History inspires passion. Students major in history because they love history. The past can be beautiful, fascinating, and edifying. It can also be grim, arousing anger and indignation. Above all, analyzing the past offers fundamental insights into who we are, how the world works, and where it might be heading.
History classes at IU train you to understand:
- Why and how societies change over time.
- What people different from yourself believed in and why they made the decisions they did.
- The many guises of power – how it works, from the political to the personal.
In our History classes you learn about the many different facets of the past, from ancient city-states to modern nations, from everyday life to high politics, from war to art and music, and more. As varied as our courses are, in all of them you will hone skills of enduring value:
The History major will
- Make you a first-rate researcher;
- Capable of collating and analyzing vast amounts of knowledge and evidence;
- Producing sound and relevant arguments;
- And presenting them effectively in writing and orally.
Ultimately, the History major aims to train independent thinkers – giving you the confidence to explore complex questions, make sense of the world around you, arrive at your own conclusions, and carve out a path for yourself.
History majors complete a minimum of 30 credit hours of History classes (10 3-credit courses), of which 18 credit hours must be at the 300–400 level.
HIST-H270 is the gateway course for our majors. It introduces you to the practice of history and gives you a compass to approach the “foreign country” that is the past. It also builds community with your fellow majors, with whom you will work in more classes in the future.
The history courses you take as a major range from large lecture courses to small seminars. In all of them, you build knowledge and develop a sense of what’s at stake in studying and researching the past. You can choose freely from a truly global selection of topics and time periods. The only restriction is that one of your courses be on a pre-1750 topic, one on a post-1750 US/European topic, and one on a post-1750 non-US/non-European topic.
The most distinctive, challenging, and often the most rewarding elements of the major are the two required research seminars. In the J400 and the J425 you gain sustained practice in historical research as you explore topics of your choice.
Full details, along with a description of the courses that meet these requirements and a list of historical specialties, are on our degree requirements page.
Minors take 15 credit hours of History courses, at least 9 credits of which must be completed at the 300 and/or 400 level.
Student pursuing a minor in History can choose from the same wide variety of courses. No specific courses are required.
Adding a minor in History will add whole new dimension to your current major and your future career, whether in education, law, business, the media, public policy, or the arts.
Full details, along with a description of courses and historical areas, are on our degree requirements page.