Why study history?

Because it’s our past, your future.

Undergraduate Admission

Admission to KU

All students applying for admission must send high school and college transcripts to the Office of Admissions. Unless they are college transfer students with at least 24 hours of credit, prospective students must send ACT or SAT scores to the Office of Admissions. Prospective first-year students should be aware that KU has qualified admission requirements that all new first-year students must meet to be admitted. Consult the Office of Admissions for application deadlines and specific admission requirements.

Visit the Office of International Student and Scholar Services for information about international admissions.

Students considering transferring to KU may see how their college-level course work will transfer on the Office of Admissions website.

Admission to the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Admission to the College is a different process from admission to a major field. Some CLAS departments have admission requirements. See individual department/program sections for departmental admission requirements.

History Program

The history major allows students to explore the richness and diversity of human experience in the past while building skills of analysis, interpretation, research, and communication. All history majors gain knowledge of significant historical transformations that have shaped the world. History majors learn to think critically, to conduct historical research, and to present the results of their research in clear and coherent writing.

First- and Second-Year Preparation

Prospective majors are encouraged to enroll in 1 or 2 introductory courses at the 100 or 300 level in the first 2 years. Many introductory history courses fulfill the College’s HT or NW principal course requirements, and prospective majors might choose one of them to explore their interests in history. Students who come to KU with AP or transfer credit should be aware that only 6 hours of history course work numbered 100-299 may be counted toward the major. Students interested in history as a major are encouraged to meet with a department advisor early in their careers at KU to discuss their academic goals and interests. Contact the undergraduate secretary to schedule an advising appointment.

