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Undergraduate: History

  • Program Overview

    History (HIS)

    History is the systematic study of peoples, states, and societies from antiquity to our current times. Using both written records and material artifacts, historians attempt to reconstruct and interpret change over time in every facet of human experience, from political and economic systems to family life and gender roles, to name a few. The study of history is not only intrinsically interesting, but also contributes useful insights into the contemporary world and its problems.

    History majors develop an in-depth knowledge of a specific region of the world, including its history, geography, and culture. In the process, they also learn how to conduct historical research, and to develop convincing arguments based on the evidence they uncover. Effective oral and written communication skills are strongly emphasized in all history courses.

    Many History majors choose careers in law, teaching, archival or library science, or museum work. Because it emphasizes research and writing, history is also excellent preparation for many fields, including journalism, diplomacy, and international business. Combined with a concentration in science, the History major is also a good background for medicine or other health science professions.

    The Department's offerings range over many eras, regions, and topics, concentrating on the United States, Europe, Latin America, East Asia, the history of science, and women's history. Surveys of these fields are offered at the 100 level for the United States and Europe and the 200 level for other areas. Students interested in the study of history should take these survey courses first,  as prerequisites for more advanced coursework. American and European courses at the 200 level customarily examine a specific period, while 300-level courses typically examine specific topics (such as social or political history) or countries (such as Germany, Brazil, or China). History colloquia at the 400 level are small classes offering intensive reading and discussion on closely focused themes. The study of history emphasizes the mastery of large amounts of information and the ability to demonstrate that mastery through skillful writing.

    Each semester the Department issues a booklet with detailed descriptions of its offerings. Students interested in history, whether as a major, a minor, a social science course related to their major, or for general liberal arts purposes, are invited to read this booklet and to seek advice from the Department's director of undergraduate studies and other faculty members.

  • Degrees and Requirements

    Requirements for the Major and Minor in History (HIS)

    Requirements for the Major

    The major in History leads to the Bachelor of Arts degree. All courses taken to meet Requirements A and B must be taken for a letter grade. No grade lower than C may be applied toward the major. At least 12 credits in Requirement A must be taken within the Department of History at Stony Brook.

    Completion of the major requires 39 credits.

    A. Study within the Area of the Major

           A minimum of 12 courses (33 credits) distributed as follows:

    1. Two courses at the 100 level
    2. A primary field of four courses to be selected from one of the following: United States, European, Asian, Latin American, ancient and medieval, or global history. Primary fields developed along topical or thematic lines may be selected with approval of the Department's undergraduate director. The primary field shall be distributed as follows:
      1. Two courses at the 200 level
      2. Two courses at the 300 level
    3. HIS 301 Reading and Writing History (must be taken prior to HIS 401) 
    4. HIS 459 Write Effectively in History, taken in conjunction with HIS 301 or (with approval of the course instructor) another upper-division History course
    5. HIS 401  Senior Colloquium
    6. Three courses selected from outside the primary field and above the 100 level, with at least one of these courses at the 300 or 400 level.

    B. Courses in a Related Discipline

    Two upper-division courses in one discipline, the discipline to be selected with departmental approval. Courses that are crosslisted with a history course do not satisfy this requirement.

    C. Upper-Division Writing Requirement

    A student can fulfill the upper-division writing requirement for History by submission of one ten-page paper or two five-page papers produced in HIS 301.  (With approval of the course instructor, a paper(s) produced in another upper-division History course may be considered for the writing requirement.)  A paper grade(s) of B- or higher is usually sufficient to fulfill the requirement.

    The student will register for HIS 459 and inform the instructor of the course in advance that the paper(s) for the course is to be evaluated to fulfill the upper-division writing requirement. The student will submit an approved paper(s) with an approval form signed by the instructor to the Undergraduate Program Director (UPD) in History. The UPD may require further revisions to the paper(s) before approval of the requirement.

    Successful completion of HIS 459 will satisfy the SBC WRTD requirement as well as the History major upper-division writing requirement.  

    Students should consult with the department advisor to ensure that their plan for completing the Upper Division Writing Requirement is consistent with  university graduation requirements for General Education.  Students completing the Stony Brook Curriculum (SBC) must complete a course that satisfies the "Write Effectively within One's Discipline" (WRTD) learning objective to graduate.  The Upper Division Writing Requirement is consistent in most cases with the SBC learning outcomes for WRTD.

