"
  • "'A Dragon with Nine Heads': Muslims, Jews, and Eastern Christians in the Thirteenth-Century Kingdom of Jerusalem"
  • "Machinery of the Law: Edmund Du Cane and the English Prison System, 1850-1895"
  • "'Behind Glass': War in the Short Fiction of J.D. Salinger"
  • "The Origins of a Nation: Constructing a 'Korean Nation' from the Three Kingdoms of Korea"
  • "'Somos Más': Decolonization and Environmental Activism in Contemporary Puerto Rico"

Explore more History senior theses in Mudd Library or check out prize-winning theses from 2023, 2022, and 2021.

Historic image of Dickinson Hall circa 1930s

Historic image of Dickinson Hall circa 1930s

Major Prerequisites

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.

Undergraduate Program Administrator

Judie Miller
129 Dickinson Hall

Director of Undergraduate Studies

Yaacob Dweck
Philip and Beulah Rollins Professor of History; Professor of History and the Program in Judaic Studies
228 Dickinson Hall