Contact

Department of History
Old Horticulture
506 E. Circle Dr
Room 256
Michigan State University
East Lansing, MI 48824
Main: 517.355.7500
Fax: 517.353.5599
Email: history@msu.edu
Hours: 8:00-5:00 M-F

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Requirements of The History major

  1. Completion of the University Residency Requirements
  2. 120 credits (123 if the student has taken MTH 1825)
  3. Completion of the University Integative Studies and Mathematics requirements: 28-37 credits
  4. Completion of the College of Social Science Requirements:
    • 15 credits in courses in the College of Social Science, of which at least 12 must be in one discipline or on one theme
    • 9 credits in courses in the College of Arts and Letters
    • 6 credits in courses in the College of Natural Science or approved substitutes
  5. The following requirements of the History major: 33-56 credits
    • Completion of a two-year competency in a foreign language: up to 16 credits
    • HST 201 (Historical Methods and Skills)
    • Three of the following: HST 140, 150, 202, 203, 205A, 205B, 206, 208, 209, 210
    • Two senior seminars (courses number HST 48x or 492H)
    • At least 12 but not more than 19 additional credits in History courses at the 300- or 400-level
    • These 33-40 credits must include at least 6 credits in each of the following geographical areas: the United States; Europe; Africa, Asia, Latin America and/or the world as a whole.

    Students who exceed the minimum 120/123 credits needed for graduation may take some or all of those additional credits in History courses, that is, they may graduate with more than 40 credits in History.

  6. History majors in the Honors College, in addition to the privileges and exemptions that apply to all Honors College students, are not required to take the lower-level survey courses required of other majors. They are encouraged to fulfill their 33-40 credits in History with 300- and 400-level work. Each Honors College student is also required to complete an Honors thesis, which normally involves six credits of independent research under the direction of a professor and the writing of a 50 to 75 page paper. The Honors adviser in History is Dr. Liam Brockey.

