old press type spelling out "history"

Students of history do not just memorize the past. They ask questions about the past in order to solve problems of the present. 

History is an original liberal arts field and is designed to prepare students for any type of profession that emphasizes critical analysis, reading of dense texts, creative problem-solving, and oral and written communication. History majors collect and analyze evidence to construct arguments, propose new interpretations, formulate conclusions, test hypotheses, and communicate new ideas. 

There is no typical job for a history major. Our graduates can be found in all types of companies and in all types of roles, as well as graduate programs in history and other related humanities and social science fields. A student’s career choices after college are often guided by how they applied their coursework to real-world applications during college. Internships, part-time jobs, and volunteer experiences will help a student network during college and shape their career choices after graduation. The possibilities are numerous, and all students are encouraged to gain practical experience that complements the major. 

At UWM, undergraduates can work on research projects such as the Encyclopedia of Milwaukee. The opportunity to participate in research as an undergraduate is a distinct advantage for UWM students. At most large research universities, research opportunities for undergraduates are limited; there are fewer of them, and they often are reserved for juniors or seniors. At UWM, you can become involved as early as freshman year. Students work directly with faculty and graduate students on their current research projects, and they sometimes find themselves published in a peer-reviewed journal right alongside the faculty member. Participating in undergraduate research is an excellent way to enhance your resume for graduate school or employment. 

Students intending to major in history are encouraged to enroll in several 100- and 200-level courses. Students may combine a major in history with many of the certificate programs or with another departmental major. 

Program Type

Major

Program Format

On Campus, Online
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Why study History at UWM? 

  • Broad and deep study. All students take some coursework covering different eras and locations but space for electives let you take more classes in your particular area of interest such as a specific area of the world or time period. 
  • Learn skills employers need and value. The study of history relies on data, statistics, research, and analysis to form theories and draw conclusions. You will learn to analyze large volumes of information in a logical and consistent manner using the latest software.
  • Flexibility. Our program is available completely online. Or you can take some courses online and others in-person. It is your choice!
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History Major Requirements

History majors must maintain a 2.0 GPA in all history credits attempted at UWM and a 2.0 GPA in all history credits attempted at all institutions attended, collectively. No more than 6 of the 36 credits applied to the major may be earned in independent study courses (HIST 199 or HIST 699). Note that in all courses taken in the major on a credit/no credit basis (whether applied to the major or not), regular letter grades are recorded on your transcript and are used in the calculation of your GPA. History majors must enroll in and complete least 18 credits in courses numbered 300 or above, of which 15 must be taken in residence at UWM.

Note: Specific courses may count toward the fulfillment of more than one requirement. For example, HIST 101 counts toward the fulfillment of both requirement #1 and requirement #4.

History majors are required to take 36 credits of coursework distributed as follows:

1. Select at least 6 credits in European history 16
2. Select at least 6 credits in U.S. history 16
3. Select at least 9 credits in non-Western or global history 19
4. Select at least 3 credits in a course dealing with the period before 1500 13
5. Electives6
6. Select at least one course in historical methods from the following:3
Seminar on Historical Method: Research Techniques
Seminar on Historical Method: Theory and Approach
7. Complete HIST 600
HIST 600Seminar in History: 23
Total Credits36
1

Course lists delineating approved European, U.S., non-Western or global, and pre-1500 history courses offered at UWM are below.

2

HIST 600 (meets the L&S requirement for a research experience in the major); prerequisite is HIST 294 or HIST 593). Students who complete the senior thesis (see below) may substitute the thesis courses for HIST 600.

Students should pay particular attention to requirement #6. Students will not be permitted to enroll in HIST 600 until after they have taken and passed one of the courses in historical methods listed under #6. This sequence may not be reversed and students cannot take both courses in the same semester. Prospective majors should fulfill the methods requirement at an early stage of their progress in the curriculum, in no case later than the next-to-last semester before they plan to graduate.

Senior Thesis Option

Students choosing this two-semester sequence (HIST 681/HIST 682) write a substantial research paper on a topic of their choice in consultation with a faculty thesis advisor. The prerequisite for HIST 681 is at least one of the following courses: HIST 294 or HIST 593. Students also must receive approval from the faculty thesis advisor and department chair prior to enrolling. With the consent of the faculty thesis advisor and the department chair, history majors with a GPA of 3.333 (B+) or higher in all history credits attempted, including transfer work, may take the thesis sequence in lieu of Hist 600 to satisfy (in part) major requirements and the L&S research requirement. Access and print out the senior thesis proposal form (PDF).

