Academic Catalog

History (B.A.)

A bachelor's degree in history prepares students to conduct research, evaluate information, think critically, and communicate clearly and persuasively, skills valued in most industries. History majors commonly work in education, museums, libraries and archives, government, international relations, business and finance, nonprofits, tourism, publishing, and the law.

Located in the heart of Detroit's Cultural Center, Wayne State is the ideal place to study history. Detroit's rich local history and world-class archives offer an unparalleled opportunity to learn about our city's storied past and examine the complex political, social, and cultural history of the United States. Courses on Europe, Asia, Africa, Latin America, and the Middle East – as well as WSU's study abroad programs – encourage students to explore the world. Undergraduate courses are taught by world-renowned faculty who are experts in their fields. Our program emphasizes both rigorous scholarship and public engagement. All of our students have opportunities to conduct original research, develop cutting-edge digital skills, and gain hands-on experience through internships.

Admission Requirements

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

Career Considerations

Continuing on in History
Undergraduate majors in History are often looking forward to graduate studies and becoming a professional historian, doing research and teaching in a university setting.  Student pursuing this option should be aware that and overall GPA of at least a 3.00 and a major GPA of at least 3.25 is required to be competitive for admission to graduate school. Students who intend to complete an M.A. at Wayne State before moving to another institution for the Ph.D. are encouraged to undertake the AGRADE program, which allows majors to double-count up to 16 hours of undergraduate coursework for their graduate degree.

Teaching History at the High School Level
Majors who are interested in teaching History to teens rather than adults often pursue a B.A. in history and an M.A.T. through the College of Education.  Students may need a provisional certificate to teach while earning their graduate education degree, depending on the setting.

Archives and Libraries
Many of our alumni are employed as archivists or librarians in historical collections.  Wayne State offers a nationally-recognized graduate certificate in Archival Administration, which can be undertaken on its own or in conjunction with a master's in History or a master's in Library and Information Science.

Law and the LawStart program
History is a common major for students interested in pursuing a law degree.  Students interested in Law are encouraged to consider the LawStart program, which allows students to combine work on the B.A. and J.D. in the fourth year, saving a year in earning both degrees.

Non-Profit Management of Historical Agencies
Many history majors pursue careers in public history or in business and industry.  A minor in business administration can help prepare majors for managing non-profit historical agencies as well as serve as background for an M.B.A. program.

Pre-Med Curriculum
With the current shift toward STEM disciplines, students are finding that combining a major in History may give their med school applications a second look by providing a more well-rounded undergraduate experience.  Students interested in attending medical school are encouraged to look into the MedStart Program.

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 

Students must complete thirty-six credits in History (which may include a maximum of 18 transfer credits).  Specific requirements are as follows:

Survey Courses (select one from each of two different geographic regions)6-8
World Civilization to 1500
Europe and the World: 1500-1945
The World Since 1945
Nature and Societal Transitions
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
HIS 3000The Historian's Craft3
Advanced Courses18
Select five History courses numbered 3001 or above, with at least 3 courses numbered above 5000. Special courses do not count for this requirement (excludes HIS 4990, HIS 4997, and HIS 5996).Of these 5 courses, students must include diversity in geographic content by including one course in each geographic region (Europe, United States, World).
Chronological Distribution
Within the work done to fulfill the survey sequence and the advanced coursework, two courses must be in the pre-1800 time period and two courses must be in the post-1800 time period so that every major has research experience with pre- and post-industrial history.
HIS 5996Junior or Senior Research Seminar3
Additional History courses as needed to reach 36 total hours in the major.

History Honors (B.A. Program)

Students contemplating advanced degrees in History are encouraged to obtain the B.A. with Honors in History.  Honors majors must complete the following in addition to the normal major requirements, above:

Cumulative GPA of a 3.30, and a major GPA of 3.50
15 credits in honors-designated coursework, including:
Seminar: Global Perspectives on Historical Studies
6 credits in honors-option courses in History which are numbered above 3000
One additional honor course in any discipline
HIS 5995, the History Honors Seminar, which is taken after the completion of HIS 5996. Typically, students will begin their senior thesis in HIS 5996 and complete it in HIS 5995. This thesis will be directed by two regular faculty members; the student will also defend the thesis before them.
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