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Undergraduate Introduction

Undergraduate Program

Students majoring in history complete a total of 12 one-term 3-credit courses from the department's curriculum. The first four of these may be introductory courses that cover European, American, and global history. The other eight courses are completed at more advanced levels. Of the 12 courses required to complete the major, at least two must be taken in each of the three areas: (1) European (2) American (3) African, Asian, Latin American, or Native American History. At least one of the 12 courses must cover the period prior to the year 1500. The department encourages students to select a broad range of subjects. 

During their sophomore year, students take a History Workshop to introduce them to historical research and writing.  Then, in their junior or senior year, students register for the history seminar (506:401, 402) to explore a particular historical topic more deeply. The seminars provide training and practice in historical research methods and give students the opportunity to present original work in a professional setting. Each semester there are different choices of umbrella topics for students to register for; it is recommended that the student sign up for a topic of great interest to him or her. Past seminar topics have included an economic comparison of the U.S. and Japan, antiradicalism/anticommunism movements in the U.S., Cryptobiology, Science, Sex, and Society, and Daoism and Chinese Society. 

The department offers an honors program, the Phi Alpha Theta History Honors Society, a range of Public History Internships, Independent Study (Research in History or Readings in History), and connections to many historical research centers such as the Center for Historical Analysis and the Thomas A. Edison Papers project. 

"What can I do with a history major?"

Students often ask this question. A history major is excellent preparation for many professional careers in a variety of fields, including business, government, law, education, finance, and international affairs. In fact, a recent survey of college graduates published in the International Herald Tribune showed that history majors have employment opportunities in a much wider and more exciting range of fields than graduate students in more specialized areas of study. 

Many Rutgers history graduates successfully compete for admission to the best law, business, and graduate schools in the country.Some history majors have gone on to medical school by combining a  history major with an appropriate sequence of science courses. Some have earned the state teaching certificate by enrolling in the five-year BA/Master of Education program offered through the Graduate School of Education. Others pursue master's or doctoral degrees to conduct research and teach at the college level.

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