Frequently Asked Questions about The History major

1. How does my AP history affect my major? 2. What can I do with a degree in history? 3. If I want to teach in elementary or secondary school, what do I have to do? 4. If I hope to teach in a college or university, do I need to take Teacher Education courses? 5. What is a seminar? 6. How do I fulfill the Tier II writing requirement? 7. What courses will be offered during the summer? 8. What Study Abroad programs does the History Department offer? 9. How can I find an internship? 10. Can I specialize in the history of one area of the world? 11. What does “African, Asian or Latin American history” mean? 12. What courses count for which geographic areas? 13. May a course be used to fulfill more than one requirement? 14. Is there an association of undergraduates in this major? 15. Is there an honor society in this major? 16. When and how do I apply for graduation? 1. How does my AP history affect my major? If you took the AP exam in World History, American History and/or European History and got a grade of 3, 4 or 5, you received 8 credits in the relevant area(s), which means that you got credit for HST 140 and HST 150 (World History), HST 202 and HST 203 (American History) and/or HST 205B and HST 206 (European History). These courses count towards the credits you need to complete your degree in History, with the following exceptions: First, the History major requires twelve credits (three four-credit courses) at the 100- or 200-level, in addition to HST 201. Therefore, even if you received the full 24 credits, only 12 of them can count towards your major. Second, if you also received a grade of 4 or 5 on the AP exam in English or Literature, the combination of that grade plus four of your AP credits in History was probably used to give you credit in IAH 201 or IAH 202. The History credits that were used for IAH 201 or IAH 202 cannot also be used as credits towards the completion of the History major. If you took the AP exam in World, American and/or European History and got a grade of 2, you received a waiver of the courses in the relevant area(s), which means that your record will show that you have taken HST 140 and HST 150 (World History), HST 202 and HST 203 (American History) and/or HST 205 and HST 206 (European History). You did not, however, get credit for these courses, so you will have to complete the full 33-credit minimum to complete your major in History. If you received credit for HST 140, 150, 202, 203, 205 and/or 206, you will not be able to repeat these courses at MSU because your record will show that you have already taken them. If you received merely a waiver, you may take the course at MSU if you wish to do so. back to questions 2. What can I do with a degree in history? Briefly, careers for History majors include teacher (elementary, secondary, college, university), lawyer, historic preservationist (in government, business or the non-profit sector), information manager (librarian/archivist/webmaster in government, business or the non-profit sector), historical researcher (in government, business or the non-profit sector), general researcher (in government, business or the non-profit sector), historical museum curator, historical site manager, Federal or state or local government agency staffer (at anything from the likes of the Smithsonian to the intelligence agencies), Federal or state executive or legislative staffer, political operative, diplomat, journalist, genealogist, editor or other worker in publishing, etc. In addition, please remember that it is not necessary for you to major in something that leads directly to a career. Many majors in liberal arts fields such as history study the subject because they love it and then go on to have long, successful careers in unrelated fields. Liberal arts disciplines give students skills–in reading, researching, writing, coping with masses of facts and making sense of them, presenting their ideas orally as well as in writing, and being interesting, reflective persons–which lead to success in many areas of activity. At least two history majors have become president of the United States (Woodrow Wilson, John F. Kennedy). Professor Tabuteau has a one-page handout in her office on the subject of careers related to History as a major. You are welcome to come take one. The office of Career Services and Placement is also a good source of information. For useful web sites with more detail on these matters, see: American Historical Society: Careers for History Majors Organization of American Historians FAQ (First question: Careers for History Majors) Career information for History Majors, from the City University of New York (CUNY) back to questions 3. If I want to teach in elementary or secondary school, what do I have to do? To teach in elementary school or secondary school, you need to complete the Teacher Education (TE) curriculum. If you plan to teach is secondary school, you need to be a History Education major. If you plan to teach in elementary school, you need to consult the advising office in the College of Education. For either elementary or secondary education, you need to be admitted to the College of Education. Two TE courses (TE 150 and TE 250) are available to students who have not yet been admitted to the College of Education; if you are not sure whether you want to teach or not, you may want to take one or both of them as a way of exploring the possibility. back to questions 4. If I hope to teach in a college or university, do I need to take Teacher Education courses? No. Training in teaching is not a formal part of the training of college and university professors. back to questions 5. What is a seminar? A seminar is a course whose enrollment is deliberately kept small and which is taught in discussion format. Students do common reading and discuss it in class. Each student also does individualized research, and writes a formal paper on it. Students are usually also asked to report to the whole class about their individual work. It is usual in such courses that class participation counts for a good deal of the grade. HST 201 and all the courses numbered 48x are seminar courses, as are all graduate courses in History. These courses are limited in enrollment to twenty to twenty-three students. HST 201 (“Historical Methods and Skills”) is the only course required of all History majors. It should be taken early in the student’s career and is a prerequisite for the 48x courses (“Seminar in . . .”), which are usually called “400-level studies courses.” It is possible to take any course numbered 48x more than once, provided that, the second time, the course is not being given by the same professor on the same topic. Students may not enroll for more than 12 credits in one HST 48x. With the permission of your adviser and of the professor teaching the course, it