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The History Major

The Department of History educates students about the past and equips them with valuable critical thinking, research, and communication skills in the present, preparing them for diverse careers and a life of informed citizenship.

Among other requirements, majors must take ten classes (30 credits) in History classes. Between 4-6 of those classes must be taken in the student’s chosen area of concentration, which are divided into Geographic and Thematic clusters. The possible areas of concentration for the History major are listed below:

Geographic Concentrations:

Includes classes on the histories of Africa countries in the colonial and postcolonial eras, premodern and modern south Asia, premodern and modern Japan, and China.

Classes on South American, Central American, and Caribbean history, stretching from the colonial era through the modern age.

Classes on European history from the eighteenth to the twenty-first century, including topics such as the French Revolution, colonialism, the world wars, and the Holocaust.

Includes classes on medieval and modern Russia in the Imperial and Soviet eras, along with histories of East and East Central Europe, including Poland and the Czech Republic.

Incudes classes on Native American history, the colonial period, the Civil War, slavery, Civil Rights, business history and more right up to the twenty-first century

Thematic Concentrations:

Classes on the oldest civilizations of the world through the Roman empire and the European Middle Ages to the edges of the modern world.

Classes on histories that transcend regions, nations, and civilizations, including topics such as colonialism, nationalism, migrations, peace and war, slavery, and more.

Classes on political movements and countermovements, war and conflict, historic decisions and challenges in law, the role of the economy in histories, and more.

Classes on the histories of various religions, the development and evolution of religious and philosophical thought, art and popular culture, and more.

Includes classes on histories global conflict, international relations, revolution, ancient warfare, war’s impact on life and culture, and more.

Includes classes on women’s movements, family, work, sexuality, and the gendered history of the nation, race, and popular culture.

For a detailed list of the History major requirements, click here.

As part of their major, students must also complete a 398 seminar, producing an original piece of evidence-based historical research into a subject of their choosing, designed in consultation with the course instructor.

All history majors should see an Arts and Sciences Advisor or talk to the History Department Advisor Matt Andrews each semester of their junior and senior years for evaluation of progress towards a degree.

The Minor

To receive a minor in history, a student must take 5 history courses. A maximum of two of those five courses may be below the 200 level. The student must also fulfill the requirements for the History Minor as outlined in the Undergraduate Bulletin.

Academic Advising

Have a question about the requirements for the major or minor? About transferring credits from another institution? About independent studies or internships? Or something else related to your academic life or plans after graduation?

Dr. Matthew Andrews

Talk to the Undergraduate Adviser and Transfer Credit Officer, Dr. Matthew Andrews (andrewsm@email.unc.edu).

Dr. Andrews serves as a general advising resource for all history majors and minors as well as first- and second-year students who are considering a degree in history. He holds several walk-in office hours each week in Hamilton Hall 515. For his current Office Hours you can contact the History Department. You can also make an appointment to see him in the Steele Building. To do this, go to the Academic Advising webpage (advising.unc.edu), click on “Make an Appointment,” and find his name.

Dr. Andrews can answer all sorts of questions about our department and the logistics of academic study. If he doesn’t know the answer, he point you in the right direction to find it. In particular, students often need help with issues relating to:

Studying abroad can be an exciting, life-changing part of the undergraduate experience. But History students also need to make sure that their credits from abroad transfer back to UNC as smoothly as possible. The information on this site will help that happen.

Studying Abroad

The History Department’s Academic Adviser and Transfer Credit Officer, Dr. Matt Andrews, will be glad to evaluate any history courses that you have taken at other colleges or universities or while on a study abroad program for UNC history credit. This includes history courses that have already been transferred by the Admissions Office, but only received general elective credit. Please read the following information  on the site below carefully. If you have any additional questions after you finish reading and following the relevant links, you may contact Dr. Andrews at:andrewsm@email.unc.edu.

Transferring Credits

Independent studies are for students who have a specific intellectual interest that is not covered by existing courses. Students should check the Course Catalog and make sure the topic they want to study is not covered by an existing course.

To apply to do an Independent Study, the student must contact and attain the approval of a UNC History Professor who will serve as the “Instructor of Record” for the Independent Study, and then together they will fill out the Independent Study Contract.  There are two types of Independent Study Contracts:

  • HIST 495 (Independent Research in History):  Directed primary source research and production of a research project, supervised by a member of the department. Prior coursework in the selected field is recommended.  Independent Study HIST 495 Form
  • HIST 496 (Directed Readings in History):  Directed reading and relevant writing, supervised by a member of the department, in a selected field of history. Independent Study HIST 496 Form

Once you have completed the relevant Independent Study Contract, you should submit the contract to the HIST Department’s Lecturer/Undergraduate Advisor, Dr. Matthew Andrews (HM 515).  The contract must be submitted no later than the first day of classes for the relevant semester.  

If you have have any questions about this you should contact Dr. Andrews – andrewsm@email.unc.edu

The UNC History department also has many different opportunities including payed internships and volunteer options that can help you with your major/minor. Please go to this site for more information.

Internships

The Undergraduate Coordinator, Rachael Clark (rclark8@email.unc.edu), can help students with questions about course registration, scheduling, and enrolling in History 390 seminars. Her office is located in the main History Department office on the fifth floor of Hamilton Hall.

Students may also consult with the Director of Undergraduate Studies, Professor Brett Whalen (bwhalen@email.unc.edu). The DUS oversees the undergraduate program and rules on all matters related to the History Department’s undergraduate policies.

Although history majors are not assigned individual faculty advisers, they are strongly encouraged to seek out the advice of their professors during office hours, especially if they are considering an independent study project, senior honors thesis, or applying for graduate study.

Senior Honors Thesis Program

Undergraduate students in  History do not just learn about the past from from out faculty: they carry out their own research, producing original historical knowledge. Every major writes a 398 seminar essay, a substantial piece of historical scholarship. For students who want to pursue further research, there, are plenty of exciting opportunities in History, including the Senior Honors Thesis program.