Independent Study

Independent study is not a substitute for courses regularly available in the curriculum. Students who wish to enroll in independent study (HIST 199 for freshmen and sophomores; HIST 699 for juniors and seniors) must have a minimum GPA of 2.500 in credits attempted at UWM. It is recommended that students work only with faculty members from whom they previously have taken regular classes. Students may not enroll in HIST 199 or HIST 699 for work already completed. When enrolling in HIST 199 or HIST 699, students shall select the section number of the faculty member who will supervise their work.

After consultation with the supervising faculty member, students must print out and complete an independent study form (PDF). This form contains the description of the independent study proposal, and it should be completed during the first two weeks of the semester. The supervising faculty member must approve the proposal and return the signed form to the department office for endorsement by the department chair as well as by the Dean. A student should not take more than three credits of independent study in one semester from the same faculty member. History majors may take no more than 6 of the required 36 credits in History in independent study, and a maximum of 3 credits of independent study may count toward the minor.

Ancient and Medieval History (Pre-1500) Requirements

The following courses satisfy the pre-1500 requirement of the History major:

HIST 101Western Civilization: Ancient World to 15003
HIST 131World History to 15003
HIST 175East Asian Civilization to 16003
HIST 201The Ancient World: The Near East and Greece3
HIST 202The Ancient World: The Roman Republic and Empire3
HIST 203The History of Medieval Europe: The Early Middle Ages3
HIST 204The History of Medieval Europe: The High Middle Ages3
HIST 235English History to 16883
HIST 274Ancient Egyptian Civilization3
HIST 280Islamic Civilization: The Formative Period, ca. 500-12583
HIST 303A History of Greek Civilization: The Greek City-State3
HIST 304A History of Greek Civilization: The Age of Alexander the Great3
HIST 307A History of Rome: The Republic3
HIST 308A History of Rome: The Empire3
HIST 318Medieval Civilization: The High Middle Ages3
HIST 319The Era of the Crusades3
HIST 320History of Medieval Warfare3
HIST 376Premodern China3
HIST 394History of Japan to 16003

The following variable topic courses satisfy the pre-1500 requirement of the History major if the specific topic deals preponderantly with the era prior to 1500:

HIST 192First-Year Seminar:3
HIST 193First-Year Seminar:3
HIST 199Independent Study1-3
HIST 200Historical Roots of Contemporary Issues:3
HIST 270Topics in American History:3
HIST 290Topics in Global History:3
HIST 296UROP Apprenticeship1-3
HIST 297Study Abroad:1-12
HIST 299Ad Hoc:1-6
HIST 370Topics in the History of Religious Thought:3
HIST 371Topics in European History:3
HIST 372Topics in Global History:3
HIST 373Topics in Gender and History:3
HIST 398Honors Seminar:3
HIST 399Honors Seminar:3
HIST 400Topics in Latin American and Caribbean History:3
HIST 401Topics in Middle Eastern History:3
HIST 402Topics in Asian History:3
HIST 497Study Abroad:1-12
HIST 499Ad Hoc:1-6
HIST 594Methods and Theory in the Historical Study of Religion:3
HIST 600Seminar in History:3
HIST 681Senior Thesis I3
HIST 682Senior Thesis II3
HIST 699Independent Reading:1-6

Because individual student topics in Hist 600 can vary, that course, with the instructor's approval, may count toward the pre-1500 requirement for certain students, as determined by the predominant focus of their individual work in the course. 


Cross-Listed Courses

PORTUGS 360, with the topic “History of Brazil,” may be used to fulfill requirements of the undergraduate major or minor in history. It counts as a non-Western/global history course.

Categorization of Courses by Geographic Area

The following lists indicate the geographic areas towards which courses count in the fulfillment of the major and minor requirements. (Note that some courses do not satisfy any of the geographic area distribution requirements and that for variable-topic courses, the geographic area is determined by the specific topic).

