History (B.A.)

History is central to our understanding of the human experience. The study of the past allows us to place our world in context, whether we want to understand international crises, the significance of a national election, or social relations within our own community. The skills of the historian - the ability to do research in original sources, to think critically, and to write clearly and persuasively - are highly valued in our changing world. The Wayne State Department of History maintains an international reputation for excellence in history, most notably in labor and urban history and in the history of governance and citizenship. Our faculty has received numerous awards for cutting-edge research and excellence in teaching. We teach undergraduate students fundamental research, analytical, and writing skills and train graduate students as professional historians, equipped with the skills to produce original, publishable research in their field of specialization.

Admission Requirements

Admission requirements for this program are satisfied by the general requirements for undergraduate admission to the University.


Candidates must complete 120 credits in course work including satisfaction of the University General Education Requirements and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Group Requirements, as well as the departmental major  requirements cited below. All course work must be completed in accordance with the regulations of the University and the College governing undergraduate scholarship and degrees.

Major Requirements 

The B.A. with a major in History requires thirty-six credits1 as follows:

Select a survey sequence consisting of at least one course from two of the following regions:6-8
World Civilization to 1500
Europe and the World: 1500-1945
The World Since 1945
Society and the Economic Transition
History of Women, Gender and Sexuality in the Modern World
United States
History of the Headlines: United States Since World War II
American Foundations to 1877
Modern America: Since 1877
African Civilizations to 1800
African Civilizations Since 1800
East Asia to the 1700s
History of Modern East Asia
History of Colonial Latin America
Latin America from Independence to the Present
Five History courses numbered above 3000 to equal at least 15 credits 215
HIS 3000The Historian's Craft 33
HIS 5993Writing Intensive Course in History 40
HIS 5996Junior or Senior Research Seminar 53
Additional History courses as needed to meet the 36 credit requirement

Recommended Cognate Courses: Among recommended cognates for history majors are courses in anthropology, economics, English, political science, and sociology. The history of philosophy, the history of art, and the history of music are also appropriate electives, as are foreign language and culture courses.

Business Administration Cognate Study

Many history majors pursue careers in business and industry. It is possible to arrange a coherent cognate of several courses in the Mike Ilitch School of Business that enhances the preparation of history majors for potential employment in business and industry, and also may serve as background for an M.B.A. program. Interested students should consult advisors in the Mike Ilitch School of Business for assistance in constructing the cognate.

Pre-Law Program

The pre-law program is one of a number of pre-professional programs available in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. The following courses are strongly recommended for pre-law students: HIS 5160 and HIS 5170.

History Honors

The History Department offers a Bachelor of Arts degree 'With Honors in History.' Qualified students planning post-baccalaureate work in history or in a professional school are especially encouraged to obtain an honors degree. Honors majors must have a 3.5 g.p.a. in history courses and a 3.3 cumulative g.p.a. in all courses. Honors majors must complete at least fifteen credits in honors-designated coursework, including at least one 4000-level seminar offered through the Honors College; six additional credits in History honors courses, of which at least three credits must be in an upper-division (numbered 3000 or above) honors-option course; and HIS 5995 (Honors Seminar) after the completion of HIS 5996 (Capstone Course). To be admitted to the Honors Seminar, the student must have completed twenty-four credits in history, nine of which must be at or above the 3000 level. Students in the Honors Seminar will ordinarily complete a senior thesis begun in HIS 5996. This thesis will be directed by two regular faculty members; the student will also defend the thesis before them.