Undergraduate Programs

The range and diversity of courses offered by the Department of History are designed to meet the needs and interests of Majors, non-Majors, and of full-time and part-time students. Students who do not intend to concentrate in history will find that history courses complement in almost any of the fields and disciplines which comprise the Faculty of Arts & Science. History courses are considered Non-Specialist Electives for students registered in the Faculty of Arts & Science and who are concentrating in an area other than the Humanities.

Students who elect to concentrate their studies in history will select from three programs offered by the department: Specialist, Major or Minor. The Department of History is now offering a new Focus in Law and History (Specialist) and Focus in Law and History (Major).

Students are responsible for fulfilling the program requirements of the Specialist, Major and Minor program from the Calendar of the year in which they enrolled in the program: Arts & Science Archived Calendars. NB: ‘Course’ means 1 full credit (Y) or 2 half credits (H). See also Geographic courses and Temporal courses.**

**NEW** Requirements for the History Specialist, Major and Minor programs have changed for the 2021-2022 Academic Session.

**New for 2020-2021 Academic Session the Department of History will be offering a new Focus in Law and History (Specialist) and Focus in Law and History (Major). Please see below for information on these two new Foci.

New requirements for the Specialist program will take effect for students who enroll in the program for 2021-2022 Academic Session.

Type 2L

Enrolment Requirements:

This is a limited enrolment program. Students must have completed 4.0 credits and meet the requirements listed below to enrol.

Variable Minimum Grade
A minimum grade is needed for entry, and this minimum changes each year depending on available spaces and the number of applicants. The following courses must be completed:

  • 2.0 HIS credits, including 1.0 credit at the 100-level (non-FYF) or one 0.5 credit at the 200-level + one 0.5 credit from the following First-Year Foundations (FYF) courses: HIS192H1, HIS194H1, HIS195H1, HIS196H1, HIS197H1, HIS198H1, HIS199H1

To ensure that students admitted to the program will be successful, applicants with a final grade lower than 70% in each course will not be considered for admission. Please note that obtaining this minimum final grade does not guarantee admission to the program.

Completion Requirements:
The Specialist program gives students in-depth training in historical research, analysis, and writing for future professional use or graduate study.  To tailor the program to your needs, in your third year you have a choice between two pathways:  a higher level course-work option in order to further the development of excellent skills via a wider variety of courses or a thesis option where you will be able to do the same while also concentrating on a specific research topic.

(10.0 credits, of which only 1.0 credit at the 100-level may be used to fulfill program requirements)

First year: 1.0 HIS credit at the 100-level.
Note 1: Students may also take 200-level HIS courses in their first year.

Higher Years: Additional HIS courses to a total of 10.0 credits overall, meeting the following requirements:

  1. Geographic Distribution (200+ level):
    a) 2.0 credits Africa/Asia/Middle East with at least 0.50 FCE in each region
    b) 1.0 credit Canada/United States/Latin America/The Caribbean
    c) 1.0 credit Europe
  2. Temporal Requirement:
    1.0 credit in Pre-1800 HIS course(s)*
    *Courses which satisfy the Geographic and Temporal requirements are listed on the History website.
    Note 2: HIS courses listed with (0.5) include that they fulfill half of the Temporal Requirement.
  3. Levels:
    At least 5.0 credits at the 300+ level, including 1.5 credits at the 400-level to be fulfilled in the following ways:
  4. Pathways:
    a) Thesis Option:  HIS475H1 and HIS476H1 taken in that order.
    Note 3: Students interested in the Thesis Option should contact the Undergraduate Associate Chair for advice about the pathway, thesis topics and the selection of an appropriate faculty advisor.
    b) Coursework Option: 1.0 credit of Senior (300 or 400-level) Methodology course(s)*.
    *Courses which satisfy the Methodological requirement are listed on the History website.

Equivalent Courses:  Students may take up to 1.0 credit history courses taught in other departments from an approved list. These “equivalent” courses may not be used to fulfill the 100-level, Geographic or Temporal requirements.

New requirements for the Major program will take effect for students who enroll in the program for 2021-2022 Academic Session.

Type 2

Enrolment Requirements:
This is a limited enrolment program. Students must have completed 4.0 credits and meet the requirements listed below to enrol.

