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Major/Minor Requirements

Applicable for the 2020-2021 academic year.

History as a discipline views the past from today’s vantage point, asking how experience guides us. The diverse material of history — documents, artifacts, historical contexts — calls for rigorous analysis expressed in cogent written and oral argument. Its study prepares students for employment and further study in a wide variety of professions, among them law, business, government, nonprofit management, library and museum leadership, and teaching.

Skills essential to contemporary life are important products of the history major, but the curriculum of this department is more ambitious. It grounds students’ lives as well as their careers. Majors are educated to appreciate their own traditions and understand others. Their attention to politics, ideas, social structures, and economic systems informs their public contributions and their private choices. Just as we encourage Colorado College students to understand how their predecessors in this country and around the world invested their lives with meaning and beauty, we empower them to frame their own futures with flexible imaginations, forceful intellects, and a lively sense of the expanse of human possibility.


A student majoring in history must take a minimum of 10 or 11 units, including an introductory course; at least 6 units at the 200-or 300-levels; HY 399:  Junior Seminar; and a 2-block senior sequence.  Among the 6 elective units, students must satisfy the following: a course in U.S. history (1 unit), the Time Distribution requirement (2 units) and the Geographic Distribution requirement (3 units).  The department strongly recommends foreign language competence beyond the intermediate level.

       Course of Study:

  • Introductory Course: HY110 or a two-block history course.
  • Minimum of 6 elective units at the 200-or 300-levels. Within these 6 units, students must satisfy the following departmental requirements:
  • U.S. History requirement (1 unit)
  • Time Distribution (2 units): At least one unit addressing a period up through the 18th century and one unit addressing a period from the 18th century forward.  (Note: units may also count toward geographic distribution.)
  • Geographic Distribution (3 units): At least one unit in three of the following six regions: Africa, East Asia, Europe, Latin America, Middle East, South Asia.  (Note:  units may also count toward period distribution.)
  • Junior Seminar: Studying History (HY 399).
  • Senior Sequence: HY 410 Advanced Seminar and HY 420 Senior Essay (2 units taken in consecutive blocks during the senior year). Students have the opportunity to write a senior thesis in lieu of the senior essay. This option requires departmental approval and a 3-unit Senior Sequence (HY 410, HY 430, HY 431). 

Students with a minimum G.P.A of 3.6 within the major may submit their senior essays or senior theses to be considered for distinction.


Students take five units in the department, including:

  • Four courses at any level, including one from three of the following regions: Africa, East Asia, Europe, Latin America, Middle East,  South Asia, United States   
  • HY399: Junior Seminar: Studying History
  • Only one course can be counted for this minor if it is used to fulfill another major's requirements