Studying History deepens our understanding of the world and its interconnections, its diverse peoples and cultures.

Student sitting in class

Do you want to make history?

Studying History 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.

The history major consists of 40 semester hours of history coursework. It integrates study in a range of periods, geographical areas, and cultural contexts, to develop breadth as well as depth of historical knowledge, as well as sophisticated skills in research and inquiry.

Category I: Introductory level

Any three courses chosen from the following:

  • HIST 100 World History I
  • HIST 101 World History II
  • HIST 118 Latin American History
  • HIST 128 Modern European History 1789–1989
  • HIST 130 Asia to the 18th Century
  • HIST 140 Early American History
  • HIST 141 Modern American History

Students considering a major in history should complete Category I by the end of their sophomore year. History majors may substitute other history electives for survey courses if they have received a grade of four or five on an advanced placement exam in history, or a score of 5, 6, or 7 on an international baccalaureate exam in history.

Category II: Specialization

Three courses with a specific focus defined by the student. This focus may be geographical (such as Asia, Europe, or the U.S.), thematic (such as race, gender, or revolution) or temporal (such as modern). 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 Global 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 at Public History Site
  • HIST 368 and HIST 370 may count as Category V

Category III: Breadth

Three courses covering required topics:

  • one course with a focus on race and ethnicity history (HIST 118, AST 240, HIST 210, HIST 212, HIST 217, HIST 231, HIST 237, HIST 240),
  • one course in early or pre-modern history (HIST 130, HIST 205, HIST 222, HIST 223, HIST 224, HIST 231, HIST 240, HIST 241, HIST 371), and
  • one course in historical gender studies (HIST 204, HIST 207, HIST 215, HIST 216, HIST 219, HIST 230, HIST 360, WGST 204).

Category IV: Methods

All majors must take HIST 260: Interpreting the Past, in the sophomore or 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: Capstone

At least 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 University'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.

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.

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 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 University 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.

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.

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Our Faculty

Sarah Leonard photo

Sarah Leonard

  • Associate Professor and Acting Chair, Department of Critical Race, Gender and Cultural Studies