Department of History

Mission Statement
The Department of History supports the academic mission of James Madison University by providing the highest quality educational experiences within the liberal arts tradition that meet students' needs and prepare students for meaningful careers and active citizenship. The department focuses on the student as individual learner and global citizen. Our dedicated faculty members are classroom innovators and scholars who work responsibly and supportively with students to expand their knowledge and skills and to create a foundation for their lifelong learning.

To carry out the above mission, the Department of History seeks the following goals, which focus on student knowledge, skills and experiences.

Students studying history at JMU will:

Students studying history at JMU will:

Students studying history at JMU will:


Career Opportunities and Marketable Skills
Career opportunities open to those receiving a B.A. in history include:

With additional training, many graduates pursue careers in law or academia. Many graduates also have pursued careers in the health and technology professions.

Students completing an undergraduate degree in history possess marketable abilities in:

They also possess computer abilities and skills in:

Co-curricular Activities and Organizations


Degree and Major Requirements

Bachelor of Arts in History
The requirements for a major in history consist of introductory-, mid- and upper-level courses. The 100- and 200-level courses are world or regional surveys, covering extensive periods of time, while the 300- and 400-level courses focus on specific nations, time periods or themes. The upper-level courses also require more extensive analysis of sources, texts and interpretations. Majors in history are strongly encouraged to continue study in foreign languages beyond the minimum university requirement and, when appropriate, to integrate their foreign language studies into their history classes.

This major requires four core courses. Three of these courses are introductory level: GHIST 101, World History to 1500; GHIST 102, World History Since 1500; and GHIST 225, United States History. In addition to the core requirements, majors must take nine elective courses: two on the 200 level and seven on the 300 and 400 level.

These courses introduce students to the nature of history and survey the globe in a historical context. In addition to involving reading, writing and critical thinking, these courses develop students' elementary computer skills in identifying and interpreting research sources and presenting research results. The other required course is an upper-level course, HIST 395, History Seminar. This seminar on research methods teaches students the most sophisticated computer applications for research and writing.

Degree Requirements

Required Courses Credit Hours
General Education 1 41
Foreign Language classes (intermediate level required) 2 0-14
Philosophy course (in addition to General Education courses) 3
University electives 22-36
Major requirements (listed below) 40


1 The General Education program contains a set of requirements each student must fulfill. The number of credit hours necessary to fulfill these requirements may vary.
2 The foreign language requirement may be satisfied by successful completion of the second semester of the intermediate level of the student's chosen language (typically 232) or by placing out of that language through the Department of Foreign Languages, Literatures and Cultures' placement test.

Major Requirements

Core Requirements Credit Hours
GHIST 101. World History to 1500 3
GHIST 102. World History Since 1500 3
GHIST 225. U.S. History 4
Any other two courses at the 200 level 6
HIST 395. History Seminar 1 3
Electives: 21
Seven 300- or 400-level courses  


1 This course fulfills the College of Arts and Letters writing-intensive requirement for the major.

GHIST courses can be double-counted toward General Education credit. HIST 395 may not be counted toward the 300/400 level course requirement. HIST 395 is a prerequisite for 400-level courses. Non-majors may enroll in 400-level classes without completing HIST 395 with the instructor's permission. Majors must complete four of the seven 300/400 level elective courses at the 400 level. Majors must complete three courses (nine credit hours) outside the field of U.S. history on the 300- and 400-level with at least one of these upper-division courses in world history. For honors majors, only three hours of HIST 499, Honors Thesis, may be counted among the four 400-level courses required for the major.

Recommended Schedule for Majors

First Year Credit Hours
GHIST 101. World History to 1500 (Cluster Two) 3
GHIST 102. World History Since 1500 (Cluster Two) 3
Foreign language courses 6-8
General Education courses 9
General Education Cluster One: Skills for the 21st Century 9



Second Year Credit Hours
GHIST 225. U.S. History 4
Any other two courses at the 200 level 6
HIST 395. History Seminar 3
Foreign language courses (if needed) or electives 6
General Education courses (Cluster Three, Cluster Five) 12



Third Year Credit Hours
Philosophy course 3
History electives (mix 300 and 400 levels) 9
Electives 9
General Education courses (Cluster Two, Cluster Four) 9



Fourth Year Credit Hours
History electives (mix 300 and 400 levels) 12
Electives 15
General Education courses (Cluster Four) 3




Public History
Historians today practice their discipline in a variety of careers as well as in more traditional academic settings. Those historians who work in museums, archives, government agencies, libraries, historic preservation organizations, businesses, contract history firms, cultural resource management firms and historic sites are known as public historians because they use their skills as historians to serve a public audience. The concentration in Public History trains students in the broad range of skills and issues associated with public history while providing them with a solid general background in history.

Students pursuing the public history concentration augment their foundation of traditional history courses by taking introductory and specialized public history courses and completing a semester-long internship. History majors opting to pursue the public history concentration will complete eight elective courses, seven of which must be 300/400 level history courses. The public history concentration consists of five courses (15 credit hours).

Students are required to complete two public history core courses and three elective courses. Two of the three elective courses should be chosen from the list of primary electives; the remaining elective course may be chosen from either the primary or secondary list of elective courses.

