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Your Place in History


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Your Place in History

The department welcomes all students to the study of history. The program blends core requirements with great choice, permitting students to pursue particular interests while developing a broad understanding of the historic past.

Do you want to teach high school social studies? A History major is excellent preparation for this field, and JMU offers a well-mapped path to teacher certification.

Are you interested in history "in the field?" The department's Public History concentration prepares you for careers in museums, historical sites, archives, and other places where the public encounters their history.

Are you thinking about a career in business but don't want to miss out on a liberal arts education? Consider the History and Business concentration.

Do your passions cross disciplinary boundaries? Many cross-disciplinary minors go well with a History major.

History students gain historical knowledge and understanding of many societies and cultures; improve their research, writing and computing skills; become independent, creative, and self-directed learners; and work with a superior and dedicated faculty. It's a strong preparation for any path in life.

Requirements for the Major in History

Click to obtain a Checklist in PDF format.

This major requires three core courses. Two of these courses are introductory-level surveys:

HIST 101, World History to 1500; and

HIST 102, World History Since 1500

HIST 395, History Seminar, is the third required course. This seminar on research methods teaches students the college-level computer applications for research and writing. HIST 395 fulfill the College of Arts and Letters writing-intensive requirement for the major.

In addition to the core requirements, majors take nine elective courses that meet department distribution requirements.

Requirements 2012-13+


HIST 101. World History to 1500


HIST 102. World History Since 1500


Two courses at the 200-level; HIST 225 (4 cr) can count as one of these courses.


HIST 395. History Seminar


Six 300- or 400-level courses (see the distribution requirements below)


  • Majors must complete three of their six higher-level elective courses at the 400 level.
  • HIST 395 is a prerequisite for 400-level courses. Non-majors who lack HIST 395 need the instructor's permission to enroll in 400-level classes.
  • Of their six higher-level electives, at least one each must be in U.S. history, European history, and World history.
  • Upper-level courses do not substitute for the required 200-level courses.
  • GHIST courses can be double-counted toward General Education credit.
  • Only three hours of HIST 499, Honors Thesis, may be counted among the 400-level courses required for the major.

Majors in history are strongly encouraged to continue study in foreign languages beyond the minimum university requirement and to integrate their foreign language studies into their history classes.

Syllabus Policies

Read the whole document to be confident of your rights and responsibilities: The Whole Document.

JMU Honor Code and Academic Honesty. When you make references to the ideas of others, it is essential to provide proper attribution and citation. Read the rest of the policy.

Intellectual Property. Any tests, assignments, or other material presented or distributed to you in this course are for your exclusive use only and not to be shared with anyone or published ... Read the rest of the policy.

Registration Dates and Deadlines. Students are responsible for knowing about the last day to drop/add a class, the last day to withdraw from a class (Course Adjustment deadline) as well as the date and time of the final exam. Read the rest of the policy.

First-week Attendance Policy At the instructor's discretion, any student registered for a class in the College of Arts and Letters who does not attend the first two (2) scheduled meetings of the class (or does not attend the first scheduled meeting of a class that meets once a week) may be administratively dropped from the class.

Read the rest of the policy.

Disability Accommodations. JMU abides by Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act, which mandate reasonable accommodations be provided for students with documented disabilities. Read the rest of the policy.

Religious Accommodations. All faculty are required to give reasonable and appropriate accommodations to students requesting them on grounds of religious observation. Read the rest of the policy.

Inclement Weather. For the safety and well-being of its student and employees, the university may close or limit its services based on inclement weather or other emergencies. Read the rest of the policy.

Credit By Exam

Students may receive credit by exam for U.S. History (GHIST 225). Examinations are offered the first week of every fall semester, the first week of every spring semester and the first week of every May session. Contact Dr. Andrew Witmer for further information.

Students may receive credit by exam for World History to 1500 (GHIST101) and/or World History since 1500 (GHIST102). Examinations for both of these courses are offered within the first month of the fall semester and the first month of the spring semester. Contact Dr. Stephen Chappell for further information.

Public History Concentration

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. The concentration provides a foundation for history majors seeking employment as public historians and also prepares students for graduate study in public history. Students pursuing the concentration augment their foundation of traditional history courses by taking introductory and specialized public history courses and completing a semester-long internship. Access more information about the concentration in the Public History section of this site.

History and Business Concentration

Many graduate business schools encourage applications from liberal arts majors. History majors who wish to prepare for admission to a Master of Business Administration degree program should declare this concentration and schedule 27 credit hours from courses offered by the College of Business.

COB 191

Business and Economic Statistics


COB 204

Computer Information Systems


COB 218

Legal Environment of Business


COB 241

Financial Accounting


COB 242

Managerial Accounting



Introduction to Macroeconomics


ECON 201

Principles of Economics (Micro)


FIN 345

Finance for Non-Financial Managers


MKTG 380

Principles of Marketing



Students should consult regularly with the associate dean of the College of Business.

Senior Honors Thesis

As part of its commitment to student research and writing, the Department of History encourages students to write a senior honors thesis. Any student with a cumulative 3.5 GPA or higher is eligible to write a senior honors thesis.

If you are eligible to write a senior honors thesis, the History department will notify you by email in the spring of your junior year. Feel free to inquire if you do not hear.

Students who plan to write a senior honors thesis begin by identifying a topic of interest and a faculty member to serve as project director. The project director will help the student to create a thesis prospectus (at least 3 pages in length) and a full bibliography and to identify two additional readers for the work. This information goes on to the Honors Application, which the student submits to the Honors Program office.

The Senior Honors Project handbook and the Honors Program forms page for the Honors Thesis application are resources for your planning; History majors and minors follow Track III.

Read more here.

College Attendance Policy

At the instructor's discretion, any student registered for a class in the College of Arts and Letters who does not attend the first two (2) scheduled meetings of the class (or does not attend the first scheduled meeting of a class that meets once a week) may be administratively dropped from the class. Students dropped for non-attendance will be notified via e-mail by the Associate Dean of the College.

Students who fail to attend the first two meetings of a class for which they are registered but who do not receive an e-mail notification have not been administratively dropped by their instructor. Unless those students drop the course on their own, they will receive a grade at the end of the semester. All students are responsible for verifying the accuracy of their schedules and changes made in their schedule via e-mail and through the web.