Selecting Courses

Where to Begin Your Study of History

Some students prefer to start with the kind of broad introduction available in a survey, to learn about the diversity of peoples, places, and ways of living that have come before us and out of which the world as we know it has emerged. Others prefer to dive into an area of history that seems particularly intriguing or relevant to their interests, and perhaps turn to one or another survey later to gain a broader understanding of the past. Since history always involves the interplay between broad contexts and particular places in time, you can begin on either end of the spectrum. You are not required to begin at the 100 level.

Fall Courses Recommended for First-Year Students

A message from our chair, Professor Mary Renda

Welcome first-year students! History can help us to appreciate radically different ways of seeing and living in the world. It can also help us discern connections that illuminate the world as we know it, the forces that seem to keep it rolling forward in its tracks, and possibilities for the future hidden in the shape of things we see around us in the present. I hope you will join us in a history class this year.


  • HIST-124-01 Modern South Asia
  • HIST-137-01 Modern East Asia
  • HIST-138-01 Modern Jewish History
  • HIST-151-01 Modern & Contemporary Europe
  • HIST-170-01 The American Peoples to 1865
  • HIST-180-01 Introduction to Latin American Cultures

Topical Course:

  • HIST-224-01 Busy Silk Roads
  • HIST-227-01 Ancient Greece
  • HIST-260PW-01 Postwar Societies
  • HIST-281-01 African American History
  • HIST-283MC-01 We Didn't Start the Fire

The courses listed above have no prerequisites.