History Major (B.A.)

This is an archived copy of the 2017-2018 catalog. To access the most recent version of the catalog, please visit http://catalog.unh.edu.


The study of history is an essential element of the liberal arts education. The history major provides both an awareness of the past and the tools to evaluate and express one's knowledge. The student who majors in history will have the opportunity to study the breadth of the human past and will acquire the skills in critical reading and writing that form the foundation of the educated life. The study of history may include all of human culture and society and provides tremendous latitude in the subjects that may be studied. The interdisciplinary nature of the field makes it a natural focus for study that may encompass a variety of other fields.

Undergraduate Awards for Majors

The Philip M. Marston Scholarship, an award of $500, is available to students who are interested in colonial or New England history and have demonstrated financial need. There are course requirements for this scholarship. More details are available from the history office.

Each spring, the members of the departmental undergraduate committee choose history majors to receive the following prizes in history:

  • The William Greenleaf Prize is given for the best senior colloquium paper. Award candidates must have a minimum grade-point average of 3.2 in history courses. Individuals may nominate themselves or may be nominated by faculty members.
  • The Allen Linden Prize for the best senior history thesis is funded by the Signal Fund.
  • The Charles Clark Prize is for the best essay or research paper submitted by a history major and is funded by the Signal Fund.

Phi Alpha Theta, the history honor society, is an international scholastic organization dedicated to promoting historical study on the undergraduate and graduate levels. Admission to the UNH Psi Pi chapter is open to undergraduates with an overall grade-point average of 3.0, a grade-point average of 3.4 or better in history courses, and completion of HIST 500 Introduction to Historical Thinking.

To complete a major in history, students must take ten, 4-credit history courses or their equivalent. Students who enter the University as history majors or who declare a major in history should take the first required course, HIST 500 Introduction to Historical Thinking, as soon as possible. To declare a major in history, students must have completed two history courses with a grade of C- or better. HIST 500 Introduction to Historical Thinking is a prerequisite for the second required course, HIST 797 Colloquium, which fulfills the Discovery Program capstone requirement for history majors and is taken during the senior year. Students should consult the list of topics for HIST 797 Colloquium advertised each semester.

HIST 500Introduction to Historical Thinking4
HIST 797Colloquium4
Select at least eight courses, a minimum of three must be at the 600 level or above32
Total Credits40

Only one, HIST 695 Independent Study, may be used to fulfill the 600-level requirement, and no more than two independent study courses may count toward the ten-course requirement. No more than two 400-level courses may be counted toward the major requirements. Students must receive at least a C in HIST 500 Introduction to Historical Thinking and at least a C- in the other nine courses. Majors must maintain a 2.0 or better in all history courses.

Candidates for a degree must satisfy all of the University Discovery Program requirements in addition to satisfying the requirements of each individual major program. Bachelor of arts candidates must also satisfy the foreign language proficiency requirement.

Major department courses may not be used to satisfy Discovery category requirements except in the case of a second or dual major.

History majors must satisfy the language requirement for the B.A. degree in an international language that they could use for historical research. That list includes Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Greek, Italian, Japanese, Latin, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish. Students may petition the department curriculum committee for exceptions.

A student's program of study must include two parts:

  1. An area of specialization. A student must select at least four courses to serve as an area of specialization within the major. Up to two courses (each four credits or their equivalent) in the area of specialization may be taken in other departments; such courses must be 500 level or above and have the approval of the student's adviser. The area of specialization may be in a nation, region, a time period, or an interdisciplinary field.
  2. Complementary courses. A student must select, in consultation with his or her adviser, at least three history courses in fields outside the area of specialization, chosen to broaden his or her understanding of the range of history. Normally, each major should take at least one course from each of Groups I, II, and III, unless explicitly excused by his or her adviser. Group I contains all American history courses, Group II contains all European history courses, and Group III contains all other history courses.

The program must be planned in consultation with an adviser. A copy of the program, signed by the adviser, must be placed in a student's file no later than the second semester of the student's junior year. Courses at the 700 level will be judged by the adviser as to their applicability for area of specialization or complementation. The program may be modified with the adviser's approval.

For transfer students, a minimum of five of the semester courses used to fulfill the major requirements must be taken at the University. One upper-level course may be transferred to satisfy the requirement that a major must take at least three courses numbered 600 or above. Transfer students must complete both HIST 500 Introduction to Historical Thinking or its equivalent and HIST 797 Colloquium.

Students intending further work in history beyond the bachelor's degree are urged to take HIST 775 Historical Methods.

Students intending to major in history should consult with the department administrative assistant in Horton 423. Suggested programs for students with special interests or professional plans are available in the department office.