Undergraduate History Major
(Note: This document has been reproduced from the OSU
Department of History's Undergraduate History Office Student Handbook.)
The Major Program in History will consist of at least 50 credit
hours. Two courses, 398 and 598, will be required, and at
least 40 more hours will be chosen within the Geographical and Chronological
categories outlined below.
Once a student has earned a grade of C in History 398, s/he may then
declare a Major in History. The student should go to
the Undergraduate History Office (UHO) where the staff will interview
the student and assign a regular member of the Faculty
to be the student's Major Adviser.
**On the Lima Campus, students should contact a
history faculty member.
Students should design their Major Program in History in consultation
with their Major Adviser, who must sign the Major
Program form, and a counselor in the Colleges of the Arts and Sciences.
They should choose their History courses to
compliment the choices they have made in meeting the requirements of
the General Education Curriculum (GEC).
Two courses will be required of all undergraduate History Majors:
History 398 – Introduction to Historical
Thought--Students must pass History 398 with a minimum grade
of a C before being admitted to the Department as a History Major.
They should take 398 as soon as possible after completing the GEC history
History 598 – Senior Seminar-- This course
should be taken during the student's senior year.
History 398 introduces prospective majors to the methods historians
use to explore the past. Because History 398 is intended to emphasize
active student participation in class discussion, enrollment in each section
is limited to twenty. Readings help students to develop an understandable
and persuasive account of past events. In addition to acquiring experience
in critical methods for the analysis of documents, students improve their
expository writing skills through extensive practice. Written assignments
may include digesting and summarizing the views of a particular historian
on an important subject of historical controversy, preparing critical book
reviews, developing bibliographies, and constructing brief histories by
analyzing primary sources.
History 598, the Senior Seminar, is required of all History Majors.
It caps the undergraduate study of history by investigating the different
ways in which historians have analyzed a particular event or phenomenon.
In a small-group setting emphasizing student discussion under the guidance
of a faculty member, seniors compare other historians' analyses of an historical
problem with their own.
History 598 has two versions (plus a third honors version). In
History 598.01, students compare and try to reconcile the differing interpretations
of a particular issue by reviewing what historians have said about it.
Examples of issues investigated in recent years include "Revolution or
Counterrevolution: The Struggle over the U.S. Constitution" and "Disaster
in May: Responsibilities for the Fall of France in 1940."
History 598.02, recommended for students who plan to go on to graduate
work in history, requires each student in the seminar to do research in
primary sources to investigate one aspect of the historical problem on
which the class is focused. Students learn how to compile a research
bibliography, to confront methodological problems, and to arrive at credible
conclusions. A recent 598.02 drew on the archives of the Ohio Historical
Society to investigate "Major Historical Themes in Columbus, Ohio."
The geographical requirement is met by choosing courses representing
the two geographical groups (A and B).
These groups are further broken down into areas (1, 2,
3, 4, 5 and 6), and courses must be taken to represent at least three different
Area (1) Africa
Area (5) Europe
Area (2) East Asia
Area (6) North America
Area (3) Latin America
Area (4) Near East, Middle East, and South Asia
The student must choose a minimum of 20 credit hours from one
geographical area. This is known as the student's Primary
The student must choose a minimum of 15 credit hours from two or more
geographical areas other than the primary geographical area.
At least 10 of these 15 credit hours must be chosen from the geographical
different from the group in which the primary geographical
If a student wished to study Europe as the Primary Geographical
Area, he or she would have to take at least 20 credit hours of European
History courses. Additionally, at least 15 credit hours must be taken
from two or more areas. At least 10 credit hours (from either
one or two areas) must represent group A. The remaining 5
hours could represent area (6), but could not represent area
A minimum of 10 credit hours of courses must represent chronological
periods falling predominately before 1750 and a minimum of 10 credit
hours must represent periods falling predominantly after 1750.
Note: History 398 does not apply to either the geographical or chronological
requirement. History 598 will apply to both the geographical and
chronological requirements (which area and time period will depend upon
the subject of the particular 598 the student takes).
Although a course can meet more than one requirement, in no case does
a course count for more than 5 credit hours. Example: History 533.05,
the History of Mexico, would meet the geographical requirement in Group
A, Area 3, and would meet either the pre- or post-1750 chronological
requirement, but would only count as 5 credit hours toward the 50 credit
hour minimum for the major.
For each history course, the Department of History's Undergraduate
Student Handbook will indicate which geographical group the course
is in and which chronological requirement it meets.
Additional Options and Limitations
With the Major Adviser's approval, up to 10 hours of courses from other
Departments may be designated as part of the Major Program in History.
No more than 5 hours of 593 may be counted towards the Major Program.
Courses counted as part of the student's College GEC requirements may
not be used as part of the major program, with the exception of History
598, which meet requirement I. C. of the GEC.
Although a grade of C- will be permitted in courses comprising the major
program, the minimum overall cumulative grade point average of the major
must be 2.0. (A minimum grade of C is required for History 398 only).
Courses taken Pass/Non-Pass may not be applied to the major.
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