Bachelor of Arts in History

Prerequisites for the Major

Before declaring the History major, students must take one lecture course. They must take a second lecture course within one year of declaring. Fulfilling this requirement are courses numbered HISTORY 1-199 (with the exception of Freshman (xxN) and Sophomore (xxQ) Introductory Seminars).

Bachelor of Arts Requirements

Completion of the major requires planning. History majors should plan to meet with their faculty advisors twice yearly, once in the autumn and once in the winter or spring quarters. These meetings should take place within the first three weeks of the quarter, before the final study list deadline.

History majors are required to complete a minimum of 63 units (i.e. a minimum of 13 courses) to include:

  • One Sources and Methods Seminar (HISTORY 1S-99S).
  • Two 200-level undergraduate colloquia (HISTORY 200-298).
  • Doing History course (required for declared majors in AY 2018-19).
  • Two lecture requirements (U.S. or Europe and Africa, Asia, Middle East or Latin America).
  • Completion of the Writing in the Major requirement (HISTORY 209S).
  • At least six additional courses to total a minimum of 63 units.

The General History track emphasizes breadth of study among historical areas and periods as well as concentration in one selected field.

General History Track

In addition to completing the requirements for all History majors, the student in the General History track is required to satisfy breadth and concentration requirements.

  1. Breadth Requirements: to ensure chronological and geographical breadth, at least two courses must be completed in a premodern chronological period and in each of three geographical fields:

    1. Field I (Africa, Asia, and Middle East)
    2. Field II (the Americas)
    3. Field III (Europe, including Western Europe, Eastern Europe, and Russia).
    4. Courses fulfilling the pre-modern chronological period (Field IV) may also count for Fields I-III.
  2. Courses can be found in the Stanford Bulletin. 

  3. Concentration: to develop some measure of expertise, students must complete four courses in a single area (including one undergraduate colloquium or research seminar). The proposed concentration must be approved by the major advisor; a proposal for a thematic concentration must be approved by both the advisor and the department's director of undergraduate studies. Areas of concentration are:

    • Africa
    • Asia
    • Eastern Europe and Russia
    • Europe before 1700
    • Europe since 1700
    • Jewish History
    • Latin America
    • Science and Medicine
    • The United States
    • The Middle East
    • International History
    • Comparative Empires and Cultures
    • or a thematic subject treated comparatively, such as war and revolution, work, gender, family history, popular culture, or high culture
  4. Required course: HISTORY 102 History of the International System is a required course for students who select the International History concentration. This course is offered in Autumn Quarter, 2020.

For more information on these tracks and to see lists of pre-approved courses,
see our entry in the Stanford Bulletin

Declaring a History Major

The first step in becoming a History major is finding a Faculty Advisor.  The best way to find an advisor is simply to take a variety of History courses, drop in during faculty office hours (posted in the History Department main office), and introduce yourself as a prospective History major. Faculty are happy to suggest coursework and to offer counsel. 

Next, complete the Declaration Form and have your advisor sign it.  Forms are also available in the History Office. 

Then, submit your Declaration Form to the Undergraduate Student Services Officer, in the History Office (200-113)

Finally, declare the History major on AXESS.  Only students who have submitted a signed History Major Declaration Form will be accepted by AXESS as History majors.  This restriction ensures that all History majors have advisors. 

A note on timing: Students usually declare in the freshman, sophomore, or early junior year.  History majors are required to be declared six quarters prior to graduation; students declaring later than the Fall quarter of their junior year need to submit a special petition (also available in the History Office), accompanied by a plan for completing the major.