is possible for an undergraduate History major to take a graduate course. Graduate courses may be used to fulfill the requirement for 400-level studies courses. back to questions 6. How do I fulfill the Tier II writing requirement? The courses numbered 48x fulfill the Tier II writing requirement for History majors. back to questions 7. What courses will be offered during the summer? History offers quite a few lower-level and upper-level courses online during the Summer. The list of these courses available in the upcoming Summer is posted on the History Department’s website during the course of Fall semester, usually in November. In addition, the Department offers a few senior seminars on campus each Summer. back to questions 8. What Study Abroad programs does the History Department offer? The History Department regularly offers several Study Abroad programs. One in the Summer goes to Great Britain. It includes upper-level English and/or European history courses and sometimes lower-level European history courses or ISS courses. Another, which is offered in the Summer of odd-numbered years, is about “Race Relations in South Africa” and takes place in Johannesburg. The Department of History also participates in several international internship programs. From time to time, additional programs are offered on an ad hoc basis. back to questions 9. How can I find an internship? Some internships exist every year: books and internet programs on these are available in the office of Career Services and Placement. Other internships are offered from time to time: information about many of these is also available from CSP. Some are advertised to advisers. Whenever Professor Tabuteau gets notice of one of these, she puts the news out on her e-mail listserv. If there is a poster, she also posts it outside her office. It is also possible to find an internship for yourself by asking an institution for which you would like to work whether it would be willing to take you on. If you do not need to be paid, it is quite likely that it will be willing to use you, especially if you are offering your services to a museum or similar non-profit humanities organization because such organizations are usually strapped for money and therefore for staff. If you need to be paid, you may have to work harder to find an internship. If you want to take the internship for credit, you will need to register for SSC 493 and to consult with the internship coordinator in the College of Social Science advising office about the parameters of the course. If an internship contains a significant component of independent historical research or analogous activity, it may be used to substitute for one of the two senior seminars required of all History majors. To exercise this option, you should consult with both your adviser (Professor Shimizu or Professor Tabuteau) and with the Department of History’s internship coordinator, Professor Peter Knupfer. back to questions 10. Can I specialize in the history of one area of the world? Not entirely. The major requires that you take at least 6 credits in each of three geographic areas of the world: the United States, Europe, and the rest of the world. This means that you may take at most 21 of the minimum 33 credits for the major in one geographic area. All additional credits above the minimum maybe taken on one area of the world. back to questions 11. What does “African, Asian or Latin American history” mean? This is the phrase the History Department uses to refer to the whole of the world which is neither the United States nor Europe . It means Africans in Africa, Asians in Asia, and Latin Americans south of the border between the United States and Mexico . The requirement cannot be fulfilled by courses in ethnic American history (such as African American history, Asian American history, Mexican American history). You do not need to take both courses required for the major in the same geographic area. Courses in world history (such as HST 140, 150, and 390) count in this area. back to questions 12. What courses count for which geographic areas? Usually this is pretty obvious, but students ask questions about certain courses which this section therefore discusses. HST 343 and 344 (Russian history) count as European history. HST 372 and 373 (the history of the Middle East ) may count as either European history or Asian/African history, but not both. HST 383 (The Caribbean) counts as Latin American history. Ethnic American history courses (African American, Asian American, Mexican American, Native American) count as United States history. HST 487 (Seminar in Comparative History) may count for any geographic area depending on what the subject of the particular section is: consult Professor Tabuteau before you sign up if you are planning to use HST 487 to fulfill part of the geographic distribution requirement. back to questions 13. May a course be used to fulfill more than one requirement? Yes. For example, a 400-level seminar may be used to fulfil both the requirement for a seminar and the requirement for a course in a geographic area. Almost all of our courses, in fact, fulfill both a course-level requirement and a geographic-area requirement. It is, however, very unwise to attempt a senior seminar that studies an area of the world in which you do not have both some background and some interest. back to questions 14. Is there an association of undergraduates in this major? The History Association of Michigan State (H.A.M.S.) is made up of all students interested in history who care to attend its meetings. You do not have to be a History major. Announcements from H.A.M.S. are posted on Professor Tabuteau’s listserv. back to questions 15. Is there an honor society in this major? The History honor society is Phi Alpha Theta. There is a chapter in the Department. Membership is by invitation only. You do not need to be a History major to be a member of Phi Alpha Theta, but you must have a certain number of credits in History at Michigan State and you must have a certain GPA in those courses. For further information, consult the Phi Alpha Theta faculty adviser, Professor Jane Vieth (vieth@msu.edu). back to questions 16. When and how do I apply for graduation? You may apply for graduation either over the web or by going to the Registrar’s office and filling out a paper application. You should apply for graduation by the Friday of the first week of the term in which you expect to graduate, except that, if you expect to graduate at the end of the Summer term, you should apply the preceding Spring term. There is no commencement ceremony at the end of Summer term, so students who are expecting to graduate in August are allowed to “walk” at the May ceremony. They are also allowed to “walk” at the following December’s ceremony, but almost all such students attend the May ceremony instead.

