Departments & Programs


Major in History

The B.A. Major in History prepares students to understand our changing world. The history major develops skills and tools for retrieving and interpreting the past--and, in the process, for better understanding the questions and challenges of our own time.  Majors are trained to critically interpret sources and stories about the full range of people living in the past to provide an understanding of issues that remain relevant today.  In the process of carrying out this work, majors will develop strong research and critical skills, creative methods for recognizing patterns of information, and techniques for clear and persuasive writing--essential skills for success in any career: research, analysis, synthesis, and effective writing. Courses cover a wide range of issues in all time periods and parts of the world. History students learn how change takes place, the tensions and conflicts it causes, and how individuals, groups, and societies change over time.

Required Courses

Students must complete a minimum of 30 credit hours of History classes; 18 of these credit hours must be completed on the IU Bloomington campus, and 18 credit hours must be at the 300–400 level. The major program will include:

  1. Concentration: 12 credit hours (four courses) in one historical area.
  2. Secondary field: 6 credit hours (two courses) in a different historical area.
  3. Electives: 6 credit hours (two courses) from areas other than the concentration and secondary field categories.
  4. Seminars: J300 and J400 (J300 is a prerequisite for J400).

Further details, including concentration and field areas, may be found at histweb/ugrad.

Students must also complete the degree requirements of the College of Arts and Sciences.

Please note that students who matriculate in the summer of 2016 and later will fulfill a new set of requirements, which can be found at Students who began their study before summer 2016 may choose to follow the new requirements, but they should discuss the implications of this decision with the History academic advisor.


Students should consult with the History academic advisor and with departmental faculty regarding their selection of courses and their individual programs of study. 

Prelaw Advice

The history major provides an excellent preparation for students intending to study law. In addition, those interested in legal careers should concentrate on developing particular kinds of skills needed in legal education and practice. They should, for example, develop their analytical skills by taking courses such as logic, their writing skills by taking seminars and other courses that offer structured writing exercises, and their speaking skills by taking courses in speech. Finally, since much of the law deals with marketplace issues, students interested in law should consider taking micro- and macroeconomics.