Completed courses
The following courses are required:

  • 1.0 HIS credit (non-FYF) or one 0.5 HIS credit at the 200-level + one 0.5 credit from the following First-Year Foundations (FYF) courses: HIS192H1, HIS194H1, HIS195H1, HIS196H1, HIS197H1, HIS198H1, HIS199H1

Completion Requirements: 

(7.0 credits, of which only 1.0 credit at the 100-level may be used to fulfill program requirements)

First Year: 1.0 HIS credit at the 100-level.
Note 1: Students may also take 200-level courses in their first year.

Higher Years: Additional HIS courses to a total of 7.0 credits, meeting the following requirements: 

  1. Geographic Distribution (200+ level):
    a) 2.0 credits Africa/Asia/Middle East with at least 0.5 credit in each region
    b) 1.0 credit Canada/United States/Latin America/The Caribbean
    c) 1.0 credit Europe
  2. Temporal Requirement:
    1.0 credit Pre-1800 HIS course(s)*
    *Courses which satisfy Geographic and Temporal requirements are listed on the History website.
    Note 2: The HIS courses listed with (0.5) indicate that they fulfill half of the Temporal Requirement.
  3. At least 2.0 credits at the 300+ level, including 0.5 credit at the 400-level

Equivalent Courses: Students may take up to 1.0 credit history courses taught in other departments from an approved list. These “equivalent” courses may not be used to fulfill the 100-level, Geographic or Temporal requirements.

New requirements for the Minor program will take effect for students who enroll in the program for 2021-2022 Academic Session.

Type 1

Enrolment Requirements:
This is an open enrolment program. A student who has completed 4.0 credits may enrol in the program.

Completion Requirements:
The History minor program provides a useful grounding for students interested in the study of the past and contributes to their development of interdisciplinary perspectives from across the Humanities and Social Sciences.

(4.0 credits, of which only 1.0 credit at the 100-level may be used to fulfill program requirements)

First Year: 1.0 HIS credit at the 100-level is required. It is recommended that students complete this requirement prior to enrolling in the minor program.

Higher Years: Additional HIS courses to a total of 4.0 credits, including at least 1.0 credit at the 300- or 400-level.

Equivalent Courses: Students may take up to 0.5 credit history course taught in other departments from an approved list.

The Focus in Law and History gives students the critical skill-set to interrogate the ‘force of law’, not only in the sense of law as enforced, but also as a vehicle of cultural, social, and economic knowledge. Importantly, it will ask students to interrogate assumptions of what counts as law across time and space. At the core of this Focus to the Specialist are fundamental questions of both law and society: Who has law? What does (or should) it look like? Who decides? What sorts of critical histories can be written from and about legal archives that span time, space, and language tradition?

Enrolment Requirements:
Enrolment in the History Specialist is required.

Completion Requirements:
3.0 credits

1. Methodological Training Requirement: HIS268H1: Law and History.

2. Law and History Focus Enrichment: 2.5 credits from the following list, including at least 1.0 credit at the 300+ level.

HIS101Y1, HIS230H1, HIS231H1, HIS283Y1, HIS303H1, HIS308H1, HIS357Y1, HIS379H1, HIS390H1, HIS391Y1, HIS397H1, HIS419H1, HIS424H1, HIS438H1, HIS443H1, HIS470H1, HIS493H1, JHN323H1

Some offerings of HIS389H1, HIS466H1 and HIS496H1 may also count towards this focus. Check with the department for current offerings.

Up to 0.5 credit from non-HIS courses may be substituted for requirement 2, with permission of the department. Substitutions will be reviewed based on a copy of the course syllabus.

The Focus in Law and History gives students the critical skill-set to interrogate the ‘force of law’, not only in the sense of law as enforced, but also as a vehicle of cultural, social, and economic knowledge. Importantly, it will ask students to interrogate assumptions of what counts as law across time and space. At the core of this Focus to the Major are fundamental questions of both law and society: Who has law? What does (or should) it look like? Who decides? What sorts of critical histories can be written from and about legal archives that span time, space, and language tradition?

Enrolment Requirements:
Enrolment in the History Major is required.

Completion Requirements:
3.0 credits

1. Methodological Training Requirement: HIS268H1: Law and History.

2. Law and History Focus Enrichment: 2.5 credits from the following list, including at least 1.0 credit at the 300+ level.

HIS101Y1, HIS230H1, HIS231H1, HIS283Y1, HIS303H1, HIS308H1, HIS357Y1, HIS379H1, HIS390H1, HIS391Y1, HIS397H1, HIS419H1, HIS424H1, HIS438H1, HIS443H1, HIS470H1, HIS493H1, JHN323H1

Some offerings of HIS389H1, HIS466H1 and HIS496H1 may also count towards this focus. Check with the department for current offerings.

