Roanoke College

Major in History


History majors learn research and critical thinking skills as they complete two extensive research papers during major courses. The writing-intensive nature of the program allows students to learn research methods and develop strong writing skills, both of which are essential for work or study in the field after college. History students with special interests may conduct independent study projects while working closely with a member of the faculty.


A major in history requires the completion of 12 units. These include:

1. Two units at the 100-level, either 110 or 120, and either 130 or 140.

2. At least one unit from each of the following 200-level groups:

  • Pre-Modern History (pre-1600) 121, 2518, 223, 230, 231, 233, 235, 253, 290 (where appropriate)
  • Modern History and US History (post-1600) 200, 205, 206, 207, 208, 241, 242, 243, 245, 246, 260, 261, 262, 263, 264, 265, 266, 267, 268, 269, 290 (where appropriate)
  • Non-Western History 210, 253, 254, 255, 272, 281, 282, 284, 285, 290 (where appropriate)

3. History 300: Historical Methods

4. At least one unit from each of the following groups:

  • Pre-Modern History (pre-1600) 310, 320, 325, 330
  • OR
  • Modern History (post-1600) 350, 375, 380

5. History 490: Research Seminar

6. Four electives: two units at the 200 level or higher, and two units at the 300 level or higher, one of which must be a 300-level issues course.

Experiential Learning: All students must have one of their courses serve as an Experiential Learning course. Such Experiential Learning courses are characterized by one or more of the following, (1) the student works on a individually-defined and approved project under the supervision of experts in the field; (2) the student directly engages methodologies that work best outside of the classroom and require significant concentrations of time or interaction with people (such as oral interviews; map-making; historical surveys, etc); (3) the student typically pursues activities off-campus, such as at a local museum or an archaeological dig, etc.; (4) the student will engage imaginative approaches to learning the discipline of History, such as in role playing courses or in Living History reconstructions; (5) the student travels to conduct research or studies abroad.

Current Experiential Learning Courses include: 205, 206, 207, 208, 218, 273, 290 where appropriate, 400-level courses where appropriate and approved by the chair, INQ 177, 277, and 377 where the topic is appropriate and approved by the chair.

The department strongly encourages all majors to explore the possibilities of international study through the May Term Intensive Learning, or summer programs, and semester or year-long study abroad options.

Students planning subsequent graduate study are advised that work in at least one foreign language is very important. One's major advisor should be consulted early to determine an appropriate program of study.

History Major Checklist