History, B.A. (Altoona)

Program Code: HISAL_BA

Program Description

This major provides a broad introduction to the history of the great civilizations of the world and specific areas of historical inquiry. Centered in one of the basic, traditional disciplines, the History major offers invaluable preparation for students interested in a career in government, international relations, law, or librarianship, as well as essential training for those interested in a professional career as an academic or public historian, archivist, or secondary school teacher. Along with the perspective on the present that a study of the past engenders, the program develops skills in research, analysis, and synthesis that have proved useful in commerce and industry. The History major combines easily with minors or even multiple majors, providing flexibility in one’s career choice.

What is History?

History offers a compelling vision of human activity and capability- from the heights of human creativity and compassion, to the depths of cruelty. It offers a unique analytical perspective on the world, too, because it brings to bear a comprehensive view that social-science disciplines seldom match. To understand history, we need to know about culture, religion, art, as well as politics and war. The study of history permits a breadth of knowledge, an understanding of trends, and many other intellectual perspectives that allow an individual to better comprehend today's complex world.

You Might Like This Program If...

  • You have a passion for the past.
  • You want to connect with the people and events that have shaped our world.
  • You are interested in learning how to effectively analyze the past while also preparing to become a critical thinker and leader of tomorrow.


Entrance to Major

In order to be eligible for entrance to this major, a student must:

  1. attain at least a C (2.00) cumulative grade-point average for all courses taken at the University; and
  2. have third-semester classification.


Degree Requirements

For the Bachelor of Arts degree in History, a minimum of 124 credits is required:

Requirement Credits
General Education 45
Electives 18
Bachelor of Arts Degree Requirements 24
Requirements for the Major 37

3 of the 24 credits for Bachelor of Arts Degree Requirements are included in the Requirements for the Major, General Education, or Electives and 0-12 credits are included in Electives if foreign language proficiency is demonstrated by examination. 

General Education

Connecting career and curiosity, the General Education curriculum provides the opportunity for students to acquire transferable skills necessary to be successful in the future and to thrive while living in interconnected contexts. General Education aids students in developing intellectual curiosity, a strengthened ability to think, and a deeper sense of aesthetic appreciation. These are requirements for all baccalaureate students and are often partially incorporated into the requirements of a program. For additional information, see the General Education Requirements section of the Bulletin and consult your academic adviser.

The keystone symbol Keystone/General Education Course appears next to the title of any course that is designated as a General Education course. Program requirements may also satisfy General Education requirements and vary for each program.

Foundations (grade of C or better is required.)

  • Quantification (GQ): 6 credits
  • Writing and Speaking (GWS): 9 credits

Knowledge Domains

  • Arts (GA): 6 credits
  • Health and Wellness (GHW): 3 credits
  • Humanities (GH): 6 credits
  • Social and Behavioral Sciences (GS): 6 credits
  • Natural Sciences (GN): 9 credits

Integrative Studies (may also complete a Knowledge Domain requirement)

  • Inter-Domain or Approved Linked Courses: 6 credits

University Degree Requirements

First Year Engagement

All students enrolled in a college or the Division of Undergraduate Studies at University Park, and the World Campus are required to take 1 to 3 credits of the First-Year Seminar, as specified by their college First-Year Engagement Plan.

Other Penn State colleges and campuses may require the First-Year Seminar; colleges and campuses that do not require a First-Year Seminar provide students with a first-year engagement experience.

First-year baccalaureate students entering Penn State should consult their academic adviser for these requirements.

Cultures Requirement    

6 credits are required and may satisfy other requirements

  • United States Cultures: 3 credits
  • International Cultures: 3 credits

Writing Across the Curriculum

3 credits required from the college of graduation and likely prescribed as part of major requirements.

Total Minimum Credits

A minimum of 120 degree credits must be earned for a baccalaureate degree. The requirements for some programs may exceed 120 credits. Students should consult with their college or department adviser for information on specific credit requirements.

Quality of Work

Candidates must complete the degree requirements for their major and earn at least a 2.00 grade-point average for all courses completed within their degree program.

Limitations on Source and Time for Credit Acquisition

The college dean or campus chancellor and program faculty may require up to 24 credits of course work in the major to be taken at the location or in the college or program where the degree is earned. Credit used toward degree programs may need to be earned from a particular source or within time constraints (see Senate Policy 83-80). For more information, check the Suggested Academic Plan for your intended program.

B.A. Degree Requirements

Foreign Language (0-12 credits): Student must attain 12th credit level of proficiency in one foreign language. See the Placement Policy for Penn State Foreign Language Courses.

B.A. Fields (9 credits): Humanities, Social and Behavioral Sciences, Arts, Foreign Languages, Natural Sciences, Quantification (may not be taken in the area of the student's primary major; foreign language credits in this category must be in a second foreign language or beyond the 12th credit level of proficiency in the first language)

Other Cultures (0-3 credits): Select 3 credits from approved list. Students may count courses in this category in order to meet other major, minor, elective, or General Education requirements, except for the General Education US/IL requirement.​

Requirements for the Major

A grade of C or better is required for all courses in the major. To graduate, a student enrolled in the major must earn at least a C grade in each course designated by the major as a C-required course, as specified by Senate Policy 82-44.