History Major with Public History Concentration

Core Requirements Credit Hours
GHIST 101. World History to 1500 3
GHIST 102. World History Since 1500 3
GHIST 225. U.S. History 4
Any two 200 level History courses 6
HIST 395. History Seminar 1 3
Eight electives 2  
Non-U.S. 300/400 level history courses 9

Public History Concentration

Core Requirements Credit Hours
HIST 340. Internship in History 3
HIST 396. Introduction to Public History 3
Primary Electives 6-9
HIST 310. American Business History  
HIST/ANTH 331. Historical Archeology  
HIST 337. Workshop in Local History  
HIST/ARTH 394. Introduction to Museum Work  
HIST/ANTH/SCOM 441. Oral History and Social Justice  
HIST 491. Editing Historical Documents  
HIST/ANTH/ARTH 492. American Material Culture  
HIST/ANTH 493. Historic Preservation  
HIST 495. Introduction to Archives and Manuscripts  
HIST 497. Genealogical Research and Family History  
Secondary Electives 0-3
HIST 326. The Automobile in 20th Century America  
HIST 327. Technology in America  
HIST/SOCI 338. U.S. Urban Social History  
HIST 360. Research Apprenticeship in History  
HIST 391. Travel Studies Seminar: Summer in Ghana Program  
HIST 391. Travel Studies Seminar: Cultural History of Scotland  
HIST 391. Travel Studies Seminar: Cultural History of the Netherlands  
HIST 402. Workshop in Colonial American Life  
HIST 403. Workshop in Civil War Virginia  
HIST/ARTH 406. Monticello  
HIST/ARTH 408. The Museum: Histories and Controversies  
ANTH 494. Field Techniques in Archeology  


1 This course fulfills the College of Arts and Letters writing-intensive requirement for the major.
2 Seven (21 credit hours) of the eight electives must be 300/400-level history courses. At least four courses (12 credit hours) must be 400-level history courses. For honors majors, only three hours of HIST 499, Honors Thesis, may be counted among the four 400-level courses required for the major.


Teaching Licensure
Students interested in becoming teachers must meet specific curriculum requirements in their major as part of the undergraduate academic degree. History majors desiring secondary teaching licensure must complete GHIST 225.

In addition to the general education and academic major requirements, history majors desiring secondary teacher licensure must be admitted to teacher education, complete the pre-professional program in secondary education at the undergraduate level and complete the graduate level Master of Arts in Teaching degree.

It is critical that students seeking licensure consult regularly with both their education adviser and their major adviser to support their progression through the programs. For a full description of the program in secondary teaching, refer to the Department of Middle, Secondary and Mathematics Education, in addition to the College of Education section of the catalog.


History and Business
Many graduate business schools encourage applications from liberal arts majors. History majors who wish to prepare specifically for admission to a Master of Business Administration degree program should schedule from the following courses.

A history major may choose no more than 27 credit hours in this program from courses offered by the College of Business. Students should consult regularly with the associate dean of the College of Business. In addition to the major in history, students are advised to choose from the following courses.

COB Course Electives for History Majors Credit Hours
COB 191. Business and Economic Statistics 3
COB 204. Computer Information Systems 3
COB 218. Legal Environment of Business 3
COB 241. Financial Accounting 3
COB 242. Managerial Accounting 3
GECON 200. Introduction to Macroeconomics 3
ECON 201. Principles of Economics (Micro) 3
FIN 345. Finance for Non-Financial Managers 3
MKTG 380. Principles of Marketing 3



Minor Requirements

Departmental Minor

History Minor
The minor in history is available with the B.A., B.S. or any other degree. The minor requires 21 credit hours of history, including GHIST 101 and GHIST 102. At least six of the remaining fifteen hours must be at the 300 or 400 level with at least one of these courses in world history.

Cross Disciplinary Minors

Africana Studies Minor
The minor in Africana Studies broadens students' world perspectives by enhancing their acquaintance with and understanding of the peoples, cultures and institutions of Africa and the African Diaspora. The minimum requirement for a minor in Africana studies is 22 credit hours.

American Studies Minor
American Studies is a cross disciplinary program of study that promotes an enhanced understanding of the whole of American civilization, past and present through examination of the diverse aspects of our culture and changing patterns of ideas and values. Courses come from the departments within the College of Arts and Letters and students will take courses from within three groupings: multicultural studies, ideas and the arts, and history and politics.

Asian Studies Minor
The purpose of this cross disciplinary program is to broaden the students' perspective by enhancing their understanding and appreciation of Asian culture and institutions. The minimum requirement for a the Asian Studies minor is 18 credit hours.

Classical Studies Minor
The minor in Classical Studies introduces students to Greco-Roman civilization. The requirement is successful completion of 24 credit hours.

Historical Archaeology Minor
The cross disciplinary minor in Historical Archaeology is designed for students interested in a discipline that integrates the research interests and methods of archaeology and history.

Latin American and Caribbean Studies
This minor allows students to acquire a deeper understanding of Latin America. In addition to a B.A. degree language requirement in Spanish, the Latin American and Caribbean Studies minor consists of a minimum of 18 credit hours.

Russian Studies Minor
This minor offers a broad, cross disciplinary perspective on Russian culture, history, political institutions, economy and geography. The minimum requirement for the Russian Studies minor is 18 credit hours.

Women's and Gender Studies Minor
The Women's and Gender Studies minor is an 18 credit hour cross disciplinary program that explores the scholarship related to gender and equity issues affecting women.

Credit by Examination
The Department of History offers credit by examination for GHIST 101, GHIST 102, and GHIST 225. Students who want permission to take an examination must apply in writing to the department head during the regular registration period. The examinations are administered during the first month of each semester at a time and place set by the department. Additional information on credit by examination may be found at the Department of History Web site at





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