Major in History

The history major is a flexible 33 hour degree program that expects a certain amount of breadth across time and space but also allows students to specialize in areas of interest to them.  Whether you select the major at the start of your undergraduate career or add it later when you are in another department, school, or college, there are no prerequisites for pursuing a major in history. 

Major in History

Minor in History

Minimum requirements for the major:

Students must take at least six hours (two courses) in United States history, at least six hours (two courses) in European history, and at least six hours (two courses) in Latin American, Asian, Middle Eastern, or African history.  They also must take at least six hours (two courses) whose content substantially lies in the period before A. D. 1500.

Students must take History 39500, a gateway course introducing students to historical inquiry, research, and analysis.  Organized around a variety of compelling topics that change from semester to semester, these small classes—limited in enrollment to 15—teach students to identify, to locate, and to distinguish between primary and secondary sources.  Students also learn to analyze arguments and interpretations and to recognize interpretive conflicts. 

Students must take at least twelve hours (four courses) at the 40000 or 50000 level, at least three hours (one course) of which must be History 49500 Research Seminar in Historical Topics.  History 49500 is a small, limited enrollment course in which students make history by researching and writing a work of original scholarship.  Offered under a provocative and ever-changing array of special topics, History 49500 allows students with similar interests to work through the process of gathering, interpreting, and organizing historical evidence under the direction of an expert in the field.  As you learn to identify, to locate, and to distinguish between primary and secondary sources, you come to understand the complex and contested character not only of history but of the historical record.  As you craft historical narrative and analysis, you also learn how to develop an argument based on evidence and to present it in writing, in verbal communication, or by other media.

Note that you may use one course to fulfill more than one requirement.  For example, History 10300 Introduction to the Medieval World fulfills requirements in Area B (European history) and Area D (history course before 1500 A. D.).  Similarly, upper-division courses may be used to fulfill Area E (four courses at the 40000 or 50000 level) as well as Areas A, B, C, and D.  See the Major Plan of Study to review your choices.


Minor in History

The history minor is a 12 hour program that allows you to indulge your interest in history by selecting four courses from our large inventory of 30000-50000 level classes.  Any undergraduate student may adopt the history minor.  See the Minor Plan of Study for more information. 


Social Studies Education

Purdue offers a major in social studies education through the College of Education.


AP (Advanced Placement) and the History Major

The College Board Advanced Placement (AP) Program allows students to establish college credit from results of tests taken at the completion of any high school AP course.  This chart— Purdue University:  College Board Advanced Placement Credit—provides information about AP credit Purdue accepts and the scores necessary to earn credit.  To summarize the information for history:

If you receive a score of 4 or 5 on the European History exam you will receive 3 credit hours for History 10400 (Introduction to the Modern World).

If you receive a score of 4 or 5 on the World History exam you will receive 3 credit hours for History 10500 (Survey of Global History).

If you receive a score of 4 or 5 on the United States History exam, you will receive 3 credit hours each for History 15100 and 15200 (American History to 1877 and United States since 1877).

If you receive a score of 3 on an AP history exam, you will receive 3 hours of undistributed history course credit.   For additional information, please consult the Admissions Office or your academic advisor.


Dual Credit and Transfer Courses and the History Major

Following a student's admission, Purdue's Credit Evaluation Department will evaluate official high school and college transcripts for possible transfer credit.  Indiana high school students who take a dual/concurrent credit course within Indiana's Core Transfer Library will receive Purdue credit for that course according to Purdue's transfer credit process.  Generally speaking, Purdue University and the Department of History will accept credit for a college-level history course taken in or outside Indiana if the following criteria are met:

It was earned at a regionally accredited institution.

It is college-level coursework (not remedial or developmental).

The student received a grade of "C-" or better in the course.

Note that you can receive course credit for certain scores earned on CLEP and DSST exams.  At the present time, there are no departmental proficiency exams for history.  For guidance and more information, please consult Purdue University - Transferring Credit to Purdue.

Nancy Gabin is the Director of Undergraduate Studies for history.  Nina Haberer is the Academic Advisor for history majors.  Please contact us with any questions about the history major and history minor.

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