William and Mary

Courses Offered

For the most current information about courses offered in History, please consult the College's Dynamic Schedule Website.  

The Course Catalog is now located online here.

The Department's undergraduate curriculum offers a diverse set of courses in the histories of North and South America, Europe, Russia, Africa, East Asia, South Asia, and the Middle East.

There are two levels of courses, lower level (100-299) and upper level (300-499). Lower-level courses assume little or no previous coursework in the subject. Upper-level courses assume prior coursework in the subject or deal with particular countries or topics in depth (as opposed to introductory survey courses).

There are two types of classes, lecture classes and seminars or colloquia, and both can be found at the lower and upper levels.

  • Lecture classes generally enroll no more than thirty-five students. Introductory surveys are included in this category. These classes are primarily lecture format and cover a broad chronological or geographical sweep. Examples include Hist 111-112, History of Europe, or Hist 121-122, American History. Advanced lecture courses comprise most of the 300-400 level offerings in the Department; they generally involve a deeper investigation of a more narrowly-defined topic or chronology, such as Hist 332, Modern Korean History, or Hist 400, Colonial and Revolutionary Virginia.

  • Seminars and colloquia are designed to elicit discussion among students and their instructor, and hence their enrollments generally are restricted to fifteen students. Seminars and colloquia are most frequently topical in focus, and entail a wide variety of subjects, such as civil rights in the U.S., nationalism and Islam in South Asia, or the French Revolution. Seminars are offered at the lower and upper levels and include 150Ws, some Hist 211-212 topics courses, and Hist 490-491 advanced topics courses. Colloquia are usually offered on various topics as 490C-491C, but they can also be offered as regular, thematic courses such as Hist 480C, Slavery in the American South. (One way to ascertain whether a course is a colloquium or seminar is to verify that the maximum enrollment is set at 15 students.)

Seminar or colloquia topics are usually not repeated in successive years, so students may enroll more than once in topics classes-Hist 211-212 and 490C-491C-if there is no duplication of subject matter. Seminars in any given academic year are listed in detail in the College catalogue and/or on the Department website, and students should plan ahead if they are especially interested in a particular historical field. For more on courses designated with a "C", which signifies a colloquium or seminar, see Majoring in History.