Study History

History is a core discipline in Mount Holyoke’s liberal arts curriculum

The history curriculum serves to further the College’s learning goals through an emphasis on critical analysis, methodological training in the discipline of history, strong writing and communication skills, independent research, and critical self-assessment and reflection.

There are a number of ways to study history at Mount Holyoke. The simplest is by taking a course, which many students do to satisfy general interest in the subject; to explore a particular time period, region or theme; to fulfill the College’s distribution requirements (for Division I Humanities); or because a history course is required or encouraged in other programs. Indeed, the history department contributes to a number of related majors, including Asian Studies, Latin American Studies, Africana Studies, International Relations, Gender Studies and Environmental Studies.  With a diversity of offerings from ancient to modern history, from North America to East Asia—the history department is sure to have a course that will interest you.

The department offers courses at several levels.

More advanced levels do often involve heavier reading and writing assignments, but critical reading and clear writing are valued in all history courses, and the distinction between levels is often as much about the kinds of questions asked as the level of rigor involved. Many courses can be taken without any prerequisites. All courses are designed to contribute in various ways to the College’s Learning Goals.

    • First Year Seminars are only open to first-year students and introduce history as a field of inquiry and stress the development of basic writing, arguing and research methods
    • 100-level regional surveys focus on particular geographic areas; they have no prerequisites and are open to all students
    • 200-level courses examine particular times and places in history and range in size from large survey courses to small seminars. All students are welcome to enroll
    • 300-level courses (colloquium and research seminars) offer opportunities to examine topics in depth; some do have prerequisites or require permission of the instructor. If permission is required, please complete and submit the 300-Level Application Form

Take one history course and you will undoubtedly want to take more!

For those wishing to study history in greater depth, the department offers both a major and a minor curriculum. In addition to the major/minor requirements, this section contains other steps you will take as a student of history at Mount Holyoke. If you have any further questions about how to study history with us, please inquire with a member of the department or at the department office (Skinner 309).