Prescribed Courses
Prescribed Courses: Require a grade of C or better
HIST 302WUndergraduate Seminar3
Additional Courses
Additional Courses: Require a grade of C or better
HIST 494Research Project4
or HIST 495 Internship
Select two of the following three focus areas:12
Western Civilization I Keystone/General Education Course
and Western Civilization II Keystone/General Education Course
World History to 1500 Keystone/General Education Course
and World History since 1500 Keystone/General Education Course
American Civilization to 1877 Keystone/General Education Course
and American Civilization Since 1877 Keystone/General Education Course
Supporting Courses and Related Areas 1
Supporting Courses and Related Areas: Require a grade of C or better
Select 12 credits in history12
Select 6 credits in non-Western history6

Program Learning Objectives

  • Develop chronological thinking about the past.
  • Develop historical understanding and comprehension.
  • Develop interpretations of historical change and continuity over time.
  • Read and summarize primary and secondary source materials.
  • Evaluate and interpret primary and secondary source materials.
  • Create evidence-based historical arguments (theses) based on accepted standards of methodology and practice.

Academic Advising

The objectives of the university’s academic advising program are to help advisees identify and achieve their academic goals, to promote their intellectual discovery, and to encourage students to take advantage of both in-and out-of class educational opportunities in order that they become self-directed learners and decision makers.

Both advisers and advisees share responsibility for making the advising relationship succeed. By encouraging their advisees to become engaged in their education, to meet their educational goals, and to develop the habit of learning, advisers assume a significant educational role. The advisee's unit of enrollment will provide each advisee with a primary academic adviser, the information needed to plan the chosen program of study, and referrals to other specialized resources.



Doug Page
Associate Teaching Professor of History
218 Hawthorn
3000 Ivyside Park
Altoona, PA 16601

Suggested Academic Plan

The suggested academic plan(s) listed on this page are the plan(s) that are in effect during the 2021-22 academic year. To access previous years' suggested academic plans, please visit the archive to view the appropriate Undergraduate Bulletin edition (Note: the archive only contain suggested academic plans beginning with the 2018-19 edition of the Undergraduate Bulletin).

History, B.A. at Altoona Campus

The course series listed below provides only one of the many possible ways to move through this curriculum. The University may make changes in policies, procedures, educational offerings, and requirements at any time. This plan should be used in conjunction with your degree audit (accessible in LionPATH as either an Academic Requirements or What If report). Please consult with a Penn State academic adviser on a regular basis to develop and refine an academic plan that is appropriate for you.

First Year
ENGL 15, 30H, or ESL 153CAS 1003
PSU 31World Language Course Level 14
World Language Course Level 14General Education Course3
General Education Course (GQ)3History Survey*3
History Survey Course*3General Education Course3
General Education (GHW)1.5 
 15.5 16
Second Year
World Language Course Level 34General Education Course (GQ)3
General Education Course3General Education Course3
Elective3HIST 302W*3
History Survey Course*3History Survey Course*3
 16 15
Third Year
B.A. Course3B.A. Course3
HIST Course*3General Education Course3
General Education Course3General Education Course3
General Education Course3HIST 400-level Course*3
HIST 400-level Course*3HIST Course (Non-Western)*3
General Education (GHW)1.5 
 16.5 15
Fourth Year
B.A. Course3B.A. Course3
HIST 400-level Course*3HIST 494 or 4953
HIST 494 or 4951HIST Course (Non-Western)*3
ENGL 202B3Elective3
Elective3General Education Course3
 16 15
Total Credits 125

University Requirements and General Education Notes:

US and IL are abbreviations used to designate courses that satisfy University Requirements (United States and International Cultures).

W, M, X, and Y are the suffixes at the end of a course number used to designate courses that satisfy University Writing Across the Curriculum requirement.

GWS, GQ, GHW, GN, GA, GH, and GS are abbreviations used to identify General Education program courses. General Education includes Foundations (GWS and GQ) and Knowledge Domains (GHW, GN, GA, GH, GS, and Integrative Studies). Foundations courses (GWS and GQ) require a grade of ‘C’ or better.

Integrative Studies courses are required for the General Education program. N is the suffix at the end of a course number used to designate an Inter-Domain course and Z is the suffix at the end of a course number used to designate a Linked course.

Bachelor of Arts Requirements:

Bachelor of Arts students must take 9 credits in Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) Fields (Humanities; Social and Behavioral Sciences; Arts; World Languages [2nd language or beyond the 12th credit level of proficiency in the 1st]; Natural Sciences; Quantification). The B.A. Fields courses may not be taken in the area of the student’s primary major. See your adviser and the Degree Requirements section of this Bulletin.

Bachelor of Arts students must take 3 credits in Other Cultures.
See your adviser and the full list of courses approved as Other Cultures courses.

Career Paths

As a History major, you will develop your talent in research, reporting, evaluating evidence and artifacts, and gaining understanding of your own and foreign cultures. The bachelor of arts degree in History, with its emphasis on analytical and communication skills, helps prepare students for a broad spectrum of possibilities in business, sales, law, government, and museum and library careers. Our alumni have gone on to become educators, museum administrators, park rangers, and professionals in a variety of private-sector settings.



218 Hawthorn
3000 Ivyside Park
Altoona, PA 16601