History Major Requirements

Pont du Gard, France. Photo Contributed by Benh Lieu Song

The history major does not have any qualification requirements. Students who plan on majoring in history are encouraged to declare as soon as possible. It is advisable to complete at least one lower-division history course before declaring, but it is not required.

Major Requirements [show]

The history major requires a minimum of 12 courses. At least eight of the 12 required courses must be upper-division. A maximum of four courses, including the introductory survey course, may be lower-division.

The history curriculum offers three broad, geographically defined regions of concentration:

Each history major selects one of the three regions of concentration listed above as their area of emphasis. In consultation with the history faculty and the history undergraduate program coordinator, the student plans a program of study that will fulfill the following distribution of courses:

Region of Concentration (5 courses + 1 comprehensive requirement)

I. At least one lower-division introductory survey course within their chosen region of concentration:

  • Americas/Africa: History 10A, 10B, 11A, 11B, or 30
  • Asia/Islamic World: History 40A, 40B, 41, or 44
  • Europe: History 65A, 70A, or 70B

Transfer courses may or may not satisfy the survey course requirement; consult with the history undergraduate program coordinator.

II. Four additional courses in the chosen region of concentration, three of which must be upper-division

III. One comprehensive (exit) requirement: All students must complete either a research/readings seminar (HIS 190, 194, or 196), OR a senior thesis (HIS 195A and 195B) in their area of concentration

Historical Skills and Methods (1 course)

IV. HIS 100, Historical Skills and Methods

HIS 100 introduce history majors to historical methods and provides preparation for advanced historical research. Students develop critical reading, historical analysis, research, and disciplinary writing skills.

Breadth Requirements (4 courses)

V. Two courses from each of the remaining two regions of concentration

Upper-Division Elective (1 course)

VI. One additional upper-division history course from any of the three regions of concentration

Distribution Requirements

Of the 12 courses required for the major, at least three must meet chronological distribution requirements. One must be set before 600 A.D., and two must be set in periods prior to the year 1800 A.D.

Intensive Major Option (Available as of Winter 2018!) [show]

The intensive major track offers history majors a pathway to enrich their study of history, refine their skills in writing and research, and receive a designation on their transcripts that signals their ambition and accomplishment to potential employers and graduate schools. All history majors are eligible to declare the intensive track, including junior transfers. If a student attempts but does not complete the intensive track they may still graduate with a standard history degree, provided the appropriate major coursework has been completed.

Course Requirements

The intensive history major requires a minimum of 15 history courses plus one year or equivalent of language study (see Language Requirement below). In addition to the 12 standard history major course requirements, intensive majors will complete three additional upper-division elective courses.

**Click here to add a sample two or four year intensive history major plan to your Google Drive.**

Advanced Research Requirement

Three of the 15 courses required for the intensive major must require advanced historical research. Advanced research and reading seminars (HIS 190 series, 194 series, or 196 series), the senior thesis (HIS 195A and 195B) and/or independent studies (HIS 199) conducted under faculty supervisor may satisfy this requirement. At least one seminar or senior thesis must be completed in the student's chosen region of concentration to ensure the UC Santa Cruz comprehensive exit and disciplinary communication (DC) requirement is satisfied.

Language Requirement

Intensive majors must pursue training in a second language by completing three quarters of college level language study in a single, non-English language (e.g. Spanish 1-3, Italian 2-4, etc.). Students with prior training in a second language are advised to complete a language placement exam to determine the appropriate level of language course instruction. With prior approval by the Undergraduate Director, the language training requirement may be satisfied by at least one quarter study abroad with foreign language instruction. Students do not necessarily need to pursue a language related to their region of concentration, but are encouraged to do so when possible. After consultation with the Undergraduate Director, students can petition for alternative ways by which to satisfy this requirement.

Comprehensive Exit and Disciplinary Communication (DC) Requirements [show]

History majors may satisfy the UC Santa Cruz comprehensive exit and disciplinary communication (DC) requirement in one of two ways:

Exit Seminar (one quarter: 190-series, 194-series, or 196-series)

In courses designated as History 190, 194, or 196, students participate in either a Senior Research Seminar, which are designed as an opportunity to focus on specific research problems and acquire experience in practical research skills and the writing of a substantial research paper, or a Senior Readings Seminar, which are designed as a small-group discussion course providing a broad overview of some general area or theoretical concern within an area of concentration. Emphasis in reading seminars is placed on discussion of assigned readings plus either a series of short papers or completion of a single, more substantial term paper. Both types of seminars require submission of written work totaling approximately 25 pages; both varieties of seminar satisfy the disciplinary communication (DC) general education requirement. Seminars must be taken in the student's chosen area of concentration to qualify as their exit requirement.

Thesis (Two Quarters: HIS 195A, Thesis Research and HIS 195B, Thesis Writing)

To complete a senior thesis, you must first meet with appropriate history faculty members to discuss potential thesis topics and the feasibility of your proposed project. Once a thesis adviser and second reader have been secured and a topic defined, submit a completed proposal to the department for consideration. Proposals are due at least one quarter before the research quarter begins. Completed theses must be at least 40 pages in length; students must receive a grade of C or better in both quarters to satisfy the senior comprehensive requirement and the disciplinary communication (DC) general education requirement. Outstanding achievement in the thesis makes the work eligible for honors and awards consideration. A senior thesis that has not been approved by the History Department Undergraduate Education Committee may not satisfy the comprehensive exit requirement. Download a Senior Thesis Guidelines and Proposal Packet (PDF) for more detailed information and the Senior Thesis Proposal form.

2017-2018 Thesis Deadlines

Thesis Quarters Fall 2017/Winter 2018 Winter/Spring 2018 Spring/Fall 2018 Fall 2018/Winter 2019
Proposal Due: April 28, 2017 November 9, 2017 February 16, 2018 May 11, 2018
Penultimate Draft Due: February 26, 2018 May 21, 2018 November 19, 2018 February 25, 2019
Completed Thesis Due: March 23, 2018 June 14, 2018 December 14, 2018 March 22, 2019

Double Major [show]

Pursuing a double major is a highly individual decision, and should be based on a student's educational and career goals.  For many students, pursuing a single major and including internships, research opportunities, or more classes than are required in their major discipline is just as challenging and rewarding as a double major, if not more so.

A student becomes eligible for a double major by satisfying the minimum degree requirements for each major. To declare a double major program, you must file a quarter-by-quarter academic plan showing that you are able to complete the program within the maximum number of quarters of enrollment available to you at UCSC.

Upper-division courses applied toward a second major/minor may or may not also be applied to the history major requirements. Be sure to read through the UC Santa Cruz Academic Senate "Double Counting" policy and consult with the history undergraduate program coordinator if you have any questions about sharing courses between multiple majors or minors.

Course Substitutions [show]

History majors must take a minimum of six regularly scheduled history courses, including the comprehensive exit and disciplinary communication (DC) requirements, from members of the UCSC History Department faculty. Subject to the limits and restrictions indicated in each category, the following courses may be petitioned to satisfy history major requirements:

Advanced Placement (AP) History [show]

AP scores of 3, 4, or 5 transfer in as credits (toward your 180 credit minimum), and in some cases general education requirements. AP scores do not satisfy history major requirements.

Undergraduate Program Director
Associate Professor Catherine Jones
Office: Stevenson College, room 272
Email: catjones@ucsc.edu

Undergraduate Program Coordinator
Stephanie Sawyer
Office: Humanities 1, room 201
Email: historyundergrad@ucsc.edu

See Also