History Major

Students must also complete the Undergraduate Registration Requirement and the degree requirements of their home school.

The history major enables students to broaden their intellectual horizons as they study the experiences of people in times and places other than their own. Courses are designed to develop the ability to read insightfully, think critically, and write with precision and polish. Students enroll in a range of historical courses as well as develop an area of concentration. Majors are each assigned a faculty adviser with whom they are encouraged to consult frequently.

Students majoring in history select one of five concentrations and may arrange to emphasize special fields within their concentration:

  • History of the Americas
  • English/European history
  • African/Middle Eastern history
  • Asian/Middle Eastern history
  • Global history

The program for majors consists of 12 graded courses in history, none of which may be substituted by advanced placement credits. These courses, chosen by the student with the adviser, are distributed as follows.

Course Title
Major Requirements (12 units)
2 undergraduate seminars:
HISTORY 393-0Approaches to History (taken as soon as possible after declaring the history major)
HISTORY 395-0Research Seminar (should be taken in junior or senior year and need not be within the student’s concentration)
10 additional 200- or 300-level courses:
For nonglobal history concentrations:
6 courses in a geographic concentration; see department website for eligible courses. 1 only allowed from:
First-Year Seminar--European History
First-Year Seminar--American History
First-Year Seminar--Non-Western History
4 courses outside the geographic concentration
For global history concentration:
Global History: Early Modern to Modern Transition
and Global History: The Modern World
2 additional global history courses (see department website for eligible courses)
6 courses outside global history, either 2 each in three geographic areas or 3 each in 2 geographic areas
At least 2 of the 12 courses must be in fields other than modern European or US history (e.g., courses in European history before 1800 or in African, Asian, Middle Eastern, or Latin American history in any period).

Honors in History

Junior majors with strong academic records and an interest in pursuing honors attend informational sessions during winter quarter. They submit a thesis proposal and a letter of recommendation from a Northwestern history professor by an early spring deadline. Those chosen enroll as seniors in a 3-quarter thesis seminar (HISTORY 398-1, HISTORY 398-2, HISTORY 398-3) and submit a completed thesis in May. All 3 thesis seminar quarters (HISTORY 398-1, HISTORY 398-2, HISTORY 398-3) may count toward the major; see the department for details.

Students whose theses and grades meet department criteria are recommended to the college for graduation with honors. For more information consult the director of undergraduate studies and see Honors in the Major.

History Courses

Introductory Seminars

The following 3 courses are first-year seminars, each limited to 15 undergraduates, which introduce students to modes of historical analysis through the study of various topics in history. Specific subjects will be listed in the Class Schedule. Open to first-year students only.

Course Title
HISTORY 101-6First-Year Seminar--European History
HISTORY 102-6First-Year Seminar--American History
HISTORY 103-6First-Year Seminar--Non-Western History

Introductory Lecture Courses

Course Title
HISTORY 200-0New Introductory Courses in History
HISTORY 300-0New Lectures in History
New Lectures in History: City and Civilization in the Eastern Mediterannean World
and New Lectures in History: Milestones of Czech History & Civilization

African History Courses

Course Title
Background to African Civilization and Culture: Origins to 17th C.
and Background to African Civilization and Culture: 16th-19th C.
and Background to African Civilization and Culture: 1875-1994
History of South Africa, Early Times to 1879
and History of South Africa, 20th century
HISTORY 357-0East Africa
HISTORY 358-0Topics in West African History

Asian History Courses

Course Title
HISTORY 281-0Chinese Civilization
Japanese History, Ancient & Medieval, 200-1600
and Japanese History: Tokugawa Period, 1600-1868
HISTORY 286-0World War II in Asia
Modern China: The Transition to Modern Times, 1600-1912
and Modern China: The Twentieth Century
HISTORY 382-0The Modern Japanese City
HISTORY 383-0Japan's Modern Revolution
History of Modern Japan: The Modern State, 1860-1943
and History of Modern Japan: War and postwar Japan, 1943-present
History of Modern South Asia, 1500-1800
and History of Modern South Asia, ca. 1750-present

England and the British Isles History Courses

Course Title
HISTORY 261-0Sex after Shakespeare
HISTORY 360-0Tudor and Stuart Britain
Modern British History, 1688 - 1815
and Modern British History, 1780-1900
and Modern British History, 1900-present
HISTORY 364-0Gender and Sexuality in Victorian Britain

