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Degree Planning

The History Department has a few suggestions to help majors plan out their coursework:

  • The Department strongly recommends that history majors take HIST301 (The Historian's Craft) within the first year after declaring the history major.
  • The Department also strongly recommends that students who wish to pursue honors should take the Capstone Seminar in their junior year to gain valuable writing and research experience.
  • Semester hours beyond the core requirements are for electives of the student's choosing. Students should not confine these elective hours to introductory surveys, nor should they limit their upper-level courses to the history of any one nation or single period. Instead, they should ponder their career inclinations and plan accordingly. For example, a history major intending to teach secondary school in Virginia might register for classes that cover the whole chronological expanse of U.S. history; another individual, wishing to pursue a foreign service career, might seek out multiple courses on non-Western topics.
  • In the case of history majors who wish to enter graduate programs in history, it is important that their undergraduate class choices reflect, to some extent, what they intend to study in graduate school: students who aim for a Ph.D. in American or medieval or European history should take advantage of American, medieval, and European course offerings in the Department's curriculum.
  • Foreign language study is especially important for history majors. Even students in American history must pass a foreign language exam in graduate school; those in non-American fields often must pass two foreign language exams. Equally important, foreign language study provides invaluable insight into other cultures not easily obtainable through other courses.
  • History majors might also consider courses in economics, if they have a liking for economic history; or courses in anthropology for those interested in social or cultural history.

Undergraduate Academic Affairs has a worksheet [pdf] that is useful for helping students plan out their course requirements.