Requirements for the B.A. or B.G.S. Major

History Major Core Knowledge and Skills (3)
Majors must complete a course in the following area:
The Historian’s Craft. Satisfied by:
HIST 301The Historian's Craft3
or HIST 302 The Historian's Craft, Honors
History Required Electives (24)
Majors must complete 5 courses (15 hours) in either category below; 3 courses (9 hours) are required from the other category below:24
History Category I: Western Orientation. Satisfied by courses in Ancient, Medieval, Modern Western Europe, History of Science, Russia/Eastern Europe, United States:
Environment and History
Introduction to Ancient Near Eastern and Greek History
Introduction to Roman History
Introduction to the Ancient World
Medieval History
Introduction to British History
Renaissance to Revolution: Europe 1500-1789
French Revolution to the Present: Europe 1789-Present
French Revolution to the Present: Europe 1789 to Present, Honors
Russia, an Introductory History
History of the United States Through the Civil War
History of the United States After the Civil War
Early Science to 1700
Global Environment I: The Discovery of Environmental Change
Global Environment II: The Ecology of Human Civilization
Sin Cities
1642, 1688, 1776: Three British Revolutions
The Scientific Revolution
Science and Western Culture
Key Themes in Modern Global History
History of Chemistry
American Culture, 1600-1876
Great Lives in Science
American Culture, 1877 to the Present
Conspiracies and Paranoia in American History
Globalization: History and Theory
History, Women, and Diversity in the U.S.
From Goddesses to Witches: Women in Premodern Europe
From Mystics to Feminists: Women's History in Europe 1600 to the Present
History of Women and the Body
The Spanish Inquisition
History of War and Peace
Revolt and Revolution in Early Modern Europe
Atlantic Societies, 1450-1800: A Comparative History of European Colonization
Eurometro: Visions of the European Metropolis, 1849-1939
The Great War: The History of World War I
The History of the Second World War
Hitler and Nazi Germany
The Holocaust in History
Hard Times: The Depression Years in America, 1929-1941
Law and Society in America
Environmental History of North America
History of the Peoples of Kansas
The Korean War, 1950-1953
Science and Religion
Youth, Sex, and Romance in Post-WWII United States
Invention of the Tropics
Old Regime and Revolution in France, 1648-1799
The Supreme Court and Religious Issues in the United States
The Supreme Court and Religious Issues in the United States, Honors
Everyday Communism in Eastern Europe
Revolutionary Europe: The People in Arms
Themes in British History
Roman Military History
Technology: Its Past and Its Future
History of Science in the United States
The American Revolution
The New Republic: U.S. History 1787-1848
The Civil War in America, 1828-1877
The Rise of Industrial America, 1877-1920
Dante's Comedy
Economic and Social History of Later Medieval Europe, 1000-1500
Venice and Florence in the Renaissance
History of the Mediterranean World, 1099-1571
War and United States Society
Frozen in Time: Politics and Culture in the Cold War, 1945-75
Anarchism: A Global History
History of the Book
Development of Ancient Greece, ca. 1000-300 B.C.
The Ancient History of the Near East
Roman Republic
Early Roman Empire
Late Roman Empire (284-527)
Multinational Corporations: The Role of Money and Power
Early Medieval Culture
The Crusades in Cross-Cultural Perspective
Later Medieval Culture
European Intellectual History of the Seventeenth Century
The Age of the Renaissance
The Age of the Reformation
The Age of Religious Wars, 1540-1648
Europe between Absolutism and Revolution
The French Revolution
Modern France: From Napoleon to de Gaulle
Recent European History, 1870 to the Present
Economic History of Europe
Intellectual History of 19th Century Europe
History of American Women--Colonial Times to 1870
History of American Women--1870 to Present
History of Women and Work in Comparative Perspective
The History of Women and the Family in Europe, from 1500 to the Present
France from the Renaissance to the French Revolution
European Intellectual History of the Eighteenth Century
British History, 1500-1660
Britain and Ireland from 1200 to 1500
British History, 1660-1832
History of Cartography
The Intellectual History of Europe in the Twentieth Century
Rise of Modern Britain
Spain and its Empire, 1450-1700
Aspects of British Political Thought
Aspects of British Political Thought, Honors
Nationalism and Communism in East Central Europe from 1772 to the Present
Religion in Britain Since the Reformation: A Survey
Religion in Britain Since the Reformation: A Survey, Honors
The Value of Freedom
United States Environmental History in the 20th Century
U.S. Environmental Thought in the 20th Century
Medieval Russia
Imperial Russia
Rise and Fall of the Soviet Union
Slavery in the New World
Food in History: West and East
Oral History
Religion in Britain 1785-1925
History of Sexuality
American Colonial History
Slavery and Freedom in the Age of Jackson
Rise of Modern America: Politics, Culture, and Society, 1900-1950
Contemporary America, 1941-Present
America in the 1960's
History of the American West to 1900
History of Kansas
The American West in the 20th Century
American Economic Development
The United States and the World to 1890
The United States and the World, 1890-2003
The Contemporary Afro-American Experience
Agriculture in World History
Witches in European History and Historiography
History of Feminist Theory
American Constitutional History to 1887
American Constitutional History Since 1887
Palestine and Antiquity
Comparative Diasporas
Philosophy of History
History Category II: Non-western Orientation. Satisfied by courses in Africa, East Asia, Latin America, Native America:
Introduction to African History
Warlords and Rebels in Asia
Dawn of Japan
History of East Asia
History of East Asia, Honors
Colonial Latin America
Modern Latin America
Colonial Latin America, Honors
Modern Latin America, Honors
Introduction to West African History
Modern Africa
Sin Cities
Modern Africa, Honors
Key Themes in Modern Global History
Globalization: History and Theory
Native American Civilizations and their European Conquerors
The Premodern Middle East
The Modern Middle East
History of the Peoples of Kansas
Indigenous Peoples of North America
Invention of the Tropics
Colonialism and Revolution in the Third World, Honors
Violence and Conflict in Latin American History
The Cultural History of Modern Latin America
Violence and Conflict in Latin American History, Honors
Huns, Turks, and Mongols: The Nomad Factor in Asian History
The Silk Road
From Mao to Now: China's Red Revolution
Introduction to History of Japan: Anime to Zen
The Samurai
Anarchism: A Global History
Popular Culture in Latin America and Africa
Social History of South America
The Ancient History of the Near East
Liberation in Southern Africa
The Middle East After World War II
Latin America in the 19th Century
Slavery in the New World
History of Mexico
History of the Caribbean and Central America
The History of Brazil
Economic History of Latin America
Ancient Japan
Imperial China
Modern China
Early Modern Japan
Japan, 1853-1945
Japan Since 1945
Cultural History of Korea
Food in History: West and East
Modern Korea
Law and Society in Traditional China
Defining Japan: Marginalized Groups and the Construction of National Identity
Japanese Theater History
Sexuality and Gender in African History
The Rise and Fall of Apartheid
West African History
Oral History
History of Tibet
Contemporary Greater China
Medieval Japan
History of Federal Indian Law and Policy
History of the American West to 1900
History of the American Indian
History of the Plains Indians
Agriculture in World History
Entrepreneurship in East Asia
Comparative Diasporas
History Capstone Seminar (3)
Majors must complete a capstone research experience in which they research and write an original thesis based on primary sources. It normally is taken during the senior year. Alternatively, majors with a GPA above 3.5 may choose to write a senior honors thesis. Satisfied by one of the following:
HIST 696Seminar in: _____3
or HIST 498
  & HIST 490
Undergraduate History Honors Seminar
   and Honors Course in History

