Coronavirus Update: Washington College responds to coronavirus outbreak. More Info


Academic Requirements

The Major

One year of introductory work at the College level is required for admission to the major.

A major in history consists of the following:

One Introduction to History course (HIS 111)

One U.S. History survey course (201 or 202)

One World History or Western Civilization course (204 or 205)

HIS 399: Historical Method (Junior Seminar)

History Senior Capstone Experience

Seven additional department offerings at the 300 and 400 level, at least one from each of the following sub-specialties: Pre-1860 U.S. History, Post-1860 U.S. History, Early Europe, Modern Europe, Global.

1. Pre-1860 United States

  • 313: Seventeenth- and Eighteenth-Century America
  • 315: The Early Republic
  • 319: African-American History 
  • 342: Victorian America
  • 343: History of American Women
  • 414: Comparative Cultural Encounters

2. Post-1860 United States

  • 318: Historical Film Genres
  • 319: African-American History
  • 334: The American Civil War
  • 335: Reconstruction and the Gilded Age
  • 336: Progressivism and the Twenties
  • 337: The New Deal and World War II
  • 342: Victorian America
  • 343: History of American Women
  • 344: Hollywood Films in the Depression and World War II

3. Early Europe

  • 350: Empire and Papacy: Medieval Germany and Italy
  • 351: Ancient Rome
  • 352: Castles, Cloisters, Cathedrals, and Mosques
  • 354: Renaissance and Reformation
  • 355: Women in Medieval Europe

4. Modern Europe

  • 360: Modern Germany
  • 391: Russia and the Soviet Union I
  • 392: Russia and the Soviet Union II

5. Global

  • 371: History of South Africa
  • 381: History of Modern China
  • 383: History of Modern Japan
  • 357: Early Islamic Civilization
  • 372: Colonial Latin America
  • 473: Latin American Literature as History

Students will also take any two additional history courses at the 300 and 400 level, plus HIS 399 and the SCE.

For students matriculating 2015-16 and before:

A major in history consists of two of the yearlong introductory sequences:

HIS 201, 202. History of the United States AND

HIS 203, 204. Modern World History OR

HIS 205, 206. Early Origins of Western Civilization

and eight semester-long courses numbered 300 or 400. At least three of the courses must be in U.S. history and at least three of the courses must be outside of U.S. history.


History majors have opportunities for internships with the various Smithsonian museums, Kent County Historical Society, the Maryland Department of Archives and History, the Maryland General Assembly, the Office of the Governor of Maryland, and the Hansard Society for Parliamentary Government in London, and others. Fellowships also are available to fund research and internships.

History majors are eligible to prepare for secondary school teaching certification either in history or social studies. To ensure proper scheduling of courses, interested students should consult with the chairs of the History and Education Departments as early in their college careers as possible.

Students who major in history may wish to pursue a regional concentration. These concentrations are administered through the International Studies Program, but students are not required to major in International Studies. Current regions of study include African, Asian Studies, Latin American Studies, Near Eastern Studies, and Western European Studies. More information about the requirements for these concentrations can be found in the International Studies Program section in this catalog.

Senior Capstone Experience

The Senior Capstone Experience in history consists of studies in historiographical techniques and preparation of a substantial senior thesis. During the spring term of the junior year, history majors participate in a required course entitled Historical Method (HIS 399). In connection with this course, each student is assigned a thesis advisor under whose supervision a prospectus, preliminary bibliography and other elements are prepared. Students who wish to be considered for departmental honors, or who are preparing for graduate study in history or related fields, should request permission to attempt an honors thesis. Students who wish to be candidates for honors on the senior thesis must have a 3.5 grade point average by the start of Spring semester junior year.

The Minor

The history minor requires successful completion of six courses: one Introduction to History course (HIS 111); one U.S. History survey course (201 or 202); one World History  or Western Civilization course (204 or 205), and three upper-division courses. At least one of the upper-division courses must be taken in U.S. History, and at least one must be taken in non-U.S. History. AP credits will not count toward the total course credits required for the minor.

Distribution Credit

History courses which can fulfill the general college requirement for preparation in social sciences are:

For 2-semester sequence

HIS 111, paired with any other history course     


Two 200-level courses

 For 1-semester distribution

HIS 111


Any 200-level course

Completion of HIS 111, or any two 200-level courses is a prerequisite for admission to departmental courses numbered 300 or 400.