The Specialist Track

The Specialist Track is designed for students seeking to specialize in a particular geographic region or thematic pathway within world history. Some students choose to enter the Specialist Track immediately upon declaring the History major. Others choose to start in the Global Track and later switch to the Specialist Track, after gaining experience and knowledge in a range of courses. This change may occur anytime before the end of shopping period in the first semester of senior year.
The Specialist Track offers the following areas of specialization (for detailed descriptions and course listings, click on the links below):
United States
Latin America
Middle East and Africa
Cultural History
Empires and Colonialism
Environmental History
Ideas and Intellectuals
International History
Politics and Law
Race, Gender, and Sexuality
Religion in Context
Science, Technology, and Medicine
Social Change and Social Movements
War and Society
The World Economy
Individual Option
Like students in the Global Track, students in the Specialist Track are required to complete a total of 10 courses, plus the senior essay. There are no required courses, though the track does include several distributional requirements:
– Students must complete at least 5 courses within a region or pathway, for total of half of their coursework within the major.
2 of the 10 courses must be “pre-industrial “ (designated as “PI” or “Pre-Ind”), covering material before the year 1800.  
– Students must also take 2 departmental seminars, identified by the “J” suffix in the course number (i.e., HIST 136J).  These are usually, though not always, taken in the two semesters of junior year. All students who declare the history major are entitled to exercise pre-registration privileges for two seminars during their time at Yale. Many sophomores choose to enroll in a seminar in order to gain in-depth experience at an earlier point in the major.
– Most students in the major (and all students seeking distinction in the major) complete the independent 2-semester senior essay during senior year, for a total of 12 course credits in the major. A smaller number of students write a 1-semester senior essay within the context of a third departmental seminar, for a total 11 credits within the major. Students who enroll in the 1-semester option are not eligible for distinction.
Courses may fulfill more than one distributional requirement. For instance, a seminar on pre-modern Japan could fulfill an Asia regional requirement as well as the pre-industrial and seminar requirements—all at once.
For more details about the major and requirements, see the Requirements of the Major for the Class of 2017 and beyond on the History site. For details about courses and major themes within each region or pathway, see the links above.