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Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of General Studies in History

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History Program

The history major allows students to explore the richness and diversity of human experience in the past while building skills of analysis, interpretation, research, and communication. All history majors gain knowledge of significant historical transformations that have shaped the world. History majors learn to think critically, to conduct historical research, and to present the results of their research in clear and coherent writing.

First- and Second-Year Preparation

Prospective majors are encouraged to enroll in 1 or 2 introductory courses at the 100 or 300 level in the first 2 years. Many introductory history courses fulfill the College’s HT or NW principal course requirements, and prospective majors might choose one of them to explore their interests in history. Students who come to KU with AP or transfer credit should be aware that only 6 hours of history course work numbered 100-299 may be counted toward the major. Students interested in history as a major are encouraged to meet with a department adviser early in their careers at KU to discuss their academic goals and interests. Contact the undergraduate secretary to schedule an advising appointment.

Requirements for the B.A. or B.G.S. Major

The major requires a minimum of 30 hours. 2 courses (6 hours) are required of all majors: HIST 301 The Historian’s Craft (formerly HIST 396) and HIST 696 Seminar in: _____. HIST 301 initiates students into the discipline and prepares them for upper-division work in the major. Students should take it as soon as they decide to major in history, ideally in the sophomore year. HIST 696 Seminar in: _____ is a capstone research experience in which students research and write an original thesis based on primary sources. It normally is taken during the senior year.

The remaining 24 hours required for the major are earned through course work chosen by the student in response to his or her interests. At least 18 of these hours must be numbered 300 or above. For the undergraduate major, courses in the many fields of study are divided into Category I and Category II according to the following guidelines:

Category I Category II
Ancient Africa
Medieval East Asia
Modern Western Europe Latin America
History of Science Native America
Russia/Eastern Europe  
United States  

The 30 hours of the major are distributed as follows:

  • HIST 301 The Historian’s Craft
  • HIST 696 Seminar in: _____
  • 5 courses in either Category I or Category II
  • 3 courses in the other category
  • No more than 2 courses (6 hours) numbered 100-299

No more than 1 course taken through KU Continuing Education may be used in fulfillment of the major or minor in history. No more than 2 HIST 492 Readings in History courses may be applied to the major and no more than 1 may be applied to the minor. Only courses taken in the Department of History or cross-listed in other units are accepted for credit toward the major. The maximum number of history courses taken outside of KU that is applicable to the major is 5.

Exceptions to any of these requirements must be approved by petition to the director of undergraduate studies. Students are urged to consult a major adviser every semester to construct an integrated and coherent program.

Double Majors

Many history majors choose to pursue a second major. Fulfilling the requirements of 2 majors in a timely fashion requires careful choice of courses. Consult a department adviser.

The University of Kansas prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, ethnicity, religion, sex, national origin, age, ancestry, disability, status as a veteran, sexual orientation, marital status, parental status, gender identity, gender expression and genetic information in the University’s programs and activities. The following person has been designated to handle inquiries regarding the non-discrimination policies: Director of the Office of Institutional Opportunity and Access,, 1246 W. Campus Road, Room 153A, Lawrence, KS, 66045, (785)864-6414, 711 TTY.