The Department of History offers the undergraduate student a variety of courses in American, European, African, Asian, Latin American, and Middle Eastern history. History majors and minors can work with faculty advisors to develop a sequence of courses that will prepare them for careers in a vast array of fields, including law, government, foreign service, public policy, international affairs, journalism, business, and teaching.
History majors in the Class of 2023 or 2024 must complete at least 30 credits in history, including the following: 6 credits of U.S. history, whether the two-semester sequence in U.S. History (HIST2401 and HIST2402) or two U.S. History electives (6 credits total); 3 credits of The Study and Writing of History (selected from 3000-level HIST courses and preferably taken during sophomore year); at least 6 credits in LAMA (Latin American, Asian, Middle Eastern, African) history; and at least 12 credits of upper-division electives (4000-level HIST courses). Majors who are not writing a senior Honors thesis in history must take 3 of their upper-division credits in the form of a Senior Colloquium (HIST5001–5499).
Beginning with the Class of 2025, History majors will complete a new major, which resembles the existing major save for two changes: (1) majors will take one U.S. history elective (instead of two); and (2) majors will take two free electives (instead of one).
Students planning to major in history should take the University History Core (History I + History II) during their freshman year. A score of 4 or 5 on the Advanced Placement test in European or World History fulfills the two-semester (6-credit) University Core requirement in history.
Of the 30 required credits for the major, students may take a maximum of 12 credits abroad, no more than 6 of which may be upper-division credits. Likewise, students may earn a maximum of 6 credits for the major through summer school. However, at least 18 credits, including The Study and Writing of History and 6 of the upper-division credits, must be taken at Boston College during the regular academic year.
The History minor requires six courses worth at least 18 credits. It begins with the two Core courses in history and concludes with two upper-division electives (numbered HIST4001–4962) worth at least 6 credits. In between, students can choose two other courses (worth at least 6 credits) freely from among the Department’s offerings. History minors are strongly encouraged to take at least one LAMA history course. Advanced placement credit cannot be used to satisfy minor requirements, but students who have fulfilled the History Core through advanced placement may substitute two electives (worth at least 6 credits) in order to complete the required six courses.
Beginning with the Class of 2024, the History minor will consist of five courses worth a total of 15 credits: four electives, of which at least two should be 4000-level advanced electives, plus one LAMA history course at either the 2000- or 4000-level. (Conversely, students who have taken a majority of LAMA courses should take a class in US or European history). Core courses will no longer satisfy minor requirements.
Information for First-Year Majors and Non-Majors
The University History Core requirement consists of two courses in history from late medieval times to the present. Every student must take two halves of a sequence: History Core I, which covers c. 1500–1800; and History Core II, which covers c. 1800 to the present.
History Core courses examine the complex historical processes that lie behind modern-day transnational relationships, values, and ideas. They introduce students to key historical concepts, methods, and controversies and examine how present-day concerns shape our understandings of the past. Covering several centuries of time, all History Core courses trace the political, social, economic, and cultural changes that created the modern world. As part of the Core Curriculum, these courses seek to broaden students’ intellectual horizons by exposing them to new places, periods, and perspectives. Through the History Core, students will learn how to (1) use primary sources to interpret the past, and (2) explain change over time.
Taught by historians who specialize in distinct areas, eras, and approaches, History Core courses vary in their emphases on different parts of the world. The History Core currently includes courses focused on Asian, Atlantic, European, Latin American, African, and global experiences. Students should read the descriptions of the department’s Core offerings to find the choice that best suits them.
Detailed information on Advanced Placement and the Core may be found on the department's website. Students who would like to apply foreign study courses for Core credit must get permission from the Director of the Core, and they are strongly urged to do so before going abroad. In order for a course taken abroad to fulfill the History Core requirement, it must cover the time periods outlined above (c. 1500–1800 for History Core I, and 1800 to the present for History Core II) and examine more than one country, surveying historical developments in a global or world-regional framework. Similar guidelines apply to summer classes and courses transferred from a previous institution. At least one of the Core courses must be taken at Boston College.
For further information about the History Core, please visit Core Requirements page.
Information for Study Abroad
History majors may take as many as four courses (12 credits) abroad for major credit (including a maximum of two courses—6 credits—for upper-division credit). Six history courses (18 credits) beyond the Core, including The Study and Writing of History, must be taken at Boston College during the regular academic year. Students should complete the Study and Writing of History requirement before studying abroad.
History minors may take up to two courses (6 credits) abroad for minor credit, including one upper-division course worth 3 credits.
Students seeking major or minor elective credit need only show that they passed a course offered in a history department. Typically, the department does not give upper-division credit for history courses taken abroad. Students seeking upper-division credit should present the course syllabus and the paper(s) written for the course to the Director of Undergraduate Studies after they have completed the course.
Students who are contemplating a senior Honors thesis and who will be abroad during the normal application process in the spring of their junior year are strongly urged to plan ahead. They should try to establish a thesis topic and identify a faculty member willing to supervise their work before departing and verify that they will be able to be in e-mail contact with their thesis advisor while abroad. They should be aware that the deadline for submission of applications is in April of their junior year. For additional information, they should consult with the director of the History Honors Program early in the semester prior to their departure for study abroad.
For additional information on foreign study for history majors, please visit the Foreign Study page.
For more information on the application of these guidelines to the history minor, please visit Minor in History page.
If you have further questions about study abroad, please contact Professor Charles Gallagher. For questions about the History Honors Program, contact Professor Penelope Ismay. For questions about History Core courses, contact Professor Zachary Matus. For questions about the History major, minor, or general questions about the undergraduate program, please contact Professor Arissa Oh.