Up to 0.5 credit from non-HIS courses may be substituted for requirement 2, with permission of the department. Substitutions will be reviewed based on a copy of the course syllabus.


Here are the Requirements for the History Specialist, Major and Minor programs 2020-2021 Academic Session and prior.

Students are responsible for fulfilling the program requirements of the Specialist, Major or Minor program from the Calendar of the year in which they enrolled in the program: Arts & Science Archived Calendars. NB: ‘Course’ means 1 full credit (Y) or 2 half credits (H). See also Division courses and Pre-Modern courses.**

Enrolment Requirements:This is a limited enrolment POSt that can only accommodate a limited number of students.  Eligibility will be based on a student marks in the required courses.  The precise mark thresholds outlined below are an estimate of what will be required in the coming POSt admission cycle. Achieving those marks does not necessarily guarantee admission to the POSt in any given year.

Required courses: 2.0 HIS full-course equivalent, one of which must be at the 100-level, with a final mark of at least 73% in each.

Completion Requirements:The Specialist program gives students in-depth training in historical research, analysis and writing for graduate study or professional use. To achieve these objectives, students choose one of two options when entering their third year.

(10 full courses or their equivalent) Consult the department for details of equivalent courses.

First year: 1.0 HIS full-course equivalent at the 100-level; in addition, students may take 1.0 HIS full-course equivalent at the 200-level

Higher Years: Additional HIS courses to a total of 10 full-course equivalents overall, meeting the following requirements:

  1. 1.0 full-course equivalent at the 200-level or above from each of the following Divisions*:
    I. Asia/Africa/Middle East
    II. Canada/United States/Latin America/Caribbean
    III. Europe
  2. 1.0 full-course equivalent in Pre-modern (before 1800) history*.
  3. At least 5 full-course equivalents at the 300-level or above, including 1.5 full-course equivalents at the 400-level to be fulfilled in the following ways:
    I) HIS 476Y (full year senior thesis) and a 400-level H seminar course; or
    II) HIS 475H (half year senior thesis) and two 400-level H seminar courses; or
    III) 0.5 full-course equivalent senior Methodology course* and 1.0 full-course equivalent 400-level course(s)

Note that the Thesis Option has limited enrolment due to limited capacity in Thesis Courses HIS475H1 and HIS476Y1. Interested students should contact the department for more information regarding Thesis supervision.

*Courses that satisfy the Methodology, Pre-modern and Divisional requirements are listed on the History website. Specialists may draw up to 2.0 full-course equivalent from the list of Related Courses offered in other departments to fulfill items 1 through 3 of the Specialist program. 

Enrolment Requirements:1.0 FCE 100-level HIS course or 0.5 200-level HIS course.

Completion Requirements:(7 full courses or their equivalent)

First Year: 1.0 HIS FCE at the 100-level; in addition, students may take 1.0 HIS FCE at the 200-level.

Higher Years:Additional HIS courses to a total of seven, meeting the following requirements:

  1. At least 2.0 full-course equivalents at the 300-level or above, including 0.5 full-course equivalent at the 400-level
  2. 1 full-course equivalent at the 200-level or above from each of the following divisions*:
    I. Asia/Africa/Middle East
    II. Canada/United States/Latin America/Caribbean
    III. Europe.
  3. 1 full-course equivalent in pre-modern (pre-1800) history*.

*Courses that satisfy the Pre-modern and Divisional requirements are listed on the History website. Majors may draw up to 1 full-course equivalent from the list of Related Courses offered in other departments to fulfill items 1 through 3 of the Major program.  A 100-level related course may be applied toward the Divisional or Pre-modern requirements but does not take the place of the requirement for a 100-series HIS course.

Completion Requirements:(4 full courses or their equivalent)

  • First Year: 1.0 HIS full-course equivalent at the 100-level is required. It is recommended that students complete this requirement prior to enrolling in the minor program.
  • Higher Years: Additional HIS courses to a total of 4.0 full-course equivalent*, including at least 1.0 full-course equivalent at the 300- or 400-level.

*Minors may draw up to 1.0 full-course equivalent from the list of Related Courses offered in other departments. A 100-level Related course does not take the place of the requirement for a 100-series HIS course.