European History

HIST 101Western Civilization: Ancient World to 15003
HIST 102Western Civilization: 1500 to the Present3
HIST 201The Ancient World: The Near East and Greece3
HIST 202The Ancient World: The Roman Republic and Empire3
HIST 203The History of Medieval Europe: The Early Middle Ages3
HIST 204The History of Medieval Europe: The High Middle Ages3
HIST 206Europe and the Modern World: 1815 to the Present3
HIST 235English History to 16883
HIST 236Britain Since 1688: Rise and Decline of a Great Power3
HIST 239Poland and its Neighbors, 1795-19143
HIST 241Women and Gender in Europe: 1350 to 17503
HIST 242Women and Gender in Europe: 1750 to the Present3
HIST 248The First World War3
HIST 249The Second World War in Europe3
HIST 303A History of Greek Civilization: The Greek City-State3
HIST 304A History of Greek Civilization: The Age of Alexander the Great3
HIST 307A History of Rome: The Republic3
HIST 308A History of Rome: The Empire3
HIST 318Medieval Civilization: The High Middle Ages3
HIST 319The Era of the Crusades3
HIST 320History of Medieval Warfare3
HIST 329The Roman Catholic Church, 1500 to the Present3
HIST 330The Papacy in History3
HIST 341Imperial Russia3
HIST 343Russia Since 19173
HIST 346Poland and Its Neighbors, 1914-19453
HIST 348Poland and Its Neighbors, 1945 to the Present3
HIST 355Modern and Contemporary France3
HIST 358The Jews of Modern Europe: History and Culture3
HIST 363Germany: Hitler and the Nazi Dictatorship3
HIST 364The Holocaust: Anti-Semitism & the Fate of Jewish People in Europe, 1933-453
HIST 371Topics in European History:3
HIST 375Contemporary European History, 1945 to the Present3

U.S. History

HIST 150Multicultural America3
HIST 151American History: 1607 to 18773
HIST 152American History: 1877 to the Present3
HIST 215History of Capitalism3
HIST 229History of Race, Science, and Medicine in the United States3
HIST 243History of Women in American Society3
HIST 262North American Indian History to 18873
HIST 263North American Indian History Since 18873
HIST 267The History of Latinos in the United States3
HIST 268History of the American West3
HIST 269Asian Americans in Historical Perspective3
HIST 270Topics in American History:3
HIST 271The 1960s in the United States: A Cultural History3
HIST 404Topics in American History:3
HIST 405The Age of the American Revolution, 1750-17893
HIST 409Causes of the Civil War, 1828-18613
HIST 410Civil War and Reconstruction: The United States, 1861-18773
HIST 418America in Prosperity, Depression and War, 1921-19453
HIST 419America Since 19453
HIST 432North American Environmental History3
HIST 434The United States as a World Power in the 20th Century3
HIST 435Ethnic America: To 18803
HIST 436Immigrant America Since 18803
HIST 440History of the American Working Classes3
HIST 442Beer and Brewing in America3
HIST 445African Americans from Slavery to Freedom3
HIST 446African Americans Since the Civil War3
HIST 448Baseball in American History3
HIST 449Popular Culture in America, 1800 to the Present3
HIST 450The History of Milwaukee3
HIST 451History of Wisconsin3
HIST 452History of Religion in American Life to 18703
HIST 453History of Religion in American Life Since 18703
HIST 460The History of Poverty in America3
HIST 463History of the American City3
HIST 468The American Feminist Movement3
HIST 473History of Wisconsin Indians3
HIST 474Topics in North American Indian History:3
HIST 475American Indian History, Law, and Government3
HIST 597Fields and Methods in Public History3

Non-Western or Global History

HIST 131World History to 15003
HIST 132World History Since 15003
HIST 141Global History of the Family, Gender, and Sexuality3
HIST 175East Asian Civilization to 16003
HIST 176East Asian Civilization Since 16003
HIST 180Latin American Society and Culture3
HIST 210The Twentieth Century: A Global History3
HIST 274Ancient Egyptian Civilization3
HIST 280Islamic Civilization: The Formative Period, ca. 500-12583
HIST 282The Modern Middle East in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries3
HIST 284Buddhism Across Asia3
HIST 286The Korean War3
HIST 287The Vietnam War3
HIST 290Topics in Global History:3
HIST 295Historical Encounters:3
HIST 372Topics in Global History:3
HIST 376Premodern China3
HIST 377Modern China3
HIST 378Revolution in China3
HIST 379Introduction to Jewish History3
HIST 380Buddhism: A Cultural History3
HIST 386Africans in World History: Communities, Cultures, and Ideas3
HIST 387Colonization in Africa: A History of Resistance and Adaptation3
HIST 392The History of Southern Africa3
HIST 393History of Mexico3
HIST 394History of Japan to 16003
HIST 395History of Japan Since 16003
HIST 400Topics in Latin American and Caribbean History:3
HIST 401Topics in Middle Eastern History:3
HIST 402Topics in Asian History:3
HIST 596Maps as Historical Sources3
HIST 396Decolonization, Revolution, and Independence in African History3

