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Bachelor of Arts in History

The following History Bachelor of Arts degree requirements apply to students declaring the History major on or after September 1, 2008. Students who declared on or before August 31, 2008 should consult the Stanford Bulletin, 2007-08 for the History B.A. degree requirements applicable at that time.


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 101-199. (Winter/Spring IHUM History offerings are also allowed.) The choices for 2011-12 are:


History majors are required to complete the following:

  1. Completion of a minimum of 63 units and at least 13 courses of at least 3 units each, to include:
    1. one Sources and Methods seminar (HISTORY 1S-99S)

      Note: Students must complete the Sources and Methods Seminar requirement prior to enrolling in the Research Seminar for Majors.

    2. two 200-level undergraduate colloquia (HISTORY 200-298)
    3. at least one other small group course, to be chosen among the department's undergraduate colloquia, research seminars, or Stanford Introductory Seminars.
    4. two lecture courses, one of which must be either a Europe survey course (such as HISTORY 110A,B,C) or a United States survey course (such as HISTORY 150A,B,C); the second must be a lecture course in African, Asian, Middle East, or Latin American History. Students may count courses they took as prerequisites to the major for this requirement.
  2. Courses comprising the 63 units must be taken for a letter grade, and the student must maintain a grade point average (GPA) in History courses of 2.0 or higher.
  3. At least nine courses must be taken from within the Stanford Department of History. Transfer students and those who study abroad may be granted exemptions from this requirement at the discretion of the Director of Undergraduate Studies.
  4. Completion of the Writing in the Major requirement. This requirement is satisfied by completing a Research Seminar for Majors (HISTORY 209S) and writing a 20-25 page essay based on original research and including at least two drafts. The Research Seminar for Majors may be taken in either the junior or the senior year. Students must complete the Sources & Methods seminar before enrolling in the Research Seminar.
  5. At least six quarters of enrollment in the major. Each candidate for the B.A. in History should declare the major by the Autumn Quarter of the third year of study or earlier, if possible.
  6. One Directed Writing (299W) or Directed Research (299S) taken for 3-5 units and for a letter grade may be applied toward the thirteen courses required for the B.A. in History.
  7. Capstone: The History department organizes a series of luncheon workshops in May, at which students present their research essays and honors theses.

Completion of the major requires planning. History majors should plan to meet with their faculty advisers 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 add/drop deadline.

The department also encourages students to acquire proficiency in foreign languages and study at one of Stanford's overseas programs. Such studies are not only valuable in themselves; they can provide an opportunity for independent research and a foundation for honors essays and graduate study.

Advanced Placement credits do not fulfill any major requirements.

For further information on History courses' satisfaction of major requirements, see


History's Writing in the Major requirement is satisfied by completing HISTORY 209S, Research Seminar for Majors.

This course may be taken in either the junior or senior year, but not before completing the sources and methods seminar requirement. Students write a 20-25 page research essay. Original research and revision are important parts of the research essay. Students must conduct substantial research in the libraries and must submit at least two drafts (a rough draft and a final draft) of the essay. Any student wishing to write an honors thesis must take HISTORY 209S, Research Seminar for Majors, in the junior year and use it to begin work on the thesis; this work can take the place of a research essay.

HISTORY 209S fulfills the WIM requirement only. It does not fulfill geographical requirements or small group course requirements.

Students select their research topics based on the general topic of each quarter's offering.


For a limited number of majors, the department offers a special program leading to Departmental Honors in History. Students accepted for this program, in additional to fulfilling the general requirements stated above, begin work on an essay in Spring Quarter of the junior year and complete the essay by mid-May of the senior year. In addition to HISTORY 299H, The Junior Honors Colloquium, students must enroll in 11-15 units of Senior Research in the senior year, to be distributed as best fits their specific project. For students in the Honors program, Senior Research units (299A,B,C) are taken in addition to the thirteen required courses in History.

To enter this program, the student must be accepted by a member of the department who agrees to advise the research and writing of the essay, and must complete the Junior Honors Colloquium (299H) offered in Winter Quarter. An exception to the latter requirement may be made for those studying overseas Winter Quarter of the junior year, but such students should consult with the director of the honors program, if possible, prior to going overseas. Students who study abroad for the entire junior year and want to write an honors thesis should plan to take the Research Seminar for Majors in the first quarter following completion of the study abroad program. Under exceptional circumstances, students are admitted to the program in Autumn Quarter of the senior year. Such students must not enroll in any HISTORY 299A,B,C, Senior Research I,II,III units until HISTORY 209S, Research Seminar for Majors, has been completed.

In considering an applicant for such a project, the adviser and director of the honors program take into account general preparation in the field of the project and expect a GPA of at least 3.3 (B+) in the student's previous work in History and in the University. Students completing the thesis with a grade of 'B+' or higher are eligible for Departmental Honors in History. To enter the Honors program, apply at the Department of History office.

Outstanding Honors essays may be considered for the University's Robert M. Golden Medals, as well as for departmental James Birdsall Weter prizes.

Honors Program Requirements—To graduate with departmental honors in History, students must:

  1. complete HISTORY 299H in the junior year
  2. maintain a 3.3 GPA in History courses and throughout the University during the final 5 quarters of enrollment/thesis preparation
  3. select both a primary thesis adviser (who is a member of the Stanford History faculty) and a secondary adviser (who is a Stanford University faculty member) no later than Autumn Quarter of the senior year
  4. submit on May 14, 2012 by noon a 65-120 page honors thesis including bibliography that receives a grade of 'B+' or better
  5. enroll in the 11-15 units of Senior Research as specified below
  6. participate in mandatory Honors Program activities throughout senior year (including, but not limited to, writing workshops and the annual Honors Day oral presentations) as specified in the Honors Program Handbook.

HISTORY 299A,B,C do not fulfill any history major requirements other than honors, but the units do count towards the 180 required for B.A. degree conferral.

Required Course—To be taken in the junior year:

Required Course—Recommended to be taken in junior year:

An exception (for HISTORY 299H) may be made for those studying overseas Winter Quarter of the junior year, but such students should consult with the Director of the Honors Program prior to going overseas.

To be taken in the senior year:


Courses offered by Stanford's Bing Overseas Studies Program and appearing on the History department's cognate course list automatically receive credit towards the major or minor in History. Course work completed in non-Stanford Study Abroad programs is evaluated for major/minor credit by designated History department faculty on a case-by-case basis. Students in non-Stanford Study Abroad programs are advised to take classes with reading and writing components comparable to History department course loads.

History Fields of Study or Degree Options

The Department of History offers the following tracks to the B.A. in History. These tracks are not declared on Axess. The tracks are:

The General History track emphasizes breadth of study among historical areas and periods as well as concentration in one selected field. The five tracks with interdisciplinary emphasis (Global Affairs and World History; History, Literature and the Arts; History of Science and Medicine; History and the Law; and Public History/Public Service) combine the study of history with the methods and approaches of other disciplines, and involve substantial course work outside of History.

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