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A major in history

The BA curriculum in history emphasizes breadth and flexibility. History majors complete at least 12 history department courses, totaling at least 36 credits, with a minimum GPA of 2.0. These 12 courses must be distributed as follows:

Part I: 12 Courses

A. Two 100-Level Introductory Survey Courses

Complete one pair:

  • History 100 and 101 (Western Thought)
  • History 110 or 112 and 111 (World History)
  • History 110 or 112 and 116 (Japan)
  • History 114 and 115 (China)
  • History 120 and 121 (Latin America)
  • History 130 and 131 (Middle East)
  • History 160 and 161 (Africa)
  • History 180 and 181 (History of Science)

B. Two Courses at Any Level, from History 100 to History 499

C. Seven Additional Courses

  • EITHER: Seven upper-level courses numbered 200-499.
  • OR: Any six upper-level courses (200-499) plus one 100-level course in African, Asian, Latin American, Middle Eastern or World History (110,111,112,114, 115, 116, 120, 121, 130, 131, 160, 161). ​

D. One Junior-Year Writing Seminar

This course must be taken at UMass Amherst (History 450). This course is normally completed in the junior year and no later than the first semester of the senior year. If appropriate, this course may count as a pre-1500 course and one of the two required non-western courses (see “E” and “F” below). We do not accept Junior Year Writing courses from other departments, even for double majors. For additional information, see the Junior Year Writing Guidelines.

Part II: Area Requirements

Courses used for requirements A, B, C, and D above may also count as fulfilling area requirements E, F, and G.

E. One Course on Pre-1500 History

A list of courses that meet this requirement is included in the department's course guide, which is updated each semester. If appropriate, a Junior Year Writing Seminar may satisfy this requirement.

F. Two Courses in the History of Africa, Asia, Latin America, the Middle East, or the World (i.e. two non-Western courses)

G. One Integrative Experience Course (primary major only)


H. Required for students declaring the major fall 2019 or later: Historical Methods Course (History 275)

For additional information, restrictions and clarifications, please see the History Major Requirements Check List.  Questions? Call (413) 545-6757, email @email, or drop by Herter 613 to set up an appointment.

In addition to History Department requirements, history majors must also satisfy the University's General Education requirements and the College of Humanities and Fine Arts requirements.

A minor in history

Undergraduate history minors take a minimum of six history department courses, totaling at least 18 credits and distributed among lower and upper-level courses in the following manner:

  • No more than two introductory courses (100 level)
  • At least four upper-level courses (200 and above)


  • Transfer credit toward the minor will be granted for introductory courses only.
  • The four upper-level courses must be taken through the University of Massachusetts Amherst History Department or from a history department at one of the Four Colleges: AmherstHampshire, Mount Holyoke, or Smith.
  • One course may be taken during a study abroad semester with prior approval from the Undergraduate Program Director.
  • No history course taken on a pass/fail basis or in which a grade below C- has been earned may count toward the minor.

For the official list of requirements for the history minor, see the History Minor Checklist.

To declare a history minor, please fill out the following form: Declaration of an Academic Minor.