Frequently Asked Questions

1) Can anyone be my advisor? Yes. All full-time regular faculty are qualified and expected to advise students on the major. If you have any particular questions about requirements, feel free to talk to or email the Associate Chair for Undergraduate Studies.


2) Will the department chair assign me an advisor? No. You independently select your advisor when you declare your major. See Section III above.


3) What happens when my advisor is on leave? When professors go on leave, majors should expect to find a temporary faculty advisor for the duration of the absence. Professors can help students meet other history faculty who may be suitable advisors. Also, the Associate Chair for Undergraduate Studies can serve as a temporary advisor.


4) How do I know which history courses fulfill which GER requirements? The course registration bulletin, the College Catalogue and Banner’s online course schedule all provide GER information on history classes. Because GER credit may be newly assigned, students should regularly scrutinize the bulletin, Banner and the catalogue for up-to-date information.


5) What happens if the major requirements change after I declare my major? You are bound by the requirements in place at the time you declared your major.


6) Which history courses satisfy the colloquium and writing requirements for history? All classes that carry a “C” fulfill these requirements. Students should consult the catalogue, Banner and the registration bulletin for the most current listings. In particular, advanced topics classes, numbered 490 and 491, frequently carry a “C,” designating colloquium credit.


7) Can courses taken in study abroad programs fulfill the major requirements? Courses taken abroad will be considered for history credit. Be sure to save your course materials: course descriptions, syllabi, transcript, exams, papers, etc.  See “Steps for Obtaining Transfer Credit in History for Study Abroad” (on the Department website or in hard copy) for more information.


8) Can courses in other departments at William and Mary fulfill the major requirements? Only courses cross-listed with the Department of History can count toward the major. Those courses must be designated as HIST courses on the student’s transcript. Students who enrolled in a cross-listed course in the other department in error should contact the Office of the Registrar to make the appropriate change.


9) Can I take graduate courses for undergraduate credit in the History Department? Yes, so long as you have an overall GPA of at least 2.5, and a history GPA of 3.0; meet other prerequisites, if they exist; and can show the relevance of the course to your program of study. You must demonstrate that the same topic is not offered at the undergraduate level. And you must receive permission to take such a course from the instructor, the Department Chair, the Graduate Dean, and the Committee on Degrees. Consult the Associate Chair for Undergraduate Studies for help in this matter.


10) May I take graduate courses for graduate credit in the History Department? You may register for up to six hours of graduate courses for graduate credit during your senior year, provided that you have a GPA of at least 3.0, that the six hours are in excess of all requirements for the degree, and that you have received written permission from the instructor, the Department Chair, the Committee on Degrees, and the Graduate Dean. Consult the Associate Chair for Undergraduate Studies for help in this matter.


11) Where can I leave papers for my professor? Follow the instructions of your professor. In lieu of specific instructions, you may leave papers with the departmental staff (James Blair 330). At mid-term or semester’s end, or whenever numerous papers are due, an alphabetized group of folders will be placed in the hall outside the department office where students may leave their papers, but only during regular office hours (8:00-5:00). Please do not enter the workroom, James Blair 328, to deliver papers to faculty mailboxes. If you leave your paper under your instructor’s door after hours, you should immediately verify receipt by email or by phone message. You must keep a copy of all papers submitted; paper loss is your responsibility.


12) Are there any opportunities to do research work for professors? When professors need research assistants, they make the necessary arrangements themselves. If you are interested in working for certain faculty members, ask them if such opportunities exist. In general, however, such opportunities are very rare. There are, however, a number of internship opportunities. Consult the Office of Career Services for current information. There are a limited number of jobs for undergraduates in the main office: most range from 6-8 hours per week and last for the academic year; all pay minimum wage. For more information, contact the office manager at 221-3721.


13) How do I determine which history courses fulfill the Major Computing Requirement (MCR) and the Major Writing Requirement (MWR)? The Major Computing and the Major Writing requirements will be fulfilled by the Capstone Seminar (HIST 490c/491c) which all history majors are required to take.


14) Help! I’m a senior and the history course I need to graduate is full. Talk to the instructor immediately and explain the circumstances. If that fails, talk to the Associate Chair for Undergraduate Studies.