History, B.A. (Behrend)

Program Code: HSTBA_BA

Program Description

The B.A. degree program in History focuses on the study of the evolution of American and European institutions. This program enables students to pursue history in the traditional mode as a study of written records.

What is History?

History is an interdisciplinary field that offers a unique analytical perspective on the world. To understand history, we not only need to understand politics and war, but also the significance of cultural, religious, social, and intellectual developments. The study of history provides a breadth of knowledge and an understanding of diverse perspectives. This diversity includes the opportunity to incorporate anthropology, the scientific study of humanity, into their coursework. A history major will not only enable a student to have a better comprehension of the development of today's complex world, but will also help a student develop a range of skills that are applicable in a wide variety of careers, including education, law, museum studies, and business.

You Might Like This Program If...

  • You are looking for a degree program where you can develop highly marketable research, writing, and communication skills.
  • You want your degree to satisfy your love of history and anthropology and expand your awareness of global cultures.
  • You are eager to improve your historical knowledge to help you better understand the development and significance of current events.
  • You are looking for a major that pairs well with a diverse array or even double majors.

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 at least 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 19
Bachelor of Arts Degree Requirements 24
Requirements for the Major 39

3 of the 45 credits for General Education are included in the Requirements for the Major. This includes 3 credits of General Education GWS courses.

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 world language proficiency is demonstrated by examination.

Per Senate Policy 83.80.5, the college dean or campus chancellor and program faculty may require up to 24 credits of coursework in the major to be taken at the location or in the college or program where the degree is earned.

Requirements for the Major

Each student must earn at least a grade of C in each 300- and 400-level course in the major field.

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

Additional Courses
ENGL 202AEffective Writing: Writing in the Social Sciences Keystone/General Education Course3
or ENGL 202B Effective Writing: Writing in the Humanities Keystone/General Education Course
HIST 1Western Civilization I Keystone/General Education Course3
or HIST 10 World History to 1500 Keystone/General Education Course
Select three of the following:9
Western Civilization I Keystone/General Education Course
Western Civilization II Keystone/General Education Course
World History to 1500 Keystone/General Education Course
World History since 1500 Keystone/General Education Course
American Civilization to 1877 Keystone/General Education Course
American Civilization Since 1877 Keystone/General Education Course
Additional Courses: Require a grade of C or better
HIST 301WScope and Methods of History3
or HIST 302W Undergraduate Seminar
Select 12 credits of the following:12
HIST at the 400-level
ANTH 420
Intermediate Field Methods
Supporting Courses and Related Areas
Select 3 credits in each of the area categories: United States, Europe, and World from school-approved list9

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 and Inter-Domain courses do not meet this requirement.)

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

Breadth in the Knowledge Domains (Inter-Domain courses do not meet this requirement.)

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

Integrative Studies

  • Inter-Domain Courses (Inter-Domain): 6 credits


  • GN, may be completed with Inter-Domain courses: 3 credits
  • GA, GH, GN, GS, Inter-Domain courses. This may include 3 credits of World Language course work beyond the 12th credit level or the requirements for the student’s degree program, whichever is higher: 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

World Language (0-12 credits): Student must attain 12th credit level of proficiency in one world language in addition to English. This proficiency must be demonstrated by either examination or course work. See the Placement Policy for Penn State World Language Courses.

B.A. Fields (9 credits): Humanities, Social and Behavioral Sciences, Arts, World Languages, Natural Sciences, Quantification (may not be taken in the area of the student's primary major; world language credits in this category must be in a second world language in addition to English or beyond the 12th credit level of proficiency in the first language). Credits must be selected from the list of approved courses.

World 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 University Cultural Diversity (US/IL) requirement.​

Program Learning Objectives

  • Master historical thinking: To master historical thinking, students must be able to recount and explain the course of events and the relationships between the forces that influenced the ways events unfolded. They need to be able to present events in chronological order, demonstrate a basic understanding of cause and effect among the events they are assessing, and explain the historical significance of their research topic.
  • Master historical and historiographic analysis: To master historical and historiographic analysis, students must be able to analyze multiple sources for an historical event or issue for their differing perspectives, to assess why they agree or disagree, and to explain how the differing perspectives can inform our understanding of the event and the study of history. The skills required to master historical and historiographic analysis include the development of critical reading skills, the ability to discern bias or prejudice, the ability to evaluate contradictory data and claims, and the ability to effectively utilize quotes.
  • Demonstrate historical research capabilities built upon the analysis of primary and secondary sources: To master the use of sources in historical research, students must first be able to locate relevant historical records from the time period being studied (primary sources) as well as scholarly research that analyzes and interprets those primary sources and/or the historical topic being studied, and to apply both categories of sources in their papers. While both primary and secondary sources must be utilized, students are expected to base their own analysis and interpretation on the content of the primary sources.
  • Demonstrative skills in effective written communication: To master written communication, students must be able to express their findings in a clear and articulate manner. They are expected to construct a thesis statement and then advance their thesis through a series of well-developed paragraphs and examples. They should connect each section of their paper with appropriate transitions, while avoiding grammatical errors that detract from their argument. Finally, they need to complete their paper with a short, crisp conclusion.

