The Undergraduate Program
“Whereas other subjects may make us smarter for next time,” said the great historian of the Renaissance, Jakob Burckhardt, “the study of history makes us wiser forever.” History prepares students for careers in law, government, diplomacy, international business, nonprofit administration, and education. But history is also good preparation for any other field that requires assessing evidence and making written and oral arguments, fields including engineering, medicine, and entrepreneurship. Moreover, history opens the mind to the full range of the human experience as it has unfolded over the ages. As an academic discipline at the crossroads of the humanities, the arts, and the social sciences, history is a unique gateway to the richness of the American cultural heritage, to the immense variety of world civilizations, and to understanding what has happened in the past and why.
To declare a major in history, consult with the undergraduate student affairs adviser on the fifth floor of H&SS. In selecting your field of emphasis, you may also consult with the director of undergraduate studies or other faculty members. The fields of emphasis are as follows: Africa (HIAF), East Asia (HIEA), Europe (HIEU), Near East (HINE), Latin America (HILA), History of Science (HISC), United States (HIUS); as well as the following three thematic fields: gender and sexuality; race, ethnicity, and migration; and war, revolution, and social change. A list of courses approved for the thematic fields is available in the department office or on its website, http://history.ucsd.edu. In special cases, upon approval of the director of undergraduate studies, students may devise a different field of emphasis (e.g., economic, legal, or social history).
The department also administers the following special research and instructional units: Chinese Studies; Judaic Studies; and the Committee on Area and Ethnic Studies and Research (CAESAR), which includes Classical Studies, European Studies, German Studies, Italian Studies, Japanese Studies, Middle East Studies, and Russian and Soviet Studies.
The department is fortunate in having the research and professional activities of its faculty supported by the Laura and John Galbraith Faculty Development Fund.
Basic requirements for the major are as follows:
- Three lower-division courses in history.
Lower-division courses may be selected from the following:
HILD 2 A-B-C. United States History
HILD 7 A-B-C. Race and Ethnicity in the U.S.A.
HILD 10-11-12. East Asia
HILD 14. Film and History in Latin America
Majors may also satisfy the lower-division requirement by completing the Revelle College Humanities Sequence or the Eleanor Roosevelt College Sequence “Making of the Modern World.” Some community college courses have been preapproved to count automatically toward the lower division requirement. Majors may petition for other courses from other schools to count toward the lower-division requirement or for AP credits to count.
- Twelve four-unit upper-division courses, distributed as follows:
- At least three courses in the field of emphasis.
- At least three courses in other fields within the department.
- Three of the twelve courses must focus on the period before 1800, indicated by the (+).
- At least one of the twelve courses must be a colloquium in which students write a substantial term paper. Colloquia are courses with numbers between 160 and 190, or others approved by the undergraduate adviser. Honors students take three colloquia (see below), and all students are encouraged to take more than one. Note: the colloquium need not be in the major field of emphasis.
Students majoring in history will normally take at least eight of their twelve upper-division history courses at UC San Diego. Exceptions may be made for transfer students and for students participating in the EAP/OAP program.
Special independent study courses, such as HITO 198, Directed Group Study, and HITO 199, Independent Study, are available, especially for students interested in the Honors Program and in graduate study.
With the exception of 199 courses, all work in the major must be taken for a letter grade. Of the twelve upper-division courses required in the major, no more than two may be History 199 credits. Exceptions to these rules may be approved by the director of undergraduate studies.
Established in 1983, the Armin Rappaport Memorial Fund endows an annual prize for the best graduating student in the major. The recipient of the award is announced at every June commencement.
The Honors Program
The department offers a special program for outstanding students. The Honors Program is especially recommended for those students interested in pursuing graduate study in history or allied fields. It is also a particularly effective preparation for professional careers. Candidates for History Honors are chosen during the spring quarter from among juniors in history who have taken at least four upper-division courses in the department. Juniors with a 3.5 GPA in history (3.0 overall) are eligible to apply. Admission to the program is based on the student’s academic work. Interested candidates should complete the application form (available in the Department of History office) by the second Friday of May.
In addition to regular course work in the department, the Honors Program consists of a colloquium in historiography offered in the fall quarter of the senior year and a program of independent study leading to the completion of an honors essay on a topic of the student’s choice. During the fall quarter of the senior year, candidates select a topic and begin preliminary work on the Honors essay in consultation with a major field adviser (HITO 194). During the winter quarter the student pursues a course of independent study devoted to the completion of the Honors essay (HITO 195). The award of History Honors is based on satisfactory completion of the colloquium in history and the Honors essay. Students are expected to maintain an average of 3.5 or better in all work taken within the department. Honors candidates must include at least three colloquia in their regular course work.
Candidates for history honors should organize their upper-division course work as follows:
- Six quarter-courses in one of the major fields offered by the department.
- Three quarter-courses in a field other than the primary one.
- Three of these nine quarter-courses must be colloquia.
- HITO 196. Colloquium in History.
- HITO 194 and 195. History Honors—Honors Essay.
Minors in History
The minor consists of at least seven courses, five of which must be upper-division. Although there is no specific distribution requirement, the courses should constitute a coherent curriculum. No more than two upper-division courses applied to a minor may be taken for Pass/Not Pass. Prospective minors in history should consult with an undergraduate adviser for approval of their program.
Education Abroad Program
History majors are encouraged to participate in the UC Education Abroad Program (EAP) or UC San Diego’s Opportunities Abroad Program (OAP), while still making progress toward completing their major. Students considering this option should discuss their plans with the departmental Educational Abroad faculty adviser before going abroad, and courses taken abroad must be approved by the department. (For more information on departmental procedures for study abroad see “Undergraduate Program” at http://history.ucsd.edu.) EAP is detailed in the Educational Abroad Program of the UC San Diego General Catalog, or visit http://programsabroad.ucsd.edu. Financial aid applies to study abroad, and scholarships are available. Contact the Programs Abroad Office in the International Center.