Undergraduate Admissions

Advising for History Majors/Minors

Undergraduate students who are considering a History concentration are encouraged to speak to the Department’s Director of Undergraduate Studies Prof. Thomas Long during office hours to discuss your course of study. Also, click on the major or minor pages to read about requirements and instructions. 

Advising for Undergraduate Majors/Minors

Caitlyn Borghi ('15) wins Gilder Lehrman Scholar Award

Caitlyn Borghi
April 09, 2015

Caitlyn Borghi ('15) has won a Gilder Lehrman Scholar Award, which covers an all-expense paid trip to New York City to participate in a week of seminars and archival visits with leading American historians. The prestigious national award "recognizes outstanding college juniors and seniors who have demonstrated academic and extracurricular excellence in American history or American studies as well as a commitment to public service and community involvement." Congratulations!


Washington, D.C. is one of the best places to study history in the United States.

History is literally made here, sometimes in front of your very eyes. Courses often rely on the amazing museum, archive and library resources available to our students, and make field trips to places such as the Museum of American History, the National Gallery of Art, the Folger Shakespeare Library, the Jamestown Settlement, and the Gettysburg Battlefield. Some courses take advantage of the nearby historical resources by meeting regularly at places like Mount Vernon and the Society of the Cincinnati.

The History Department has many advantages:

  • Award-winning faculty
  • Curriculum that encourages students to learn about different regions, periods, topics and approaches to history
  • A focus on helping students develop abilities that are highly valued in all professional careers: strong writing skills, critical thinking, and research techniques
  • Opportunities to participate in research seminars that put the student in touch with the extraordinary abundance of historical documents available in Washington, such as the Library of Congress and the National Archives

The study of history as a major provides students with a variety of skills and employment opportunities in diverse fields. Majors are well-equipped to flourish in and contribute to our ever more global society, since history requires its students to open their eyes to divergent beliefs and practices throughout time and space. Possessing practical skills and cosmopolitan outlooks, GW history majors have gone on to work successfully in diverse fields, including law, government, the media, business, education, and medicine Some have gone on to teach in colleges after further study of history in graduate schools. Many take advantage of being in the nation's capital to learn about the nation's past as a history major at the George Washington University.

History Department Courses

Before the University instituted the new, four-digit numbering system for courses, many upper-level history courses were simply listed as "History 101" (Topics in History). The new system allows many of those courses to have their own numbers if they are regularly offered. In addition, new members of the faculty in the history department can have their courses listed. Here's a brief guide to the new course structure, which is set out on the table below.

The undergraduate courses offered by the History Department are organized in the new system. Survey courses are listed in the 1000s. Majors' Introductory Seminars (formerly called Sophomore Seminars) and several courses cross-listed with other departments are in the 2000s. Most upper-level courses are in the 3000s.

History courses are further divided by subject matter. For example, general courses (which may count for one or more of the regional requirements for the major) are listed between 3000 and 3099. Courses that focus on European History are numbered in the 3100s and are further divided by period and country. They have a "regional designator" in the second digit of the course number.  Courses that concentrate on the history of the United States are numbered in the 3300s. Courses focusing on African history are 3500s, while Asian courses are 3600s, Latin American are 3700s, and Middle Eastern are 3800. Courses intended for seniors bear numbers in the 4000s. The Majors' Introductory Seminars are similarly divided, thus a course numbered History 2805W would be deal with Middle Eastern topics.

This list includes all courses presently planned to be regularly offered by the history department although they may not be available every year. Note that specific offerings of History 2X05W (where X represents the regional designator) will change from semester to semester and may not be repeated, depending on faculty preference and availability. Similarly courses, such as History 3X01, which are entitled "Topics" may be offered from time to time dealing with various subjects. Note that we have tried to indicate which courses satisfy regional requirements ("a" for European topics, "b" for US history, and "c" for courses from the rest of the world. The table also tries to identify the offerings which meet the requirement of a pre-1750 focus.

Note that the list will certainly change over time, but this may be helpful in planning your program of studies.

The list may be accessed here.

Congratulations to our 2016 Undergraduate Departmental Prize Winners!

The 2016 Special Departmental Honors for Undergraduate Seniors in History are awarded to:

Peri Buch
James Fondin
Olivia Franklin
Nicholas Holy
Matthew Maresca
Michael Paganelli
William Roche
Caroline Sandri
Robert Wasserstein
Jacob Weber
Chance Williams


The Jesse Fant Evans Prize for Excellence in Contemporary History is awarded to Madeline Crispell, Robert Hansen, Emily Niekrasz, and Jennifer Sherman.

The Gardiner G. Hubbard Memorial Prize for Excellence in American History is awarded to Nicholas Holy, Matthew Maresca, and Edward Rickford.

The Thomas F. Walsh Prize for Best Essay in Irish History is awarded to Ross Berry and Caley Donovan. 

The Deixler/Swain Prizes for Best Undergraduate Theses are awarded as follows:

  • Honors Thesis in an American History topic - Olivia Franklin and Robert Wasserstein
  • Honors Thesis in a Non-American History topic - Caroline Sandri
  • Senior Thesis in an American History topic - Charlotte Prenn and Farieha Shah 

Congratulations, students!