History Major Hours & Major GPA

While completing all required courses, majors must also meet each of the following hour and grade point average minimum standards:

Major Hours
Satisfied by 30 hours of major courses. No more than 2 HIST 492 Readings in History courses may be applied to the major. Only courses taken in the Department of History or cross-listed in other units are accepted for credit toward the major.

Major Hours in Residence
Satisfied by a minimum of 15 hours of KU resident credit in the major. 

Major Junior/Senior Hours
Satisfied by a minimum of 24 hours from junior/senior courses (300+) in the major.  Of these 24 hours, at least 6 hours (two courses) must be taken at the 500-699 level (in addition to HIST 696).

Major Junior/Senior Graduation (300+) GPA
Satisfied by a minimum of a 2.0 KU GPA in junior/senior courses (300+) in the major. GPA calculations include all junior/senior courses in the field of study including F’s and repeated courses. See the Semester/Cumulative GPA Calculator.

Graduation Plan

With careful planning and commitment to a full-time course load, you can graduate in 4 years. Consult the department for details.

Double Majors

Many history majors choose to pursue a second major. Fulfilling the requirements of 2 majors in a timely fashion requires careful choice of courses. Consult a department advisor.

A sample 4-year plan for the BA degree in History can be found here: History, or by using the left-side navigation.

A sample 4-year plan for the BGS degree in History can be found using the left-side navigation.

Departmental Honors

The honors program in history allows exceptional undergraduates to work closely with faculty members on a research project. To graduate with honors, a student must complete the requirements for the major in history, including HIST 301 but excluding HIST 696 Seminar.

Students in the honors program also must take HIST 498 Undergraduate History Honors Seminar and HIST 490 Honors Course in History, directed research. Usually, HIST 490 is offered in the fall semester and HIST 498 in the spring. Or a prospective honors student may complete HIST 696 and, by invitation, enroll in HIST 490 to develop the seminar paper into an honors thesis.

Prospective honors candidates are encouraged to select a thesis topic and thesis director in the junior year. The honors seminar helps students write their theses and allows them to learn from each other in a small-group setting. The honors coordinator assists students during both semesters.

To enroll in the program requires at least

  1. A 3.5 grade-point average in history and a 3.25 overall cumulative grade-point average, which must be maintained throughout the student’s final years of enrollment; and
  2. Acceptance by a thesis director, a history faculty member, before entering the program.

Each student who completes an honors thesis must defend it in an oral examination before a thesis committee of 3 faculty members. The student’s thesis director chairs and chooses the committee in consultation with the student and the honors coordinator. In most cases, the committee is composed of history faculty members. A student who wants the committee to include faculty members from outside the department should inform the thesis director by March 1. A copy of the thesis is deposited in the department.

Petitions for exceptions to these regulations should be submitted to the honors coordinator.