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Understand the Past. Inform the Future.

Undergraduate Studies

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Major Requirements

To complete a history major, students must take at least 30 credit hours, including:

  • One lower-division, two-course foundation sequence (6 credits)
  • Five courses (15 credits) in one geographic concentration (United States, European or global)
  • One course in each of the two other concentrations (6 credits)
  • Practicum in History and the Senior Seminar (HST 301 and HST 401, 6 credits)
  • Majors must complete two courses (at least one at upper level) in each major chronological period of history (pre-modern and modern)

Please see the Course Catalog for a complete list of requirements.

Minor Requirements Effective Fall 2022

To complete a history minor, students must take 6 courses (18 credits) in history including:

  • At least one course (3 credits) in each of the general areas of concentration (global, European, U.S.)

  • At least one course (3 credits) in each chronological period (pre-modern, modern)

  • Four of six courses must be upper-level (300+)

  • At least five courses (15 credits) have to be taken at Syracuse University. Students with AP credits are still required to take five courses here at Syracuse University.

  • History Department Seminars (HST 301 and HST 401) are not required for the minor. Either or both may be taken and counted towards the minor. Both courses can count towards the four required upper level courses. In addition, HST 401 may also count towards the geographic distribution as well as the chronological distribution, depending on the topic of that 401 seminar, as detailed in the course description.

Students who matriculated into a history minor prior to fall 2022 can find the previous minor requirements on Answers.

Geographical Concentration

As a history major, you will take at least five courses in a geographic concentration of your choosing, including:

  • Global: focus on the ancient, pre-modern or modern history of any of the following: Africa, East Asia, India, Mexico, Latin America, the Caribbean, the Middle East and North Africa

  • Europe: focus on the ancient, medieval, early modern or modern eras of the European landmass, including Russia  

  • United States: focus on the colonial era to the present, including Native American history, African American history, and U.S. activities oversees

You will complete at least one course from each of the other two areas of concentration. Majors should aim to take the lower-division survey and HST 401 in their areas of  concentration. No more than two lower-division (6 credits) may be counted toward the concentration.    


Practicum in History (HST 301) and Senior Seminar (HST 401)

History 301 introduces history majors to the methods and goals of historical study and to the skills needed to conduct independent historical research. Ideally, students take this course as early as possible upon declaration of the major.  

Majors should complete the required senior seminar (HST 401) in their area of concentration. They may petition to take an independent study (HST 490) instead of 401 or complete a distinction thesis.

Both courses are also available to those pursuing a minor in history.

History Foundation Coursework Sequence

You will be introduced to the history major by choosing a two-course pairing focus on different aspects of world history. 

American History to 1865 (HST 101, fall) American History Since 1865 (HST 102, spring)

The sequence focuses on the history of North America from early indigenous societies to the twenty-first century. Topics include colonialism, the Revolution, sectionalism, the Cold War, civil rights movements, social justice, and the recent crises of democracy.  

Early Modern Europe, 1350-1815 (HST 111, Fall) Modern Europe: Napoleon to the Present (HST 112, Spring)

The sequence covers European political, social and cultural life from the Middle Ages to the democratic revolutions. It also focuses on European lives and experiences in the age of industrialization, urbanization and mass politics.  

Global History to 1750 (HST 121, fall) Global History 1750 to Present (HST 122, spring)

The sequence focusses on the histories of Africa, Asia and the Pacific, India, Latin America and the Caribbean and the Middle East. Topics include the diversity of cultures and civilizations, trade and cultural exchange, the effects of colonialism, liberation movements, and human rights. 

The Ancient World (HST 210, fall) Medieval and Renaissance Europe (HST 211, spring)

This sequence covers a time span ranging from Ancient Mesopotamia and Egypt, the Greek and Roman world, and the Western Middle Ages to the Renaissance period. We study the rise and fall of kingdoms and empires, classical and medieval art and culture, the life of ordinary people, scientific developments, economic disparity, and the emergence of world religions. 

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Go further: explore neighboring minors

The history major is often paired with a minor program aligned with a student's geographic or periodical interests such as Middle Eastern studies, women's and gender studies, classical civilization, and medieval and Renaissance studies. But, with more than 100 minors to choose from, your opportunities are boundless!

Looking to get more involved within the History Department?

Career Resources

Maxwell students have access to many career tools and resources, including Syracuse University’s exclusive online job and internship portal, alumni directories, networking treks and skill-building resources needed to apply for jobs or graduate school. As you start thinking about your post-graduation goals, career advisors are available—in person, via drop-in virtual appointment, and via text—to help translate your academic work into professional opportunities. You will quickly discover the many ways a liberal arts education can open new pathways to your future. 

Maxwell students in the career office
Amy McKeever

I am Maxwell

There have been so many historic events in the last two years. It’s been useful to turn back to what I learned at Maxwell to help our readers put current events into context.”

Amy McKeever Amy McKeever '06 B.A. (Hist)

Senior Writer and Editor, National Geographic

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History Department
145 Eggers Hall