History Major/Minor

Major and Minor in History

Requirements for the Major

The minimum major requires nine (9) units of coursework, including two 300-level units (2.0). Majors must include at least one seminar in their program of two 300-level units. 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 Wellesley courses. 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 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 count both a cross-listed and a related course toward the major.

Majors in history are allowed great latitude in designing a program of study, but it is important for 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; (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 encourage 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 one course (1.0 unit) must be 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 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. As specified in College legislation, candidates for honors 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) required units of coursework, including, ordinarily, a 300-level seminar, before the end of their junior year. Normally, an honors student will complete the History major by taking eight History courses (two of which can be taken abroad or at MIT) in addition to the honors thesis (HIST 360 and HIST 370), which gives them a 10-course major. 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.