Course code for this program is HIST. 

Bachelor's Degree Program(s)

Bachelor’s Degree in History

Students must complete the general requirements of the College of Arts and Sciences and the required courses listed below.

(Note: These requirements took effect at the beginning of the 2011 summer term. Students who became history majors prior to that term may fall under previous major requirements and should consult one of the department’s undergraduate advisors to determine which requirements to follow.)

Total Hours. Students must complete 42 hours in history courses with grades of C- or better. Of those 42 hours, 24 must be at the upper division. Students should complete the required 1000-level survey courses, HIST 1800, and HIST 3000 before the end of their sophomore year and before they enroll in any 4000-level history classes.

Required Courses and Semester Credit Hours

Lower-division Requirements

  • One of following linked sequences of 1000-level survey courses—6
    HIST 1010 and 1020 Western Civilization 1 and Western Civilization 2; HIST 1015 and 1025 History of the United States to 1865 and History of the United States since 1865; HIST 1018 and 1028 Introduction to Early Latin American History to 1820 and Introduction to Modern Latin American History since 1820; HIST 1051 and 1061 World of the Ancient Greeks and The Rise and Fall of Ancient Rome; HIST 1113 and 1123 Introduction to British History to 1660 and Introduction to British History since 1660. (NOTE: The courses in your sequence do not have to be taken in chronological order.)
  • One 1000-level survey course from each of the two geographic areas not covered by your sequence—6
    United States: HIST 1015 or 1025
    Europe: HIST 1010, 1020, 1051, 1061, 1113, or 1123
    World Areas: HIST 1018, 1028, HIST 1038 Introduction to Latin American History, HIST 1108 Introduction to Jewish History, HIST 1208 Sub-Saharan Africa to 1800, HIST 1308 Introduction to Middle Eastern History, HIST 1408 Introduction to South Asian History, HIST 1608 Introduction to Chinese History, or HIST 1708 Introduction to Japanese History
  • HIST 1800 Introduction to Global History—3

Upper-division Requirements

  • HIST 3020 Historical Thinking and Writing—3
  • One 4000-level United States history course—3 
  • One 4000-level Europe history course—3
  • One 4000-level world areas history course—3
  • One 4000-level comparative or global history class—3
  • Two 4000-level HIST electives—6
  • One 3000-level Senior Seminar—3

Any additional 3000-level seminars can fulfill requirements that normally are fulfilled by 4000-level courses.

Lower- or Upper-division Elective Requirement 

  • Any other history course—3

Historical Period Requirement

Included in the 42 hours earned to complete the major requirements must be 6 hours in courses whose focus falls primarily before 1800 and 6 hours in courses whose focus falls primarily after 1800. 2000-level non-major HIST courses cannot be used to fulfill this requirement. (The department maintains a list of courses broken down by geographic areas and historical periods.)

Ancillary Written Communication Requirement

In addition to the history requirements listed above and a minimum of 42 credits in history, students must complete two writing courses with a C- or better, one course from each of the two lists of courses under the following written communication core requirements.

  • Lower-division Written Communication: ARSC 1080 College Writing and Research, ARSC 1150 Writing in Arts and Sciences, WRTG 1100 Extended First-Year Writing and Rhetoric, WRTG 1150 First-Year Writing and Rhetoric, WRTG 1250 Advanced First-Year Writing and Rhetoric, or any course that fulfills the upper-division written communication core requirement.—3
  • Upper-division Written Communication: WRTG/NRLN 3020 Topics in Writing or one of the following acceptable alternative upper-division writing classes: ARSC 3100 Multicultural Perspectives and Academic Discourse, ENVS 3020 Advanced Writing in Environmental Studies, HONR 3220 Advanced Honors Writing Workshop, PHIL 3480 Critical Thinking and Writing in Philosophy, RLST 3020 Advanced Writing in Religious Studies, WMST 3800 Advanced Writing in Feminist Studies, or WRTG 3007 Writing in the Visual Arts.—3

Note: Under normal circumstances, no more than 45 credit hours in history may be used toward a student’s total University of Colorado graduation requirements. Students must have a grade point average of at least 2.000 in the major in order to graduate. Students may receive credit for HIST 1020 and/or HIST 1025 and/or 3 lower-division elective HIST credits by obtaining a score of four or better on the high school Advanced Placement history test(s). Some types of International Baccalaureate credit are acceptable; consult one of the major advisors to determine individual applicability. The CLEP test is not accepted for credit.

