Do you want to make history?

Studying history deepens our understanding of the world and its interconnections, its diverse peoples and cultures. It reveals the changes and continuities that ebb and flow around us. Diseases, agriculture, civil rights, childrearing practices, political dynasties, and furniture all have histories. The past shapes the present, from the environment to forms of government, to the way we think about gender and race.

Our faculty introduce students to a variety of time periods, regions, and approaches to history. You'll learn how history is made through your own investigation of the past. Choose courses that follow a theme like Revolutions, a geographic focus like East Asia, or an era like the 20th Century. You'll refine and apply your knowledge through research projects and internships.

Follow your passion while developing valuable skills in critical reading, writing, research, and analysis. Our students build fulfilling and versatile careers as teachers, lawyers, librarians, archivists, consultants, and museum curators, as well as in business, health care, and government.

Program Requirements

The major in history is composed of 40 semester hours of history courses, giving the student both breadth and depth of knowledge in the field. Students engage in the study of the Americas, Europe, Africa, Asia, and other areas of the world, from multiple perspectives, before and in the modern era.

All 100-level courses and most 200-level courses may be taken without prerequisites. The department recommends beginning with relatively introductory classes and progressing toward more specialized ones, but each student's course of study is individualized.

Category I: Introductory Level

Students considering a major in history are advised to complete Category I by the end of their sophomore year. History majors who have received a grade of four or five on an advanced placement exam in history may opt to replace the corresponding introductory course with an elective instead.

Choose any three courses from the following:

  • HIST 100 World Civilization I: Pre-Modern Societies
  • HIST 101 World Civilization II: Colonialism and Post-Colonialism
  • HIST 128 Modern European History 1789-1989
  • HIST 140 History of American Civilization I: 1607-1877
  • HIST 141 History of American Civilization II: 1877 to the Present
  • HIST 202 Asia to the 18th Century

Category II: Specialization

Three courses with a specific geographical (such as Asia, Europe, or the U.S.) or thematic (such as race or gender) focus. One course in Category I may count in Category II.

A specialization in public history requires four of the following, with HIST 253 ideally as the first course:

  • HIST 205 Environmental History
  • HIST 252 History and Material Culture
  • HIST 253 Boston's Past: Introduction to Public History
  • HIST 254 History through Novels and Films
  • HIST 335 Sites of History: Research Seminar in Public History
  • HIST 370 Internship in Public History Site

*HIST 368 and HIST 370 may count as category V.

Category III: Breadth

Three courses as follows.

One course with a focus on race and ethnicity history:

  • AST 240 African American Intellectual and Political History
  • HIST 210 The African American Experience from Colonial Times to the Present
  • HIST 213 Race and Ethnicity in U.S. History
  • HIST 231 Understanding Islam in Historical Perspective
  • HIST 237 Holocaust
  • HIST 240 The Atlantic World, 1500-1800

One course in early or pre-modern history:

  • HIST 202 Asia to the 18th Century
  • HIST 222 Greek and Roman History
  • HIST 223 Medieval History
  • HIST 224 The Renaissance
  • HIST 240 The Atlantic World, 1500-1800
  • HIST 241 Revolutions in the West
  • HIST 371 Seminary in Early American History

One course in historical gender studies:

  • HIST 204 Japanese Culture: Gender, Family, and Society
  • HIST 207 Gender, Family, and Society in Modern China
  • HIST 215 Women and Gender in U.S. History before 1890
  • HIST 216 Women and Gender in U.S. History since 1890
  • HIST 219 History of Sexuality and the Family
  • HIST 230 Women and Gender in Europe
  • HIST 360 Seminar in the History of Women and Gender
  • WGST 204 Roots of Feminism

Category IV: Methods

All majors must take HIST 260 Interpreting the Past, preferably in their junior year. By petition, students in the accelerated BA/MA History program may count HIST 397 to fulfill the Methods requirement for the undergraduate major.

Category V: Advanced Work

One history course at or above the 350 level: this requirement may be fulfilled with a seminar, an internship, a thesis, or an independent study. Majors must declare how they plan to fulfill the independent learning requirement before the end of their junior year.

Departmental Honors

Departmental Honors in history is offered to qualified students (3.5 GPA in history courses) who are eligible according to the College's requirements. An honors candidate is required to register in HIST 350 Independent Study in the first semester of their senior year. Upon satisfactory completion of that course, the student is then required to satisfactorily complete HIST 355 Thesis. This course of study is especially recommended to the student intending to pursue the study of history or a related subject in graduate school.

Minor Requirements

A minor in history consists of five courses at least one of which should be at the 100 level and at least two at the 200 level.

Customize Your Program

You'll work closely with your advisor to develop a program that's tailored to your interests and career goals. We encourage our students to augment their required courses with in-depth study in the liberal arts and additional courses in the major. Dual degrees, interdisciplinary programs and a wide range of minors -- including a minor in public history and a minor in gender history -- are also available. 

We also offer a minor in history for students pursuing other majors. Students choosing a minor in history are required to take five courses, at least one of which should be at the 100 level and at least two at the 200 level.

Internships and Research

Internships and research are central to our program. You'll gain practical experience while refining your focus and making connections with leaders in the field. Internships may take place in film or television studios, or in some of the Greater Boston Area's museums, archives, historic buildings and other historical sites. Recent internship sites include:

  • Plimoth Plantation
  • The Paul Revere House
  • The Simmons College Archives
  • The African Meeting House
  • The Mary Baker Eddy Library
  • John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum

Career Opportunities for Graduates

  • Researcher, interpreter, or publicist at an historic house.
  • Public relations work for a museum or historic site such as the Old South Meeting House, the Black Heritage Trail, or the Women's Heritage Trail in Boston.
  • Developing websites or films about sites such as the sloop Adventure in Gloucester and Lowell Industrial Park.
Faculty
    Stephen Berry
    • Stephen Berry
    • Associate Professor of History
    • Phone: 617-521-2272
    • Office: C319C
    Sarah Leonard
    • Sarah Leonard
    • Associate Professor of History
    • Phone: 617-521-2254
    • Office: C319D
    Zhigang Liu
    • Zhigang Liu
    • Associate Professor
    • Phone: 617-521-2238
    • Office: C319B
    Steve Ortega
    • Stephen Ortega
    • Associate Professor and Director of the Graduate Program in History/Archives Management
    • Phone: 617-521-2251
    • Office: C319E
All faculty »
How to Apply

So you know that Simmons is a great place to be, you've learned about our programs, maybe even come for a visit...now you're ready to apply! Let's get started.