At which campus can I study this program?
Any Penn State Campus
University Park, World Campus
Degree Information At Additional Campuses
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 permits easy combination with minors, area studies, or even a concurrent major, 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 want to learn to assess the credibility of sources; in today’s media-rich environment, you will put this skill to work every day.
- You want to gain a deeper understanding of complex causalities; as a history student you will practice thinking about the significance of multiple, often interlinking factors and the way they contribute to complex events.
- You’re interested in pursuing a career in law, business, or education.
Entrance to Major
In order to be eligible for entrance to this major, a student must:
- attain at least a C (2.00) cumulative grade-point average for all courses taken at the University; and
- have third-semester classification.
For the Bachelor of Arts degree in History, a minimum of 123 credits is required:
|Bachelor of Arts Degree Requirements||24|
|Requirements for the Major||36|
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.
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. For more information, check the Recommended Academic Plan for your intended program.
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 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
- 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.
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: Require a grade of C or better|
|HIST 302||Undergraduate Seminar||3|
|Additional Courses: Require a grade of C or better|
|Select one sequence of the following:||6|
|Western Civilization I |
and The Western Heritage II
|World History to 1500 |
and World History since 1500
|American Civilization to 1877 |
and American Civilization Since 1877
|Supporting Courses and Related Areas|
|Supporting Courses and Related Areas: Require a grade of C or better|
|Select 12 credits, in consultation with an adviser, at the 100-200-level, one course from each of the following field categories: Europe, United States, Global, Pre-Modern 1||12|
|Select 3 credits at the 100-400-level||3|
|Select 12 credits at the 400-level, at least one course which must be in Global History||12|
Courses that appear in two History categories (such as HIST 174) cannot be double-counted to be applied to two field categories. However, the student may choose to which category to apply the course.
Integrated B.A./M.A. Program in History
Available at the following campuses: University Park
The Department of History offers an integrated B.A./M.A. program that is designed to allow academically superior baccalaureate students to obtain both the B.A. and the M.A. degrees in History within five years of study. The first two years of undergraduate coursework include the University General Education and Liberal Arts requirements in addition to introductory coursework in the major. In the third year, students are expected to take upper-level courses and the department’s undergraduate capstone seminar. By the fourth year students should have selected the primary fields of study and be enrolled exclusively in 400 and graduate-level courses in those areas. The fifth and final year of the program typically consists purely of graduate seminars. The program culminates with an M.A. oral defense of seminar papers that best represents their interests and work written in two of the graduate seminars.
By encouraging greater depth and focus by the beginning of the third undergraduate year, this program will help the student more clearly define his/her area of interest among the four main primary areas of focus in the department’s graduate program. As a result, long-range academic planning for exceptional students pursuing doctoral degrees after leaving Penn State, or other professional goals, will be greatly enhanced. With the IUG they would be highly qualified to enter directly into careers in secondary education, and other government positions that require graduate degrees. Students who have completed this program but wish to continue on to a Ph.D. will be more competitive in applying for admission to Ph.D. programs in History and Area Studies but also will be well placed to apply to other professional programs including library science, law, and museum studies.
The number of openings in the integrated B.A./M.A. program is limited. Admission will be selective based on specific criteria and the unqualified recommendation of faculty. Applicants to the integrated program:
- Must be enrolled in the History B.A. program. A student enrolled in this major must receive a grade of C or better, as specified in Senate Policy 82-44.
- Must have completed 60 credits of the undergraduate degree program (it is strongly suggested that students apply to the program prior to completing 100 credits).
- Must be accepted without reservation into the M.A. program in History.
- Should have a recommended overall GPA of 3.2 (on a 4.0 scale) in undergraduate coursework and a minimum GPA of 3.5 in all coursework completed for the major.
- Must present a departmentally approved plan of study in the application process.
- Must be recommended by the chairs of the Department's undergraduate and graduate committees.
Students must complete the requirements for a B.A. in history.
Students must complete the Master of History Requirements, which total 30 credit hours of graduate instruction, in addition to completing 123 credit hours of undergraduate instruction.
