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A student’s degree plan, his or her path to graduation, is defined in the university catalog. Each year the university issues a new catalog and requirements sometimes change. Consult your catalog number for specific requirements for both your major and for all core requirements to graduate.

As a history major, you are part of the College of Arts and Sciences, and that is where you will find the requirements for a major in history.

History majors must take at least one 300-400 level course in three of five areas – United States; European; Asia, Africa and the Middle East; Latin America and Caribbean; and Thematic – in order to gain breadth in their knowledge of history. They also must take at least one course in pre-modern history from those indicated by an asterisk ( * ) on the Elective History Courses at Texas A&M University.

Survey Courses: Twelve of the 33 required hours are in the lower division or survey level of classes. They are comprised of HIST 101 or 103, HIST 102 or 104, HIST 105 and HIST 106. These classes provide a broad overview of a particular time period and serve as a foundation for a more focused study at the upper division level. In the survey courses you will learn to identify and assess causes and effects of historical change, categorize information, summarize the main points of an historical work, identify its thesis and discern whether the author substantiates the thesis. You will become familiar with the manner in which historians use sources as evidence.

Upper Division Courses: These courses focus on a time period, topic or country in greater depth than the survey courses. You have an opportunity to concentrate in an area of your particular interest. Skills introduced to you in the survey classes will be augmented as you think analytically, read critically, and write decisively. Many of these courses encourage spirited classroom discussions with your professors and fellow students.

The Historian’s Craft (HIST 280): This course is one of two writing-intensive courses required for undergraduate history majors (the other is HIST 481). Every semester, the department offers multiple sections of the class, each focused on a special topic and limited to 15 history majors.  In the course, students will have the opportunity to participate in small group discussion and to learn and practice critical reading, thinking and writing skills.

Senior Seminar (HIST 481): This writing-intensive, required course is the capstone experience for undergraduate history majors. Students thinking about continuing their education in history graduate school should be able to make an informed decision after this course. The class is limited to 15 students and deals with the literature of an issue, an event, a period or a person in history. In the course students will have the chance to participate in group discussions and to write an article length paper (usually 15-20 pages) based on primary and secondary source material.

Directed Study (HIST 485): A one semester class that can be taken for one to three hours of credit. The professor agrees to lead an individual study program wherein a particular aspect of a period, a person, or a problem is examined.

Special Topics Courses (HIST 489): On occasion, the History Department, frequently in conjunction with other departments, offers special course offerings called “topic courses.” These courses are new courses that our faculty members are in the process of designing. If the “special topic” is arranged in conjunction with another department, it is cross-listed with that department and may be credited either as history or as an elective.

Honors Independent Study (HIST 497): Students in the University Fellows Honors Program or the honors curriculum may enroll in this section to fulfill individual requirements. The class consists of individualized instruction or research under the guidance of a faculty member. Undergraduate Fellows register for HIST 497 during each semester of their fellowship.