Requirements of The History Education Major:

  1. Completion of the University Residency Requirements
  2. 120 credits (123 if the student has taken MTH 1825)
  3. Completion of the University requirements in Writing, Integative Studies and Mathematics requirements: 28-37 credits
  4. The following History courses: 34 credits
    • HST 201
    • HST 140
    • HST 150
    • HST 202
    • HST 203
    • HST 320
    • Three upper-level History courses, at least one of which must not be on the United States
    • One senior seminar (HST 48x)
  5. The following Geography courses: 9 credits
    • GEO 204
    • GEO 221
    • GEO 330
  6. The following Teacher Education courses: 21 credits
    • TE 150
    • TE 250
    • TE 302
    • TE 407
    • TE 408
  7. A disciplinary teaching minor approved by the State of Michigan and the College of Education: 20-24 credits. See the list of minors here.
  8. History Education majors who wish to be certified to teach Social Studies should also take the following four courses, which enable students to acquire the Social Studies (RX) endorsement to the teaching license: 12 credits
    • EC 201
    • EC 202
    • PLS 100
    • PLS 140

Frequently Asked Questions about the History Education Major:

1. How does my AP history affect my major? 2. What are the criteria for admission to the College of Education? 3. If I hope to teach in a college or university, do I need to take Teacher Education courses? 4. What happens if I am not admitted to the College of Education? 5. As a History Education major, do I have to complete college-level requirements of study a foreign language? 6. What is a seminar? 7. How do I fulfill the Tier II writing requirement? 8. What courses will be offered during the summer? 9. What Study Abroad programs does the History Department offer? 10. Is there an associate of undergraduates in this major? 11. Is there an honor society in this major? 12. When and how do I apply for graduation? 1. How does my AP history affect my major? If you took the AP exam in World History, American History and/or European History and got a grade of 3, 4 or 5, you received 8 credits in the relevant area(s), which means that you got credit for HST 140 and HST 150 (World History), HST 202 and HST 203 (American History) and/or HST 205B and HST 206 (European History). HST 140, HST 150, HST 202 and HST 203 are part of the History Education major and these credits therefore cover those courses. However, from the standpoint as securing a position as a teacher of history, it is not wise to rely so heavily on AP History so you should take additional upper-level History courses to make your college-level record more substantial. Moreover, if you also received a grade of 4 or 5 on the AP exam in English or Literature, the combination of that grade plus four of your AP credits in History was probably used to give you credit in either IAH 201 or IAH 202. If it was IAH 201, the AP credits for either HST 202 or HST 203 will not appear on your MSU record. If you received credit for HST 140, 150, 202, 203, 205B and/or 206, you will not be able to repeat these courses at MSU because your record will show that you have already taken them. If you received a grade of 2 on the AP exam and therefore received merely a waiver of the relevant courses, you may take the courses at MSU if you wish to do so. back to questions 2. What are the criteria for admission to the College of Education? For information about the process of applying to the College of Education, see their web site: http://education.msu.edu/academics/undergraduate/default.asp The History Education major is specifically for secondary school teaching. If you are interested in Elementary Education, please consult the College of Education. Students wishing to be admitted to the College of Education normally apply in the Fall term of their sophomore year. The application is due about the middle of the fall semester. It is a long application, and you must also take a Basic Skills test, so advanced planning is necessary. The College of Education does not consider students whose GPAs are below 2.75, and it does not admit all students with GPA’s of 2.75 or above who apply. If you are not admitted in your sophomore year or if you decide late that you would like to teach in elementary or secondary school, you can apply to the College of Education in the Fall term of your junior year. If you are admitted, the College of Education will want you to take TE 302 the following summer in order to bring you back into step with your cohort of TE students. If you are not admitted in your junior year or you decide very late that you would like to teach, you can apply to the College of Education at MSU or to any other university in the state that certifies teachers and do the education part of your training after you graduate from MSU with your degree in History. This is called the “post-baccalaureate” route. Two TE courses are available to students who have not been admitted into the College of Education: TE 150 and TE 250. These courses may be taken in either order. It is wise to try and take both of them before you become a junior if you plan to do your TE courses while you are an undergraduate or before you graduate if you plan to do your TE courses post-baccalaureate. back to questions 3. If I hope to teach in a college or university, do I need to take Teacher Education courses? No. Training in teaching is