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History Requirements

All students declaring a History major or joint major will adopt the requirements detailed below.  Students choosing a History major or a joint major with a track in History of Science Medicine and Technology (HSMT) will adopt the requirements specific to History of Science Medicine and Technology (HSMT) detailed below.

Required for the Major in History: The History Major with a specific geographical focus within the history department provides a broad understanding of the development of human societies and cultures throughout history and around the world. Students will have an opportunity to examine how governments, societies, and individuals have shaped and have shaped societies in specific geographical regions of interest to them. 

Students must take 11 history courses before graduation including: (1) at least one but no more than three 0100-level courses; (2) three courses, 0200-level or above, in three of the following seven areas: North America; Europe; Latin America and the Caribbean; the Middle East and North Africa; Sub-Saharan Africa; South and Southeast Asia, including the Pacific; North Asia including China, Korea, Japan, and the Asian Steppes; (3) two 0400-level reading seminars in two different geographical regions, one of which may be trans-regional for those not writing a thesis OR one 0400-level reading seminar for those writing a thesis; (4) HIST 0600.

Of the eleven courses required for this track, one must be comparative and two must deal primarily with the period before 1800. Courses which qualify as comparative or for the pre-1800 requirement are identified in the course descriptions. Students planning to spend all or part of the junior year abroad should consult with the department before the second semester of their sophomore year. Students planning to go abroad or away for a full year may request to have a maximum of three courses count towards the major. Students planning to go abroad for one semester may request to have a maximum of two courses count towards the major. Upon their return to Middlebury, students must fill out the transfer of credit form from the Registrar’s office and have it signed by the chair as soon as possible. Students may take a maximum of two cross-listed HIST/CLAS courses to fulfill History requirements. HIST 0400 and 0600 seminars must be taken in the history department at Middlebury. Cognates or other departmental seminars will not be accepted.

Honors Thesis: Students who have earned a minimum 3.5 GPA in at least 5 history department courses (including up to two courses taken abroad) and at least a B+ in HIST 0600, are eligible to write a two-term honors thesis (HIST 0700). See information below.

 Advanced Placement/International Baccalaureate: Up to two IB credits or AP history courses, with a grade of 4 or 5, can count toward the major requirement of 11 history courses, but cannot be used to fulfill any specific requirements listed above. Students counting AP European History may not count HIST 0103 or 0104 toward the major, and those counting AP U.S. History may not count HIST 0203 or 0204 toward the major.

 Joint Major Requirements: Students must take at least eight courses in history, chosen in consultation with a faculty advisor. Cognates are not allowed. A student must take: (1) at least one course in two of the following seven areas: North America; Latin America and the Caribbean, Europe; Middle East and North Africa; Sub-Saharan Africa; South, Southeast Asia, and the Pacific; North Asia including China, Korea, Japan, and the Asian Steppes and one course that is trans-regional or comparative. The choice of courses should depend upon the need to achieve an intellectual coherence and integrity in the student's program; (2) two 0400-level reading seminars, one of which must be taken in the senior year and enable students to combine work from both disciplines, or one 0400-level reading seminar for those writing a thesis.  (3) HIST 0400 and 0600 seminars must be taken in the history department at Middlebury. Cognates or other departmental seminars will not be accepted. No more than two courses may be taken abroad or at another undergraduate institution. 

Joint Major Honors Thesis: Students who have earned a minimum 3.5 GPA in at least 5 History department courses (including up to two courses taken abroad) and at least a B+ in HIST 0600 may choose to write a two-term honors thesis (HIST 0700).  Joint majors choosing to write a thesis must combine the skills of both major disciplines in their thesis.

Advanced Placement/International Baccalaureate: AP and IB credit cannot be counted towards a joint major in history.

Minor Requirements: Students must take at least five courses, including one 0100-level course, one 0200-level course and one 0400-level course. Students are strongly encouraged to take HIST 0600 as one of the elective courses. HIST 0400 and 0600 seminars must be taken in the history department at Middlebury. No more than two courses may be taken abroad or at another undergraduate institution. Cognate courses cannot be counted towards the joint minor. AP and IB credit cannot be counted towards a minor in history.

