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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.
  • 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, the student-run Historical Review, 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?

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