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Undergraduate Programs

History courses form a vital part of a well-rounded undergraduate education. They enable you to deepen your understanding of both the past and present while gaining important skills to prepare you for future careers in a wide range of fields. In their own research, faculty in the History Department use original documents and other primary sources to question, interpret, and build arguments about the past. As instructors, they provide you with outstanding training in the broader practices of research, analysis, and documentation while introducing you to societies, cultures, and time periods very different from your own.

By teaching you how to think critically, write persuasively, consider a problem from multiple perspectives, engage theory, and ask questions, your study of History helps you develop the core intellectual skills that many employers demand.

Why study History?

  • Expand your opportunities: History majors go on to pursue careers in a variety of fields including education, non-profits, museums, politics, local and federal government, law, business, and technology. Pursuing a History major can also provide you with a pathway to volunteer and service opportunities like Teach for America, Peace Corps, and more.
  • Build global knowledge: History majors can take courses from six different areas of study, gaining expertise in both modern and ancient history from regions spanning the globe. Many of our courses are cross listed with departments such as the Jackson School of International Studies and the Department of American Ethnic Studies and several classes count towards the Diversity minor and Data Science minor.
  • Develop research and writing skills: You will have the opportunity to conduct historical research and analyze primary sources in History courses. We have a dedicated History Librarian who assists students with research projects and questions. We are also one of the few units on campus with our own Writing Center where students receive one-on-one assistance on class writing assignments. Undergraduates can also submit their research to be published in the UW's student-run history journal, the Historical Review.
  • Learn with award-winning faculty: History faculty have won more Distinguished Teaching Awards than any other unit on campus and frequently receive awards and grants to conduct research and develop new and innovative courses. The majority of History undergraduate classes have 40 students or less, giving you the opportunity to build lasting connections with your professors and peers.
  • Find your community: Our department community is welcoming and inclusive. Students can get involved in the Phi Alpha Theta history honors society, the History Fellows professionalization program, and the Agents of History roleplay club. There are also many resources available for our majors. The Department awards about $200,000 to History students each year through our departmental scholarships and awards.

How do you major in History?

  • History Major: History is an open, minimum requirements major. Students may declare the major as soon as they have met the prerequisites. To earn the major you will need 60 credits of History courses with a GPA of 2.25 and a 2.0 in each History course.
  • Thematic Major options:  Students may choose 25 total elective credits in approved courses to earn a thematic major.
    • History of Empire and Colonialism
    • History of Religion and Society
    • History of Race, Gender, and Power
    • History of War and Society
    • History Minors:

      • History of Empire and Colonialism
      • History of Religion and Society
      • History of Race, Gender, and Power
      • History of War and Society
      • History of Science
      • History (General)
      • Honors in History: History Honors students produce a thesis project over two quarters of independent, primary-source research under the guidance of a faculty member. Admission to the History Honors Program is by application only.
      • Career Preparation: UW History alumni have gone on to find success in a variety of careers across the globe. Learn more about where your History major can take you and how to take advantage of our career prep resources, such as internships, alumni panels, and the History Fellows program.

      How do you meet with a History advisor?

      Undergraduate Program News

      Suzzallo Library
      August 26, 2021
      Undergraduate history and political science major Estey Chen has published an article titled "Months After Coup, Myanmar Accelerates Toward Surveillance State" with the Center for Strategic & International Studies (CSIS). Estey is currently doing a research internship with the Southeast Asia Program at the CSIS in Washington, D.C. This article is published online here: ... Read more
      Wendi Zhou
      July 15, 2021
      History and Philosophy double major Wendi Zhou received the 2021 Excellence in Scholarship Holocaust Paper Prize. The Excellence in Scholarship Paper Prize is awarded annually by the Stroum Center for Jewish Studies to honor an outstanding undergraduate student paper that critically engages with the central themes, lessons and ideas of the Holocaust. In the award-winning paper, titled “‘Shouldering Their Responsibilities’: Critical Refugee Studies and European Jewish Refugees in Shanghai, 1938-... Read more
      Suzzallo Library
      June 23, 2021
      The Historical Review at UW, a student-run undergraduate journal showcasing writing and research in the field of history, has published their first issue. This issue contains 6 pieces by undergraduates on topics ranging from the American hippie movement to Black labor unions in South Africa. Read the current issue of the Historical Review here ⇒
      Suzzallo Library Photo of Globe
      June 11, 2021
      Husky Giving Day is an annual fundraising campaign for the University of Washington where alumni and friends have the opportunity to give to the causes and programs that they care about most at UW. The 2021 Husky Giving Day took place on April 8th. Overall, the University of Washington raised over $2M from almost 6,000 donors. The Department of History received gifts from 53 donors totaling $18,495! History received the most support out of all the other departments in the UW... Read more
      profile image of Melinda Whalen, UW student
      May 25, 2021
      Melinda Whalen, a sophomore History and Russian major, won a prestigious Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) Fellowship to advance Russian language skills and conduct a Soviet history research project in the 2021-2022 academic year. She is also the 2021 History Department nominee for the Burton College of Arts and Sciences Social Sciences Scholarship. Driven by a keen interest in Soviet history, Melinda enrolled in Russian 101... Read more