 HIST track in History of Science, Medicine, and Technology (HSMT)

The History of Science, Medicine, and Technology Track within the history department provides a broad understanding of the development of science and its contested role in society throughout history and around the world. Through this track, students will have an opportunity to examine how governments, societies, and individuals have shaped and been shaped by science, medicine, and technology. 

Students must take 11 history courses before graduation including: (1) at least one but no more than three 0100-level courses; (2) five courses that focus on HSMT.  At least 4 of these courses must be HSMT-designated courses within the history department.  In consultation with and at the discretion of the history department Chair, 1 course may be a cognate from another department, from another college or university, or from study abroad; (3) two 0400-level reading seminars for those not writing a thesis OR one 0400-level reading seminar for those writing a thesis. When possible 400-level seminars should be in HSMT. A senior thesis will count as 1 HSMT course if on a relevant HSMT topic. HIST 0400 and 0600 seminars must be taken in the history department at Middlebury.

Of the eleven courses required for this track, one must be comparative and two must deal primarily with the period before 1800. Courses which qualify as comparative or for the pre-1800 requirement are identified in the course descriptions. Students planning to spend all or part of the junior year abroad should consult with the department before the second semester of their sophomore year. Students planning to go abroad or away for a full year may request to have a maximum of three courses count towards the major. Students planning to go abroad for one semester may request to have a maximum of two courses count towards the major. Upon their return to Middlebury, students must fill out the transfer of credit form from the Registrar’s office and have it signed by the chair as soon as possible. Students may take a maximum of two cross-listed HIST/CLAS courses to fulfill History requirements. HIST 0400 and 0600 seminars must be taken in the history department at Middlebury. Cognates or other departmental seminars will not be accepted.

Honors Thesis: Students who have earned a minimum 3.5 GPA in at least 5 history department courses (including up to two courses taken abroad) and at least a B+ in HIST 0600, are eligible to write a two-term honors thesis (HIST 0700).

Advanced Placement/International Baccalaureate: Up to two IB credits or AP history courses, with a grade of 4 or 5, can count toward the major requirement of 11 history courses, but cannot be used to fulfill any specific requirements listed above. Students counting AP European History may not count HIST 0103 or 0104 toward the major, and those counting AP U.S. History may not count HIST 0203 or 0204 toward the major.

Joint Major Requirements in HSMT Track: students must fulfill the following requirements: (1) 8 courses in history, as specified under “Joint Major Requirements”; (2) of the 8 courses, 5 must focus on HSMT, and one must be a 400-level seminar taken in the history department or a senior thesis, which may count as 1 HSMT course; (3) in consultation with and at the discretion of the history department Chair, 1 course may be taken abroad. Cognates or other departmental seminars will not be accepted. AP and IB credit cannot be counted towards a joint major in HSMT track.

Joint Major Honors Thesis: Students who have earned a minimum 3.5 GPA in at least 5 History department courses (including up to two courses taken abroad) and at least a B+ in HIST 0600 may choose to write a two-term honors thesis (HIST 0700).  Joint majors choosing to write a thesis must combine the skills of both major disciplines in their thesis.

The department does not offer a minor in HSMT.

Courses in the History department

History course numbering: As a rule, the History Department has no pre-requisites except for in designated 400-leve courses. Courses are not arranged hierarchically; they are arranged thematically and chronologically, with the 100-level courses being the broadest and the 300 and 400-level courses being the most specific in subject matter.

 HIST 0100-Level Courses
These courses deal with events and processes that affect human societies over long periods of time and across broad geographical areas not confined to national boundaries. Courses include components that act as introductions to the field of history.

HIST 0200-Level Courses
These are lecture courses that deal with a single cultural or national entity, or a clearly related group of such entities, over a substantial period of time (usually a century or more).

HIST 0300-Level Courses
These courses, for the most part, are topically focused courses. Many of them are lecture courses and some are taught in a seminar format. These are not, however, seminars that fulfill the reading seminar requirement.

