Majoring and Minoring in History

Majors and Minors

Admission to the department as a major or minor normally requires a B average in at least two history courses taken at Swarthmore and a satisfactory standard of work in all courses. In addition, admission to double credit seminars and the Honors Program as either a major or minor requires a B+ average in at least two Swarthmore history courses, a record of active and informed participation in class discussions, and recommendations from History Department faculty members. Courses in Greek and Roman history offered by the Classics Department count toward this prerequisite. Students who intend to continue the study of history after graduation should bear in mind that a reading knowledge of one or two foreign languages is generally assumed for admission to graduate school.

All majors in history must take at least nine credits in history that fulfill the following requirements:

  • They complete at least six of their nine credits at Swarthmore.
  • They take at least one course or seminar at Swarthmore from each of the following categories:
    1. before 1750 (including CLAS 031, 032, 042, 044, 056, and 066)
    2. outside Europe and the United States, specifically Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Near East. This distribution requirement (see courses or visit the department office) encourages students to explore various fields of history and engage in comparative historical analysis. Students must use different courses or seminars to fulfill this requirement. A list of these distribution courses is on file in the department office.
  • They successfully complete the Senior Research Seminar (HIST 091) in which students write a research paper based on primary sources. This course is only offered during the fall semester. The department encourages students to suggest possible research topics in their sophomore papers and to select topics by the end of their junior year.

Course Major

Complete at least 9 credits in history meeting these requirements.

Course Minor

Complete five history credits at Swarthmore College (AP, transfer credit, and courses taken abroad do not count). Two of the five credits must be from courses above the introductory level, and one credit may be in a history course offered by the Classics Department.