    Notes:
    1. No transferred course with a grade lower than C may be applied toward Requirement A.

    The Honors Program in History

    Departmental majors with a minimum  g.p.a. of 3.50 in history courses and related disciplines as specified in the major requirements are eligible to enroll in the History honors program at the beginning of their senior year.

    The student, after asking a faculty member to be a sponsor, must submit a proposal to the Department indicating the merit of the planned research. The supervising faculty member must also submit a statement supporting the student's proposal. This must be done in the semester prior to the beginning of the project.

    The honors paper resulting from a student's research is read by two historians and a member of another department, as arranged by the director of undergraduate studies. If the paper is judged to be of unusual merit and the student's record warrants such a determination, the De­partment recommends honors.

    Requirements for the Minor

    The minor is organized around one particular area of history (of the student’s choice), defined either by geography (e.g., United States, Latin America) or topic (e.g., imperialism, social change). Courses offered for the minor must be taken for a letter grade. All courses offered for the minor must be passed with a grade of C or higher.

    Completion of the minor requires 21 credits. At least nine of the 21 credits must be taken at Stony Brook, with three of the courses at the upper-division level. The specific distribution of the credits should be determined in consultation with the director of undergraduate studies. An example of an acceptable distribution would be the following:

    1. Two 100-level HIS courses 
    2. Two 200-level courses in field of concentration 
    3. Three 300-level courses in field of concentration, with option of substituting one 400-level course for one of the three 300-level courses

    Note: HIS 447, HIS 487, HIS 488, HIS 495, HIS 496 may not be used to satisfy major or minor requirements.

     

     

  • Sequence

    Sample Course Sequence for the Major in History

    A course planning guide for this major may be found hereThe major course planning guides are not part of the official Undergraduate Bulletin, and are only updated periodically for use as an advising tool. The Undergraduate Bulletin supersedes any errors or omissions in the major course planning guides.  

    FRESHMAN

    FALL Credits
    First Year Seminar 101 1
    WRT 101 3
    HIS 101 or HIS 103 3
    SBC 3
    SBC 3
    SBC
     3
     Total 16
     
    SPRING Credits
    First Year Seminar 102 1
    WRT 102 3
    HIS 102 or HIS 104 3
    SBC 3
    SBC 3
    SBC
     3
     Total 16
     
    SOPHOMORE

    FALL Credits
    Primary Field Course #1 (200 level) 3
    SBC
    3
    SBC 3
    SBC 3
    SBC  3
     Total 15
     
    SPRING Credits
    HIS 200-level outside primary field 3
    Primary Field Course #2 (200 level) 3
    Elective  3
    SBC  3
    SBC  3
    Upper-division elective 3
     Total 18
     
    JUNIOR

    FALL Credits
    Primary Field Course #3 (300 level) 3
    HIS 300-level outside primary field 3
    Upper-division elective 3
    HIS 301  3
    Elective  3
     Total 15
     
    SPRING Credits
    Primary Field course #4 (300 level) 3
    HIS 301 writing seminar 3
    Related discipline 300-level course 3
    Upper-division SBC 3
    Upper-division elective 3
     Total 15
     
    SENIOR

    FALL Credits
    Primary Field course #5 (400-level special topics seminar)  3
    HIS 300-level outside primary field   3
    SBC  3
    Elective  3
    Elective  3
     Total 15
     
    SPRING Credits
    Related discipline course (300 or 400-level) 3
    Upper-division SBC  3
    Upper-division SBC   3 
    Elective  3
    Elective  3
     Total 15

     

  • Contact

    History (HIS)

    Major and Minor in History

    Department of History, College of Arts and Sciences

    Chair: Paul Gootenberg

    Director of Undergraduate Studies: Donna Rilling

    Assistant to the Chair: Susan Grumet

    Office: S-301 Social and Behavioral Sciences

    Phone: (631) 632-7500

    Email: Susan.Grumet@stonybrook.edu

    Website: http://www.stonybrook.edu/commcms/history

    Minors of particular interest to students majoring in History: Africana Studies (AFS), International Studies (INT), Latin American and Caribbean Studies (LAC), Political Science (POL), Women's and Gender Studies (WST), Foreign Languages

     

     

  • Courses
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