HIST 0400–Level Reading Seminars
These topically based seminars, which usually meet once a week involve reading and analyzing texts, discussions, student presentations, historiography and writing or producing a final project. The history department offers many types of seminars: seminars on a topic within a given country or region; transnational or global seminars, digital humanities seminars and public history seminars.  Seminars are open to all students except those designated for seniors and juniors. See course description for requirements. A list of seminars is available from the department.

HIST 0600: Writing History
In this course students discuss historical methods and writing strategies to create convincing historical narratives.  With the approval and guidance of the professor, students complete a 20-25-page research paper based on primary and secondary sources. Students take this course in the fall of their junior year or with permission in the spring. If students are away for the entire junior year, they can take the course in the fall of their senior year.

HIST 0700 & 0701 Senior Honors Thesis
If students have earned a minimum 3.5 GPA in at least 5 History department courses (including up to two courses taken abroad) and at least a B+ in HIST 0600, they may choose to write a two-term honors thesis (HIST 0700). Writing a thesis is a prerequisite for departmental honors. Students must submit a thesis proposal to the department chair and coordinator one week prior to course registration for the term in which the thesis is to be started. Students opting to write a thesis must also take at least one 0400-level reading seminar prior to graduation, but preferably before their last semester at Middlebury. Students may not write a thesis in the same semester that they are taking HIST 0600. If students submit a request to write a senior thesis in the semester in which they are taking HIST 0600, they may receive conditional approval pending the completion and grade in HIST 0600.

Approved students will write a two-term thesis under an advisor in the area of their choosing. The department strongly encourages students to write their theses during the fall and winter terms. Winter/Spring theses are also acceptable with the permission of the chair and the theses advisor. On rare occasions and for compelling reasons, a student may initiate a thesis in the spring of an academic year and finish in the fall of the following year with the approval of the department. All students beginning their thesis in a given academic year must attend the Thesis Writers' Workshops held in the fall and winter of that year. Further information about the thesis is available from the department.

Overall History Honors: To receive departmental honors, high honors*, or highest honors** students must have completed an honors thesis (HIST0700) with a grade of B+, A-*, or A** and must have achieved an overall average of at least 3.5, 3.67*, or 3.75** in all departmental courses.

HIST 0100-Level Courses
The 0100-level courses (0100-0199) deal with events and processes that affect human societies over long periods of time and across broad geographical areas not confined to national boundaries. These courses include components that act as introductions to the field of history.

HIST 0200-Level Courses
These are lecture courses that deal with a single cultural or national entity, or a clearly related group of such entities, over a substantial period of time (usually a century or more).

HIST 0300-Level Courses
These courses, for the most part, are topically focused courses. Many of them are lecture courses and some are taught in a seminar format. These are not, however, seminars that fulfill the reading seminar requirement.

HIST 0400–Level Reading Seminars
Unlike the courses below the 0400 level, which are primarily lecture courses, these courses are reading seminars on particular periods or topics. They are open to all students, although in cases of overcrowding, history majors will be given priority. First-year students are admitted only by waiver.

HIST 0600 Research Seminar
All history majors are required to take HIST 0600 their junior fall or, if abroad at that time, their junior spring or senior fall semester. In this course students will conceive, research, and write a work of history based on primary source material. After reading and discussion on historical methods and research strategies, students will pursue a paper topic as approved by the course professors.

HIST 0700 and 701:  Senior Independent Study I & II
All senior history majors will write a two-term thesis under an advisor in the area of their choosing. The department encourages students to do their theses during the fall (700) and winter terms (701). Fall/spring theses are also acceptable and, with permission of the chair, winter/spring. On rare occasions, with departmental approval given for compelling reasons, a thesis may be initiated in the spring of an academic year and finished in the fall of the following year. All students beginning their thesis in a given academic year must attend the Thesis Writers' Workshops held in the fall and winter of that year. Further information about the thesis is available from the department.

Department of History

Axinn Center at Starr Library
15 Old Chapel Road
Middlebury College
Middlebury, VT 05753

MAILING ADDRESS:

Axinn Center at Starr Library
14 Old Chapel Road
Middlebury College
Middlebury, VT 05753