BA in History

GW History Students in Class

The Bachelor of Arts in History immerses students in the art, literature, stories and artifacts of civilizations from all over the world. Many students round out their curricula with research seminars or integrate their passions in a related field, such as political science, art history or a foreign language. Others deepen their expertise on a particular era or region through a focused specialization

With unparalleled access to world-renowned archives and libraries, students majors have history at their fingertips.

How to Declare a Major

  1. Download and complete the department’s Major Information Form (PDF).
  2. Bring it to the History Department undergraduate advisor, who will assign you an advisor from the department.
  3. Meet with the assigned history advisor during their office hours and bring a copy of the Declaration of Major/Minor Form for their signature.
  4. Bring a signed copy of the Declaration of Major/Minor Form to the History Department office so that we can add you to the history majors listserv.
  5. Submit the signed declaration form to the Undergraduate Advising Office.

Optional Specializations

GW History Professor Pointing at Screen

Specializations prepare students to be competitive candidates in history-related fields. Students may choose a field, region, chronological period or a combination thereof. 

To specialize, history majors must choose the name of their specialization and pick at least six courses that apply toward it. The History Department undergraduate advisor must approve the chosen field and courses. Up to two courses may be chosen from other academic departments, with the undergraduate advisor’s approval. Up to two courses may also be supervised internships (HIST 3095). For course and specialization ideas, students should consult current class offerings and faculty areas of study.

Sample Specialization Curricula 

In addition to these examples, the History Department offers a number of other classes that would suit topics like borderlands and transnational histories, Native American history, European economic history and more. 

Imperial History

HIST 1120: European Civilization in its World Context
HIST 2001: Empires and Imperialism: Rome to Washington
HIST 2001: Islam and Imperialism
HIST 2105W: European Decolonization
HIST 3301W: The Cold War in Asia
HIST 3137: The British Empire

The Atlantic World

HIST 2301: Colonial North America
HIST 2520: Africans in the Making of the Atlantic World
HIST 3137: The British Empire
HIST 3301: Pilgrims and Indians
HIST 3303: Revolutionary America
HIST 3701: Argentina in Global Context

South Asian History

HIST 2105W: European Decolonization
HIST 3035: The United States and the Wars in Indochina, 1945-1975
HIST 3301W: The Cold War in Asia
HIST 3601: World War II in Asia Pacific
HIST 3601: Vietnam: Colonialism, War, Revolution
HIST 3640: History of Southeast Asia

Special Departmental Honors

Two GW History students at Research Days

Students interested in earning special honors in history to be noted on their transcript must meet requirements and complete the Senior Honors Thesis course (HIST 4099) and accompanying paper.



Honors Requirements
  1. Meet GW’s general special honors requirements.
  2. Graduate with a GPA of 3.3 overall and 3.5 in history major classes.
  3. Find an advisor willing to work with you on a senior honors thesis as a tutorial. You should not expect faculty members to agree to serve as advisors unless you have taken at least one class with them and done very well.
  4. Sign up for HIST 4098W in the semester before you plan on writing the honors thesis, and complete the course with a grade of A- or higher.
  5. Sign up for HIST 4099 (Senior Honors Thesis) in the semester following completion of HIST 4098W. Complete a Registration Transaction Form and notify the departmental undergraduate advisor of registration.
  6. Complete HIST 4099 with a final grade of A- or higher.
2018–19 Honors Students

Martha Ball
Jordan Cassel
Keegan Claufield
Noah Duell
Lydia Francis
Veronica LaDu
Margaret McCool
Samuel Nohra
Harry O'Gorman
Samuel Pfister
Magdal Pszonak
Zachary Sanders
Francis Shin
David Skalkowski
Isaac Strauss
Amanda Urban
Di Wang
Elliot Warren


BA Course Requirements

Course List
General requirements for the major
A minimum of 13 History (HIST) courses, some of which may be waived by examination, as follows:
Introductory course requirements
At least one but no more than three introductory courses numbered in the 1000s. These might include, but are not limited to, HIST 1011, HIST 1120, HIST 1121, HIST 1310, and HIST 1311.
Alternatively, the introductory course requirement may be fulfilled by examination as follows: Scoring 4 or 5 on the U.S. (6 credits combined for HIST 1310 and HIST 1311), European (3 credits for HIST 1120), and World (3 credits for HIST 1011) Advanced Placement Examination; or by scoring 7 or above in an appropriate International Baccalaureate program. In addition, the following courses may be waived by scoring 650 or above on the SAT II World (HIST 1011) or U.S History (HIST 1310 and HIST 1311).
Majors’ Introductory Seminar
One Majors’ Introductory Seminar, selected from the following:
HIST 2005Majors’ Introductory Seminar
HIST 2105Majors’ Introductory Seminar: Europe
or HIST 2105W Majors’ Introductory Seminar: Europe
HIST 2305Majors' Introductory Seminar: United States
or HIST 2305W Majors’ Introductory Seminar: United States
HIST 2505Majors’ Introductory Seminar: Africa
HIST 2605Majors' Introductory Seminar: Asia
or HIST 2605W Majors’ Introductory Seminar: Asia
HIST 2705Majors' Introductory Seminar: Latin America
or HIST 2705W Majors’ Introductory Seminar: Latin America
HIST 2805Majors' Introductory Seminar: Middle East
or HIST 2805W Majors’ Introductory Seminar: Middle East
Senior or Honors thesis or capstone
HIST 4098Thesis Seminar
or HIST 4098W Thesis Seminar
HIST 4099Senior Honors Thesis Tutorial
or HIST 4099W Senior Honors Thesis Tutorial
Students with an overall GPA of 3.3 and a GPA of 3.5 in completed History courses may write a Special Honors Thesis. Students must find a thesis advisor who is a full-time member of the faculty.
An equivalent capstone project approved by the thesis instructor may be completed in lieu of the thesis.
Upper-level course requirements
In addition to the Majors’ Introductory Seminar, eight to ten upper-level courses numbered in the 2000s and 3000s, taken as follows:
Topical courses
Of the upper-level courses (including, for this purpose, the Majors’ Introductory Seminar), at least one course must be taken from three of the following groups. At least one of these courses must focus on the period before 1750.
HIST Group A: Europe (courses numbered in the 2100s or 3100s)
HIST Group B: North America (courses in the 2300s or 3300s)
HIST Group C: Africa (courses in the 2500s or 3500s)
HIST Group D: Asia (courses in the 2600s or 3600s)
HIST Group E: Latin America (courses in the 2700s or 3700s)
HIST Group F: Middle East (courses in the 2800s or 3800s)
HIST Group G: Theory/Methods
Dean’s Seminars and Honors (HONR) courses taught by members of the History Department faculty, Majors’ Introductory Seminars, and HIST 2001, HIST 2005 and HIST 3001 may count toward the topical requirement, to be determined on a case-by-case basis.
With the approval of the Director of Undergraduate Studies or departmental delegate, a history major may, but is not required to, declare a specialization by having at least six courses contribute to the student’s knowledge of a specific field. An area of specialization might be a geographic region, chronological period, or other topic (such as women’s history, legal history, or military history), or a combination thereof. Up to two courses counting for the specialization may be taken in other departments with the approval of the Director of Undergraduate Studies or departmental delegate.
Foreign language
A foreign language is not required, but majors are strongly encouraged to take at least two semesters of a foreign language, particularly if they plan to pursue a graduate degree in history.