Geographic Area Determined by Specific Topic

HIST 192First-Year Seminar:3
HIST 193First-Year Seminar:3
HIST 199Independent Study1-3
HIST 200Historical Roots of Contemporary Issues:3
HIST 296UROP Apprenticeship1-3
HIST 297Study Abroad:1-12
HIST 299Ad Hoc:1-6
HIST 370Topics in the History of Religious Thought:3
HIST 373Topics in Gender and History:3
HIST 398Honors Seminar:3
HIST 399Honors Seminar:3
HIST 497Study Abroad:1-12
HIST 499Ad Hoc:1-6
HIST 594Methods and Theory in the Historical Study of Religion:3
HIST 600Seminar in History:3
HIST 681Senior Thesis I3
HIST 682Senior Thesis II3
HIST 699Independent Reading:1-6

The geographic area of concentration in sections of Hist 600, where the area is not obvious in the title, by default is designated in accordance with the primary teaching and research interests of the instructor. In such cases, and with the instructor's approval, Hist 600 can count toward different areas for different students, as determined by the predominant focus of their individual work in the course. Note that a variable topic course cannot be considered "Non-Western or Global" unless at least a substantial part of the course's focus includes the study of African, Asian, Middle Eastern, or Latin American history.

No Geographic Area

HIST 289Internship in History, Lower Division1-6
HIST 294Seminar on Historical Method: Research Techniques3
HIST 296UROP Apprenticeship1-3
HIST 489Internship in History, Upper Division1-6
HIST 593Seminar on Historical Method: Theory and Approach3
HIST 595The Quantitative Analysis of Historical Data3

Letters & Science Advising

During your time at UWM, you may have multiple members of your success team, including advisors, peer mentors, and success coaches. Letters and Science students typically work with at least two different types of advisors as they pursue their degrees: professional College Advisors and Faculty Advisors. L&S College Advisors advise across your entire degree program while departmental Faculty Advisors focus on the major.

College Advisors are located in Holton Hall and serve as your primary advisor. They are your point person for your questions about navigating college and completing your degree. College Advisors will:

  • assist you in defining your academic and life goals;
  • help you create an educational plan that is consistent with those goals;
  • assist you in understanding curriculum, major and degree requirements for graduation, as well as university policies and procedures;
  • provide you with information about campus and community resources and refer you to those resources as appropriate; and 
  • monitor your progress toward graduation and completion of requirements.

Faculty Advisors mentor students in the major and assist them in maximizing their development in the program. You will begin working with a Faculty Advisor when you declare your major. Faculty Advisors are an important partner and will:

  • help you understand major requirements and course offerings in the department; 
  • explain opportunities for internships and undergraduate research and guide you in obtaining those experiences; and 
  • serve as an excellent resource as you consider potential graduate programs and career paths in your field.

Students are encouraged to meet with both their College Advisor and Faculty Advisor at least once each semester. Appointments are available in-person, by phone or by video. 

Currently enrolled students should use the Navigate website to make an appointment with your assigned advisor or call (414) 229-4654 if you do not currently have an assigned Letters & Science advisor. Prospective students who haven't enrolled in classes yet should call (414) 229-7711 or email let-sci@uwm.edu.

History Academic Advising

For academic advice, as well as for information on how to declare a major or minor in history, visit the undergraduate program web page of the Department of History at uwm.edu/history/undergraduate/.

Get Advising
  • Currently enrolled majors with questions about general degree requirements? Make an appointment with your assigned Letters & Science College Advisor through Navigate or email your advisor.
  • Currently enrolled majors with questions about the major specifically? Email your faculty advisor or the department directly.
  • Currently enrolled UWM students not yet in the College of Letters & Science? Email ls-advising@uwm.edu.
  • Haven’t started classes yet at UWM? Email our admissions counselor at let-sci@uwm.edu
Letters & Science Degree Requirements

In addition to the requirements for the major (shown on the "Requirements" tab of this page), students must fulfil a number of other requirements. Students must take a minimum of 120 credits to graduate, and these can be thought of as falling into one of three buckets. Note that some classes can fall into more than one bucket at the same time:

  • Courses in the major (typically 30 to 40 credits for a bachelor of arts degree)
  • General requirements such as world language, English, Math, etc. (typically 40 to 55 credits)
  • Other elective courses or a minor (5 to 30 credits)

What can you do with a history major? We found out!

The History major and minor are available for completion entirely online. Learn more about how the online program works.

Contact

Prospective Students (not yet enrolled at UWM)

Prospective students, contact our admissions counselor at let-sci@uwm.edu or 414-229-7711.

Current Students

General questions such as how to declare, how to change a major, general education requirements, etc. should be directed to the College advising office at ls-advising@uwm.edu or 414-229-4654.

Specific questions about History, such as research opportunities, internship opportunities, major requirements, etc., should be directed to Lex Renda.