FAQs: History Majors

1.  How do I become a declared History major?

You declare the major on line using the Student Information System (SIS). 

2. What are the prerequisites for declaring the History major?

Students must complete two courses in History before declaring the major. If you have not completed two courses, you may declare the major only after consultation with and written permission of the DUS.

3. What are the requirements of the History major?

Please see the separate section “Requirements of the Major” available on the history department’s web site under “Undergraduate Program.”

4. How do I declare a Track within the History major?

All students are required to choose either the Global or Specialist track within the History major. This process is administered through the History Department, not through the registrar’s office. Once you have officially declared the History major, you should fill out the tracking form, available online at the History Department web site. Your track does not appear on your final Yale College transcript.

5. Can I change my Track or area of specialization?

Students may change their track or area of specialization as late as the end of course selection (shopping) period in the first semester of senior year. This can be done by filling out the same form on which the original Track was declared. The most recently completed form will determine the requirements by which graduation assessment will be made.

6.  How do I get a History adviser who will sign my schedule?

After you declare the major, the History Department will assign you a History faculty member as your adviser.  You will be notified by e-mail once an adviser has ben assigned. Students who choose the Specialist Track will be assigned an adviser in that area of specialization. This is the adviser who is authorized to sign your schedule.  The History DUS will not sign your schedule, except under extenuating circumstances. 

7.  How do I pre-register for departmental seminars?

Pre-registration for departmental seminars is done on-line.  All declared History majors will receive an e-mail toward the middle of each semester giving them instructions for pre-registration for seminars to be offered the following semester.  Remember that pre-registration is limited to declared History majors.  If you declare the major later than the pre-registration deadline, you may still be able to pre-register for courses by contacting Essie Barros (essie.barros@yale.edu) in HGS 237.

8.  I missed all of the deadlines for seminar pre-registration.  Can I still get into a seminar?

Yes.  You may petition for admission through the regular shopping process.  Many departmental seminars still have openings at the beginning of the semester.  Be sure to show up at the first meeting. It is also a good idea to email the professor in advance of the first class meeting. Final admission will be at the discretion of the instructor.

9. Do I have to write a senior essay?

Yes. All students must write either a 2-semester (required for distinction in the major) or 1-semester senior essay. For details of the essay requirement, see the “Requirements of the Major” available on the history department’s web site under “Undergraduate Program.”

10. Do Directed Studies courses count towards the History major?

DRST 003a and DRST 003b (Historical and Political Thought) both count towards the History major and the European distribution requirement.  DRST 003a also counts towards the Pre-Industrial requirement.

11.  Do History courses taken for Credit/D/Fail count towards the History major?

Up to two lecture courses taken for Credit/D/Fail may be counted towards the major and may be used to fulfill geographical or pre-industrial distribution requirements.  Please note that taking a course for Credit/D/Fail makes it more difficult to achieve Distinction in the major because a grade of “Credit” counts as a “non-A.”

12.  I am taking a course that covers more than one geographical distribution credit area.  How do I get distribution credit for it? 

See Essie Barros in 237 HGS and fill out a green Geographical Distribution Form.  Attach your syllabus and any research papers that you wrote.  As a general rule, if the course material is evenly divided between more than one geographical distribution areas, then the topic of your research paper tips the balance one way or the other.

13.  Can a single course be used to fulfill more than one requirement?

Yes.  A junior seminar on Medieval Europe, for example, can be used to fulfill the departmental seminar requirement, the European history requirement, and the pre-industrial requirement.

14.  I took a course in another department that had a lot of history in it.  Can I count it toward the History Major? 

In general, courses that count toward the History major are (a) courses that originate in the History Department and therefore carry HIST numbers, or (b) courses originating in another department that are double-titled and therefore carry a HIST number.  If a course that originates in another department does not carry a HIST number, it does not automatically count toward the History major.

Students may, however, petition the Director of Undergraduate Studies to count a course from another department toward the History major requirements. The relevant form is available from Essie Barros in HGS 237, as well as online in the undergraduate section of the History Dept web site. Students will need to submit a full syllabus and all written work from the non-departmental course. Final determination will be at the discretion of the DUS.

For questions about courses taken abroad or at other American universities, please see the “Study Abroad FAQ.”