History Major

History students and faculty

St. Olaf’s history offerings are structured to help students achieve different learning goals at different
levels. In Level-I seminars, students approach history as a way of learning through a variety of historical
topics and through the reading of primary sources. In Foundation courses, they explore the broad
historical development of the world’s major societies and cultures.  In Level-II courses, students examine more specialized national, area, and topical developments.  Finally, Level-III seminars challenge students to recognize historical problems and to formulate their own questions about history, historiography, and historical methods.

History courses at Levels I and II generally do not have prerequisites.  Level-I seminars are only open to first-year students. Before entering Level-III courses, students with little or no background in a particular area or period should consult with the instructor.

Requirements for the Major

History majors are required to take nine courses, including one Level-II major seminar and three courses at Level III. Three Level-I courses (but no more than two seminars) may count toward the major. Students must take at least one course in each of three global areas: Category 1 (Africa, Asia, Latin America), Category 2 (United States), and Category 3 (Europe & Russia). This area requirement should normally be fulfilled in Level-I or Level-II courses.  At least two courses in the major must focus on the pre-modern period (pre-1800 for Europe, pre-1900 for the U.S. and the rest of the world).

Other courses may meet this requirement if approved by the department chair. Although multiple AP History exams (score of 5) may be accepted for credit toward graduation, only one of these exams can be counted toward the history major. Please consult the department chair to determine which one will be counted for the major.

See the requirements in a matrix format that you can use as a worksheet with your advisor.

Petition to Transfer Credit for History Courses Taken Off-Campus

If you are planning to study abroad, you need to meet with History Professor Timothy Howe prior to departure to discuss the course(s) you plan to take while abroad and whether the course(s) will count toward your History major (print the Petition to Transfer Credit for History Courses Taken Off-Campus prior to your meeting).

Course Descriptions

Additional helpful documents when considering a history major and planning which courses to take, are
listed below: