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Maxwell School

Undergraduate Study

Undergraduate Requirements

Why Major in History?

The undergraduate program, which leads to an B.A. in history, provides rigorous training in research, analysis, and writing. Because students of history learn to evaluate evidence, write well, and think clearly, the history major is excellent training for almost any career, including law, business, international affairs and journalism. Whether or not your plans include further education after Syracuse, majoring in history is a practical choice.

Major Requirements

To complete a history major, students must take 10 courses (30 credits) in history:    

  • Of these 10 courses, at least 7 courses (21 credits) must be upper division (numbered 300 or higher).

  • The Major also requires one lower-division, two-course foundation sequence:

          HST 101-102
          HST 111-112
          HST 121-122
          HST 210-211

  • Majors must also take HST 401, the senior seminar.  They may petition to take an independent study (HST 490) in lieu of the 401 requirement. Students completing the Distinction Thesis in History are not required to take HST 401.
  • Majors must select a geographical concentration (either U.S., European, or Global history).  At least 5 courses (15 credits) must focus on this concentration and students must 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.
  • Advanced Placement (AP) Credits:

  • Course/Exam
    U.S. History
    European History
    World History



  •  International Baccalaureate (IB) Credit:

             History Examination = 6 credits lower division

    Students may count a maximum of 9 lower division AP/IB credits toward a History major, as stipulated by the rule of no more than 9 lower division credits of the 30 required for a major.
  • At least 5 courses (15 credits) have to be taken at Syracuse University. Students with AP credits are still required to take 5 courses here at Syracuse University.   

Minor Requirements

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

  • 2 courses (6 credits) in lower-division and 2 courses (6 credits) in upper-division (300 or higher), all in a single general area of history (U.S., European, or Global).
  • 1 course (3 credits) in upper-division (300 or higher), outside of the general area of concentration.
  • Minors must take at least 4 courses (12 credits) in their concentration and at least 1 course (3 credits) outside it.
  • At least 5 courses (15 credits) have to be taken at Syracuse University. Students with AP credits are still required to take 5 courses here at Syracuse University. 
  • HST 401 (3 credits) - the Senior Seminar, or its HST 490 equivalent at Syracuse University.  Students should aim to take the 401 in the area of their concentration.
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Department of History | Maxwell School | Syracuse University | 145 Eggers Hall | Syracuse, NY 13244-1020 | 315.443.2210 | Fax: 315.443.5876 |