The 400-level courses, totaling 18 credit hours, can double-count towards both the B.A. and Master of History degrees.
Students must complete a minimum of 30 credit hours of graduate instruction over and above the 123 credit hours required of the B.A. degree in history. All 30 of these credit hours must be earned in 400-level, 500-level, or 600-level courses.
These 500-level courses must be grouped into two primary fields of study with a minimum of 6 credit hours in each field.
Student must have satisfactory academic performance to maintain enrollment in the program. A grade-point average of 3.0 in the 30 credit hours of graduate instruction is required to receive the master's degree.
Program Learning Objectives
- Apply a critical lens to the study of the past, understanding that history is not simply an account of what happened but the result of a process of interpretation and contextualization.
- Analyze the complex causality of past events, articulating how and why past events are affected by a variety of causes and influences—including, but not limited to, political, economic, religious, social, and environmental conditions and/or changes.
- Demonstrate chronological thinking, making sense of the past through periodization, and tracking patterns of change and continuity over time.
- Evaluate and interpret both primary and secondary source materials, judging credibility, reconstructing historical context, and making inferences about genre, audience, perspective, and purpose.
- Create historical arguments on the basis of evidence, in ways consistent with standards of academic integrity.
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.
Liberal Arts Academic Advising
Program Chair, History
1600 Woodland Road
Abington, PA 19001
Suggested Academic Plan
University Park 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.
|ENGL 15, 30, 137H, CAS 137H, or ESL 15‡||3||HIST SURVEY COURSE II*||3|
|HIST SURVEY COURSE I*||3||GENERAL EDUCATION COURSE||3|
|WORLD LANGUAGE LEVEL 1||3||GENERAL EDUCATION COURSE||3|
|GENERAL EDUCATION COURSE||3||GENERAL EDUCATION COURSE (GQ)||3|
|GENERAL EDUCATION COURSE (GQ)||3||WORLD LANGUAGE LEVEL 2||3|
|CAS 100||3||100/200 LEVEL HIST COURSE*||3|
|100/200 LEVEL HIST COURSE*||3||100/200 LEVEL HISTORY COURSE*||3|
|GENERAL EDUCATION COURSE||3||GENERAL EDUCATION COURSE||3|
|GENERAL EDUCATION COURSE||3||GENERAL EDUCATION CURSE||3|
|WORLD LANGUAGE LEVEL 3||4||B.A. KNOWLEDGE DOMAIN||3|
|HIST 302||3||ENGL 202B||3|
|100/200 LEVEL HIST COURSE*||3||100/200/LEVEL HIST COURSE*||3|
|GENERAL EDUCATION COURSE||3||400 LEVEL HIST COURSE*||3|
|B.A. KNOWLEDGE DOMAIN||3||GENERAL EDUCATION COURSE||3|
|400 LEVEL HIST COURSE*||3||400 LEVEL HIST COURSE*||3|
|400 LEVEL HIST COURSE*||3||HEALTH AND PHYSICAL ACTIVITY||1.5|
|B.A. KNOWLEDGE DOMAINS||3||ELECTIVE||3|
|HEALTH AND PHYSICAL ACTIVITY||1.5|
|Total Credits 121|
* 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 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.
All incoming Schreyer Honors College first-year students at University Park will take ENGL/CAS 137 in the fall semester and ENGL/CAS 138 in the spring semester. These courses carry the GWS designation and replace both ENGL 30 and CAS 100. Each course is 3 credits.
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.
Penn State History majors have enjoyed success in a wide variety of fields. They are found in careers that relate to the major, such as historic preservation, museum work, and education; a healthy representation of our majors go on to law school and graduate school. However, it is not unusual to find former history majors in areas that might not immediately come to mind. Penn State history majors can be found in architecture, software development, web development, banking, federal government work, and the Peace Corps, to name just a few. They tend to do well because their basic skills are sound.
- Secondary Teaching
- Historic Preservation
- Governmental Organizations
- United Nations Organizations
- Non-Governmental Organizations
- Industry Leaders