All students majoring in history must complete at least 12 credit hours of upper-division history in courses taught by the CU-Boulder faculty. In addition, HIST 1800, HIST 3020, and the 3000-level Senior Seminar must be successfully completed on the CU-Boulder campus with a C-or better.

Graduating in Four Years 

Students should consult the Four-Year Guarantee Requirements for further information on eligibility for the four-year guarantee. The concept of “adequate progress” as it is used here only refers to maintaining eligibility for the four-year guarantee; it is not a requirement for the major. To maintain adequate progress in history, students must consult a history advisor each semester, but the following plan provides a rough outline of acceptable progress:

  • Declare the major no later than the second semester of the freshman year.

Recommended Sequence of Courses

Required Courses and Semester Credit Hours

Freshman Year: total 12

  • Any two of the required 1000-level HIST survey courses—6
  • HIST 1800 Introduction to Global History—3
  • The ancillary lower-division written communication course—3

Sophomore Year: total 12

  • The two remaining required 1000-level HIST survey courses—6
  • HIST 3020 Historical Thinking and Writing—3
  • One more 1000-level HIST survey course OR one 4000-level HIST lecture course—3

Junior Year: total 12

  • Three 4000-level HIST lecture courses—9
  • The ancillary upper-division written communication course—3

Senior Year: total 12

  • Three 4000-level HIST lecture courses—9
  • One 3000-level Senior Seminar—3

Grand total all terms: 48

Minor Program

The current requirements are as follows:

  • A total of 21 credit hours in history, of which at least 12 hours must be upper-division. Courses intended to count for the minor may not be taken on a pass/fail basis, and students must earn a C- or better in any course to be counted toward the 21-hour minor requirement.
  • At least 3 credit hours (one course each) must be taken in each of the three following geographical areas: the United States, Europe, and World Areas (the latter field is comprised of Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, China, Japan, and South Asia).

Additional Information about the Minor Program

2000-level HIST courses and courses taken for core curriculum credit are applicable to the minor. 4000-level courses may be used to fulfill both upper-division hours and geographic area hours.

HIST 1800 and all 3000-level HIST courses are restricted to history majors. 3000-level courses may occasionally be taken by minors if the course is not full as of the second week of drop-add and/or you have written permission from the instructor. See the history academic advisor at history.colorado.edu/undergraduates/advising to register.

For a worksheet to help you with your minor planning, go to history.colorado.edu/sites/default/files/HIST_minor_tracking_sheet.pdf. (Note: this form is not interactive and must be printed.)

If you are not a history minor and would like to become one, please make an appointment to see the history undergraduate advisor at history.colorado.edu/undergraduates/advising.

Graduate Degree Program(s)

Graduate Study in History

Students wishing to pursue graduate work in history leading to candidacy for an advanced degree should read carefully requirements for advanced degrees in the Graduate School section. The following are special departmental requirements. Additional information should be obtained from the Department of History.

Admission Requirements. For purposes of admission to the graduate program, the general Graduate Record Examination is required and a score in the 85th percentile or above on the verbal component is generally expected.

Master’s Degree

Prerequisites. As general preparation for graduate work in history, a broad liberal arts education, as well as a major in history, are desirable, though not specifically required. Candidates for graduate degrees may be required to pursue such fundamental courses in history as the department deems necessary to provide a suitable historical background.

Residence. While it is possible to obtain the MA degree in two full semesters of residence, more time is generally necessary.

Degree Requirements. A total of 24 credit hours of course work plus 6 hours of MA thesis, or 30 credit hours of course work without a thesis, is required for the degree. A comprehensive examination must be passed in the field of study before the degree is granted.

Doctoral Degree

Prerequisites. Students who wish to work toward the PhD degree in history must indicate knowledge of certain fields of history, acquaintance with the fundamental tools of historical scholarship, and the ability to do original work. The PhD program does not require the completion of a master’s degree, but directly admits those qualified applicants who hold an undergraduate history degree or who have completed appropriate undergraduate history preparation and who have been recommended by the graduate admissions committee.

Residence. At least three years of graduate study, two of which must be spent in residence, are required for the PhD degree.

Degree Requirements. A total of 45 postbaccalaureate credit hours, at least 30 of which must be taken at this university, and a dissertation are required for the degree. A minimum of one foreign language is required; however, students must be able to use those languages essential to research and advanced study in their respective fields. In addition, as required by the Graduate School, those students pursuing a PhD should complete a minimum of 30 credit hours of dissertation work beyond the minimum course work requirement. 

A comprehensive written and oral examination, a dissertation which is an original contribution to knowledge, and an oral -examination on the dissertation must be successfully completed.