Admission to the Program
Formal admission to the major requires departmental approval.
- 120 credit hours with a cumulative GPA of 2.00 or better
- Completion of college writing requirement
- Completion of university mathematics requirement
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
- 39 credit hours with grades of C or better, including at least 18 credit hours at the 300 level or above.
- At least 20 of the 39 credit hours for the major must be taken in residence at American University.
- 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.
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 student earns a grade of 4 or 5 on the AP examination. 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.
Required (6-9 credit hours)
- HIST-399 Conversations in History (3)
- HIST-482 Research Seminar (3)
- HIST-480 Senior Thesis in History I (3) and
- HIST-481 Senior Thesis in History II (3)
Ancient or Medieval History (3 credit hours)
- One course in ancient or medieval history (any area of the world, focusing on premodern era)
Asian, Middle Eastern, Latin American, or African History (6 credit hours)
- Two courses in Asian, Middle Eastern, Latin American, or African history
European History (6 credit hours)
- Two courses in European history
United States History (6 credit hours)
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 FA4 (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 (9-12 credit hours)
- Additional courses to make a total of 39 credit hours in history (which may include JWST-205 Ancient and Medieval Jewish Civilization FA2). 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 in the major through the University Honors Program, students must meet the requirements detailed on the Honors website and have been enrolled as either a first-year student between Fall 1989 and Spring 2014, or as a transfer or self-nominated student through Spring 2015. The University Honors Program should not be confused with the AU Honors Program, which begins in Fall 2014 and has separate requirements, also detailed on the Honors website.
Combined BA and MA in History
American University offers students the opportunity to earn both undergraduate and graduate degrees through its combined bachelor's/master's programs. See Combined Bachelor's and Master's Degrees for more information.
This program enables students to complete both the BA and MA in History.
- Interested students should apply for admission to the program in their junior year. Students in this program are not required to take the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). Students will be admitted formally to MA status only if they have completed all requirements for the BA in History with at least an overall 3.20 grade point average and a 3.50 grade point average in history courses.
- All requirements for the BA in History.
- Undergraduate students pursuing the MA in History (30 credit hours) may apply up to 9 credit hours of approved graduate-level coursework in history to satisfy the requirements of both degrees. Undergraduate students pursuing the MA in History (public history concentration) (36 credit hours) may apply up to 12 credit hours of approved graduate-level coursework in history to satisfy the requirements of both degrees.
- All requirements for the MA in History, including a minimum of 18 credit hours completed in residence in graduate status after the undergraduate degree has been awarded. Students must finish the master's degree requirements within three years from the date of first enrollment in the master's program.