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.



Amy Carney, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of History
153 Kochel
Erie, PA 16563

Suggested Academic Plan

The suggested academic plan(s) listed on this page are the plan(s) that are in effect during the 2024-25 academic year. To access previous years' suggested academic plans, please visit the archive to view the appropriate Undergraduate Bulletin edition.

History, B.A. at Erie 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
First Year Seminar1CAS 100†‡3
ENGL 15†‡3HIST 10, 2, or 213
HIST 11, 1, or 203World Language Level Two4
World Language Level One4General Education3
General Education3General Education3
General Education1.5 
 15.5 16
Second Year
European History Course3ENGL 202A or 202B†‡3
HIST 20, 1, or 113HIST 21, 2, or 103
World Language Level Three4Non-Western History or Anthropology Course3
General Education3General Education3
General Education3General Education3
 16 15
Third Year
HIST 301W*3400-level HIST course*3
American History Course3400-level HIST or ANTH course*3
General Education3General Education3
General Education3-4General Education3
 General Education1.5
 15-16 16.5
Fourth Year
400-level HIST or ANTH course*3400-level HIST or ANTH course3
BA Knowledge Domain3BA Knowledge Domain3
BA Knowledge Domain3Elective3
World Cultures3Elective 3
Elective3Elective 3
 15 15
Total Credits 124-125

Course requires a grade of C or better for the major

Course requires a grade of C or better for General Education


Course is an Entrance to Major requirement

Course satisfies General Education and degree requirement

University Requirements and General Education Notes:

US and IL are abbreviations used to designate courses that satisfy Cultural Diversity 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.

General Education includes Foundations (GWS and GQ), Knowledge Domains (GHW, GN, GA, GH, GS) and Integrative Studies (Inter-domain) requirements. N or Q (Honors) is the suffix at the end of a course number used to help identify an Inter-domain course, but the inter-domain attribute is used to fill audit requirements. Foundations courses (GWS and GQ) require a grade of 'C' or better.

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 World Cultures.
See your adviser and the full list of courses approved as World Cultures courses.


World Language Level One


This requirement is governed by a placement dictated by the number of levels of world language completed prior to admission to college.


European History Course


For European, Non-Western and American History Courses see program-approved lists.


BA Knowledge Domain


Students are permitted to complete all 9 credits in any one of six domains or a combination thereof, but courses may not be taken in the area of the student's primary major.  The six domains are Arts (GA), Humanities (GH), Social & Behavioral Sciences (GS), Natural Sciences (GN), Quantification (GQ) and World Language if the coursework is in a second world language or beyond the 12th credit proficiency of the first world language. Student's primary major.

Additional Notes

Academic Advising Notes:  The course series listed above is only one of many possible ways to move through this curriculum. The number of electives required varies per student.  Please be sure to consult with an adviser about your intended plan.

Career Paths

Penn State Behrend has a comprehensive support system to help you identify and achieve your goals for college and beyond. Meet with your academic adviser often, talk with your history professors, and take advantage of the services offered by the Academic and Career Planning Center beginning in your first semester.


History is the foundation for many interesting career paths. Recent Penn State Behrend History graduates are employed in education, law, state and local government, parks management, law enforcement, library and museum management, business, industry, ministry, the military, and information technology—a diverse and exciting set of occupations.


Opportunities for Graduate Studies

Recent Penn State Behrend History graduates have pursued advanced education in history, law, secondary education, and library studies. The universities they’ve attended include University of Delaware, University of Minnesota, University of Virginia, University of Wisconsin, West Virginia University, University of Pennsylvania, Ohio State University, Marquette University, Michigan State University, Mercyhurst University, Duquesne University, SUNY Buffalo, University College London, and Scotland’s University of Edinburgh.


Professional Resources



170 Irvin Kochel Center
4951 College Drive
Erie, PA 16563