Franklin & Marshall College Franklin & Marshall College

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Curriculum Overview
History

A major in History provides students with a broad understanding of long-term historical trends in introductory-level courses; an in-depth knowledge of regions, countries, and issues at the 300-level; an appreciation for historiography and the practices of history in the methodology course; and guidance in integrating these components of the major with research, presentation, and writing skills at the 400-level. The History Department is committed to ensuring that its students emerge from Franklin & Marshall with a well-rounded history education that incorporates strong emphasis on regional distribution. It is also committed to the goals of internationalizing the curriculum and to this end encourages its majors and minors to study foreign languages and pursue academic work abroad.

A major in History consists of 10 courses. These courses must include HIS 360 (History Workshop: Methods and Practice), which should be taken no earlier than spring of the sophomore year and no later than fall of the senior year; two seminars or one seminar and one Independent Study Course (HIS 490); and at least three additional courses at the 300-level, only one of which may be a Directed Readings Course (HIS 390). A student may count toward the major one course taken outside of the department with prior approval by his/her adviser. This course must be at the 300- or 400-level in its home department and complement the student’s course of study. The course will be counted as a 300-level course; it cannot fulfil a distribution requirement. History majors must fulfil a distribution requirement by taking two courses in each of the following areas: United States (designated U), European (designated E), and World (Latin American, African, Islamic, and Asian) history (designated WH), two of which must be pre-modern (designated PM). In most cases, majors must take at least five history courses at Franklin & Marshall.

A minor in History consists of at least six courses. These courses must include HIS 360 (History Workshop: Methods and Practice), which should be taken no earlier than spring of the sophomore year and no later than fall of the senior year; one seminar; and two additional courses at the 300-level. History minors must fulfil a distribution requirement by taking one course in two of the following areas—United States (U), European (E), and World (Latin American, African, Islamic, and Asian) history (WH)—one of which must be designated pre-modern (PM). In most cases, minors must take at least four history courses at Franklin & Marshall.

A Joint Major in History consists of at least eight courses. These courses must include HIS 360 (History Workshop: Methods and Practice), which should be taken no earlier than spring of the sophomore year and no later than fall of the senior year; two seminars or one seminar and one Independent Study Course (HIS 490); and at least two additional courses at the 300-level, only one of which may be a Directed Readings Course (HIS 390). Joint Majors must fulfil a distribution requirement by taking one course in each of the following areas: United States (designated U), European (designated E), and World (Latin American, African, Islamic, and Asian) history (designated WH), one of which must be pre-modern (designated PM).

Students should consult with their academic adviser or the History Department Chair for questions concerning requirements for the major/minor.

The writing requirement in the History Major is met by completion of the normal courses required for the major.

History majors are advised that command of at least one foreign language is important for those who plan to do graduate work in history.

Majors in the Department of History are strongly encouraged to study abroad because personal familiarity with foreign cultures is increasingly useful in an ever more interconnected world. Students interested in off-campus study should meet with their academic adviser or the History Department chairperson as early as possible. Typically, students will receive History credit at the 200- or 300-level for courses that they take abroad; these courses will often fulfil other distributional requirements. Those students considering study abroad during their entire junior year are strongly urged to take the History Workshop (HIS 360) by the second semester of their sophomore year at the College. 

Majors and minors in the History Department have studied abroad in the following programs in recent years: Alliance for Global Education, “Globalization Then and Now” in Xian, China; James Cook University in Cairns, Australia; College Year in Athens in Athens, Greece; IES European Union program in Freiburg, Germany; UVA Hispanic Studies in Valencia, Spain; BU London Internship program in London, England. See International and Off-Campus Study section of the Catalog for further information.

To be eligible for consideration for honors in History, students must have a grade point average of no less than 3.3 in the major and must complete a significant research project that is deemed outstanding by the review board constituted by the student and his or her adviser. Students interested in standing for honors in History are encouraged to consult with the department chairperson as early as possible.