2011-2012 Academic Catalog 
    Jun 13, 2024  
2011-2012 Academic Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

History Major

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Undergraduate Program

The History Department offers a traditional major, a minor and elective courses for nonmajors. Undergraduate majors must choose one of three areas of geographic specialization—United States, European or global history. These specializations may be linked to course work in interdisciplinary concentrations such as Asian studies, Holocaust studies or women’s studies. The History Department also offers a general track within the major for those seeking certification in elementary education.

The major exposes students to different fields of knowledge, offering training in critical thinking; the accumulation, organization and analysis of information; and clear and concise writing. The major provides an excellent background for graduate school, teaching, careers in law, government, journalism, international affairs, museum, library and archival work, and business. With courses on every major geographical area of the world, and with conceptual approaches ranging from political and diplomatic to social, intellectual and cultural, the History Department offers a rich and diverse curriculum.

The department also participates in Clark’s Higgins School of Humanities, allowing students to enjoy the support and benefits of the school.


Research Faculty

Paul Ropp, Ph.D.



Teacher Certification

Students may receive certification to teach high-school history in Massachusetts and perhaps other states. Interested students should speak to the department chair.


Course Offerings by Geographic Area

Method and Theory

U.S. History

European History

Program Requirements

Please note that the requirements described below apply to students who declare their History major in or after the Fall 2010 semester.  Those History majors who declared prior to Fall 2010 have the option of meeting either the requirements below or completing their degree under the requirements described in the 2009-2010 Undergraduate Handbook for History Majors. 

All history majors must take ten history courses and two related nonhistory courses distributed as follows:

  1. HIST 120 - Writing History , should be taken, if possible, before the junior year and before enrolling in a research seminar.
  2. Five courses inside the student’s area of specialization.  Of these five courses, at least three must be at the 200 level and at least one must be a seminar or a proseminar.
  3. At least one course in each of the three geographic areas  (U.S., European or Global). Two of these courses must be at the 200 level and one may count toward the student’s area of specialization.
  4. At least one course, either inside or outside their area of specialization, devoted primarily to the period before 1800. An up-to-date list of courses that meets this requirement may be found in the History Department Handbook.
  5. A capstone course during the senior year. This requirement is intended to serve as the intellectual culmination of your undergraduate education. It may be fulfilled through a directed readings course or research seminar in your area of specialization or by entering the honors program and writing an honors thesis.
  6. Two courses outside history in fields related to the student’s area of specialization. These courses must be approved in advance by the student’s history adviser and must be taken after the student has declared herself or himself to be a History major.


Majors select an adviser from the history faculty and they consult regularly, especially before registering each semester. The student and adviser design a coherent sequence of courses, and choose nonhistory courses that enhance the area of concentration. They also can make decisions about advanced research courses and enrollment in the departmental honors program.




The Honors Program in History provides outstanding majors with an opportunity to pursue independant research on a larger scale.  Honors can be immensely rewarding and enjoyable because of the excitement of original research and the chance to work closely with a professor on an individual basis. 

The History Honors Program requires the complettion of an honors thesis during the senior year.   Students interested in honors should discuss the matter with their advisor during the fall of their junior year, to ensure that they have the requisite skills, initiative, and experience to complete the program.  Students who apply are required to have successfully completed a history research seminar in preparation for the honors program. 


The Prehonors Seminar or Proseminar

To enroll in the honors program, students must take one of the department’s seminars or proseminars that emphasize the development of research, analytical and writing skills. A significant part of these courses is devoted to the writing and revising of research papers. Students should consult with their advisers or the department chair in selecting a course that satisfies the prehonors requirement. This course is normally taken during the junior year.

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