not a formal part of the training of college and university professors. You should follow the History major rather than the History Education major. back to questions 4. What happens if I am not admitted to the College of Education? If you are not admitted to the College of Education on your first attempt, you have several options. One is to reapply a year later. The second is to switch to the History major and do your teacher training on the “post-baccalaureate” route. About these two options, see above, question 2. Note that any student who is not admitted to the College of Education cannot complete the History Education major. To remain a History student you will have to switch to the History major, whose requirements are substantially different from the History Education major. The History major does not require Teacher Education courses or a minor but does require completion of College of Social Science requirements and a two-year competency in a foreign language. The credit loads of these two routes are approximately the same. back to questions 5. As a History Education major, do I have to complete college-level requirements of study a foreign language? No. Both these sets of requirements are waived for History Education majors. back to questions 6. What is a seminar? A seminar is a course whose enrollment is deliberately kept small and which is taught in discussion format. Students do common reading and discuss it in class. Each student also does individualized research, and writers a formal paper on it. Students are usually also asked to report to the whole class about their individual work. It is usual in such courses that class participation counts for a good deal of the grade. HST 201 and all the courses numbered 48x are seminar courses, as are all graduate courses in History. These courses are limited in enrollment to twenty to twenty-three students. HST 201 (“Historical Methods and Skills”) should be taken early in the student’s career and is a prerequisite for the 48x courses (“Seminar in…”), which are usually called “400-level studies courses.” It is possible to take any course numbered 48x more than once, provided that, the second time, the course is not being given by the same professor on the same topic. Students may not enroll for more than 12 credits in one HST 48x. With the permission of your adviser and of the professor teaching the course, it is possible for an undergraduate History major to take a graduate course. A graduate course may be used to fulfill the requirement for a 400-level studies course. back to questions 7. How do I fulfill the Tier II writing requirement? The senior seminar (HST 48x) fulfills the Tier II writing requirement for History Education majors. back to questions 8. What courses will be offered during the summer? History offers quite a few lower-level and upper-level courses online during the Summer including all of the required courses for the History Education major except for HST 201. The list of these courses available in coming Summer is posted on the History Department’s web site during the course of Fall semester, usually in November. In addition, the Department offers a few senior seminars on campus each Summer. HST 201 is offered only on campus and is not usually offered during the Summer. back to questions 9. What Study Abroad programs does the History Department offer? The History Department regularly offers several Study Abroad programs. One in the Summer goes to Great Britain. It includes upper-level English and/or European history courses and sometimes lower-level European history courses or ISS courses. Another, which is offered in the Summer of odd-numbered years, is about “Race Relations in South Africa” and takes place is Johannesburg. The Department of History also participates in several international internship programs. From time to time, additional programs are offered on an ad hoc basis. back to questions 10. Is there an associate of undergraduates in this major? The History Association of Michigan State (H.A.M.S.) is made up of all students interested in history who care to attend its meetings. You do not have to be a History major. Announcements from H.A.M.S. are posted on Professor Tabuteau’s listserv. back to questions 11. Is there an honor society in this major? The History honor society is Phi Alpha Theta. There is a chapter in the Department. Membership is by invitation only. You do not need to be a History major to be a member of Phi Alpha Theta, but you must have a certain number of credits in History at Michigan State and you must have a certain GPA in those courses. For further information, consult the Phi Alpha Theta faculty advisor, Professor Jane Vieth (vieth@msu.edu). back to questions 12. When and how do I apply for graduation? You may apply for graduation either over the web or by going to the Registrar’s office and filling out a paper application. You should apply for graduation by the Friday of the first week of the term in which you expect to graduate, except that, if you expect to graduate at the end of the Summer term, you should apply the preceding Spring term. There is no commencement ceremony at the end of Summer term, so students who are expecting to graduate in August are allowed to “walk” at the May ceremony. They are also allowed to “walk” at the following December’s ceremony, but almost all such students attend the May ceremony instead. back to questions