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History | BA Program

History BA Degree Requirements


Admission to the Program

  • Formal admission to the major requires departmental approval.

University Requirements

  • A total of 120 credit hours
  • 6 credit hours of college writing
  • 3 credit hours of college mathematics or the equivalent by examination

General Education Requirements

  • A total of ten courses, consisting of two courses from each of the five foundational areas
  • At least one course from Area Five: The Natural and Mathematical Sciences must include a laboratory science component
  • No more than two courses may be taken in the same discipline

Major Requirements

  • 39 credit hours with grades of C or better including at least 18 credit hours at the 300 level or above.

The department recommends that before enrolling in a course at the 300 level or above, students should complete a suitable introductory course or attain equivalent knowledge.


Advanced Placement

Prospective history majors may qualify for a minimum of 3 and a maximum of 6 advanced placement (AP) credits toward the major for the following exams: American history, European history, and world history provided the appropriate AP examination grade is a 4 or 5. Students cannot receive AP credit towards the major if they also take the comparable survey courses in either American history (HIST-205 and HIST-206) or European history (HIST-110). A satisfactory International Baccalaureate (IB) examination may count toward fulfilling a specific course requirement for the major. Entering students with academic credit for IB examinations in history courses should consult with the department. A total of 6 AP and IB credits can be counted toward the history major.


Course Requirements

  • HIST-399 Conversations in History (3)
  • HIST-482 Research Seminar (3) or HIST-480 Senior Thesis in History I (3) and HIST-481Senior Thesis in History II (3)
  • One course in ancient or medieval history (any area of the
    world, focusing on premodern era)
  • Two courses in Asian, Middle Eastern, Latin American, or African history
  • Two courses in European history
  • Two courses in United States history, including at least one
    course focused on race and/or ethnicity from the following:
    HIST-208 African-American History: to 1877 (3)
    HIST-209 African-American History: 1877 to Present (3)
    HIST-210 Ethnicity in America (3)
    HIST-305 Topics in Race and Ethnicity in the United States
    (3)
    HIST-473 American Jewish History (3)
    HIST-479 Topics in African American History (3)
  • Additional courses to make a total of 39 credit hours in history (which may include JWST-205 Ancient and Medieval Jewish Civilization). At least 20 of the 39 credit hours must be taken at American University; at least 15 of the 39 must be at the 300 level or above.

University Honors Program

To graduate with University Honors, students must be admitted to the University Honors Program, maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.50, and receive grades of B or better in all University Honors course work. There are three levels of University Honors course requirements: Level I (100-200-level); Level II (300-level and above); and Level III (Honors Capstone Project). The department Honors coordinator advises students in the University Honors Program regarding requirements for graduating with University Honors in the major. For more information, go to the University Honors Program.


Combined BA and MA in History

Visit the bachelor’s/master’s program Webpage for information about receiving a combined BA and MA in history.