Schools, 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.


Students must complete at least 30 credit hours in History, including the CASE Credit Hour and Residency Requirements and the following:

  1. Introductory Course. Complete the following course:
    • HIST-H270 What is History?
  2. Distribution Courses. Complete at least one (1) course from each of the following History Course Lists (a−c) (3 courses total):
    1. Pre-1750 History
    2. Post-1750 U.S. or European History
    3. Post-1750 non-U.S./European or World History
  3. Capstone Sequence. Complete both of the following courses:
    • HIST-J 400 Seminar in History
    • HIST-J 425 History Capstone Seminar
  4. Electives. Complete electives, as needed, to complete remaining requirements.
  5. Additional Requirements.
    • At least 18 credit hours of requirements 2−4 above must be at the 300−400 level
    • At least 18 credit hours of requirements 2−4 above must be completed on the Bloomington campus

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


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.