Requirements for the Major and Minor in History

Requirements for the Major

The minimum major requires nine (9) units of coursework, including two 300-level units. Majors must include at least one seminar in their 300-level coursework. Seven of the nine units and all 300-level work must be taken at Wellesley. For the purposes of major credit, courses taken at MIT are not considered courses taken at Wellesley. AP or IB credits may not be applied toward the major. Depending on the student's field of study, one course in a related field outside of history may be applied, with the approval of the adviser, to the major.  One cross-listed course may be counted toward the major, but a student may not apply both a cross-listed and a related course toward the completion of the major.

Majors in history are allowed great latitude in designing a program to have breadth and depth. To ensure breadth, the program must include: (1) at least one course (1.0 unit) in the history of Africa, China, Japan, Latin America, the Middle East, or South Asia; and (2) at least one course (1.0 unit) in the history of Europe, the United States, or Russia; (3) at least one course (1.0 unit) in premodern history. To ensure depth of historical understanding, we urge majors to focus eventually upon a special field of study, such as (1) a particular geographical area, country, or culture; (2) a specific time period; (3) a particular historical approach, e.g., intellectual and cultural history, social and economic history; or (4) a specific historical theme, e.g., the history of women, revolutions, colonialism.

Requirements for the Minor

The history minor consists of a minimum of five units of coursework, of which at least four courses (4.0 units) must be above the 100 level and at least one course (1.0 unit) at the 300 level (excluding 350). Of these five courses, at least three courses (3.0 units) should represent a coherent and integrated field of interest, such as, for example, American history, Medieval and Renaissance history, or social history. Of the other courses, at least one course (1.0 unit) should be in a different field. Normally at least four courses (4.0 units) must be taken at Wellesley, and related courses in other departments will not count toward the minor.


The only path to honors is the senior thesis. To be eligible for honors in History, a candidate must have a grade-point average of 3.5 or higher in courses applied to the major and must complete six (6) of the nine (9) major units of coursework, including, ordinarily, a 300-level seminar, before the end of their junior year.  Please consult our Honors page or ask at the History office.

Teacher Certification

Students interested in obtaining certification to teach history in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts should consult the chair of the Education Department.

Interdepartmental Majors

Students interested in a major combining history and international relations should consider the interdepartmental major in International Relations-History.