European History Courses

Course Title
Europe in the Medieval and Early Modern World
and Europe in the Modern World
Jewish History 750-1492
and Jewish History 1492-1789
and Jewish History 1789-1948
HISTORY 330-0Medieval Sex
HISTORY 331-0Women in Medieval Society
The Development of Medieval Europe: Early Middle Ages, 300-1000
and The Development of Medieval Europe: High & Late Middle Ages, 1000-1450
HISTORY 333-0The Age of the Renaissance
HISTORY 334-0The Age of the Reformation
HISTORY 336-0Spain 1500 - 1700: Rise and Fall of a European Empire
HISTORY 337-0History of Modern Europe
Europe in the 20th Century, 1900-1945
and Europe in the 20th Century, 1945-Present
HISTORY 340-0Gender, War, and Revolution in the 20th Century
HISTORY 341-0Paris: World City, 1700 to the Present
History of Modern France: Ancien Regime and the French Revolution
and History of Modern France : 19th c. to present
HISTORY 343-0Modern Italy
HISTORY 344-1Weimer and Nazi Germany
HISTORY 344-2Germany Since 1945
History of Russia: 800-1700
and History of Russia, 1700-1917
and History of Russia, 1917-Present
HISTORY 346-0East Central Europe under Communist Rule and Beyond, 1945 to the Present
HISTORY 347-0Christians and Jews
Jews in Poland, Ukraine, and Russia
and Jews in Poland, Ukraine, and Russia
HISTORY 349-0History of the Holocaust

Global History Courses

Course Title
Global History: Early Modern to Modern Transition
and Global History: The Modern World
HISTORY 251-0The Politics of Disaster: A Global Environmental History
HISTORY 352-0Global History of Death and Dying

Latin American History Courses

Course Title
History of Latin America in the Colonial Period 1492-1821
and History of Latin America in the Modern Period, 1789-present
HISTORY 366-0Race and Nation in the Independence Era
HISTORY 367-0History of Modern Brazil
Revolution in 20th Century Latin America: Mexico and its Revolutions
and Revolution in 20th Century Latin America: Marxist Revolutions
HISTORY 369-0Development and Inequality in Modern Latin America

Middle Eastern History Courses

Course Title
HISTORY 270-0Middle Eastern/Islamic Civilization
HISTORY 271-1History of the Islamic Middle East: 600-1200
HISTORY 271-2History of the Islamic Middle East: 1200-1789
HISTORY 271-3History of the Modern Middle East, 1789 - Present
HISTORY 272-0History of Ancient Egypt, 3100-c. 1000 B.C.E.
The Ottomans: Last Empire of Islam, 1300-1622
and The Ottomans: From "Second Empire" to the Age of Nationalism, 1622-1918

United States History Courses

Course Title
History of the United States, Precolonial to the Civil War
and History of the United States, Reconstruction to the Present
Introduction to African-American History: Key concepts from 1700-1861
and Introduction to African American History: Emancipation to Civil Rights Movement
HISTORY 214-0Asian American History
HISTORY 216-0Global Asians
HISTORY 218-0Latina and Latino History
American Women's History, to 1865
and American Women's History, since 1865
HISTORY 304-0Asian American Women's History
HISTORY 305-0American Immigration
HISTORY 308-0The American West
HISTORY 309-0American Environmental History
Early American History: Conquest and Colonization, to 1688
and Early American History: The Age of the American Revolution, 1688-1789
HISTORY 311-0New Nation: The United States, 1787-1848
HISTORY 314-0The Civil War and Reconstruction
The United States Since 1900: Early 20th C.
and The United States Since 1900: Mid-20th C.
and The United States Since 1900: Late 20th C. to Present
HISTORY 316-0The Sixties
American Cultural History: 19th C.
and American Cultural History: 20th C. to Present
Legal and Constitutional History of the United States: Colonial Period to 1850
and Legal and Constitutional History of the United States: 1850 to Present
HISTORY 319-0History of US Foreign Relations
HISTORY 321-0The Vietnam Wars
Development of the Modern American City: to 1880
and Development of the Modern American City: 1880-Present
HISTORY 324-0US Gay and Lesbian History
HISTORY 326-0U.S. Intellectual History

History of Science and Technology Courses

Course Title
History of Early Modern Science and Medicine
and History of Modern Science and Medicine
HISTORY 325-0History of American Technology
HISTORY 376-0Global Environments and World History
HISTORY 378-0History of Law and Science
HISTORY 379-0Biomedicine and World History

Intermediate and Advanced Seminars

Course Title
HISTORY 393-0Approaches to History
HISTORY 395-0Research Seminar
Thesis Seminar
and Thesis Seminar
and Thesis Seminar
HISTORY 399-0Independent Study

History Courses in Other Departments

A history major may take no more than 2 courses listed below to satisfy the 12-course history requirement.

Course Title
CLASSICS 211-0Greek History and Culture: From Homer to Alexander the Great
CLASSICS 212-0Rome: Culture and Empire
ECON 315-0Topics in Economic History
ECON 318-0History of Economic Thought
ECON 323-1Economic History of the United States Before 1865
ECON 323-2Economic History of the United States 1865 to Present
ECON 324-0Western Economic History
LATINO 218-0Latina & Latino History
RELIGION 264-0American Religious History from 1865 to the Great Depression
RELIGION 265-0American Religious History from World War II to the Present