History: General History, BA

The Department of History offers a variety of courses dealing with the political, social, diplomatic, intellectual, economic, and cultural history of the Americas, Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Middle East, from the early medieval period to the present. The History Major gives undergraduates both specific mastery of particular times, places, and aspects of the human condition and the critical skills to think historically about both long-term and modern phenomena, emphasizing the dynamics of change and continuity over time. The History Department at the University of Pennsylvania has a long tradition of distinction, both in its scholarship and in its undergraduate teaching. Beginning as one of the first programs in the United States to offer doctoral study in history, the department continues to pioneer new areas of scholarship. History faculty have assumed a leading role in introducing and promoting new varieties of historical research and writing.

The minimum total course units for graduation in this major is 32. Double majors may entail more course units.

8 courses must be taken in History at the University of Pennsylvania.

For information about the General Education requirements, please visit the College of Arts & Sciences Curriculum page.

College General Education Requirements and Free Electives
Foundational Approaches + Sectors1 + Free Electives20
Major Requirements12
Geographic Distribution
Select one distinct course in four of the six geographic regions 2
United States & Canada
Europe and Australia
Africa and the Middle East
Latin America & The Caribbean
East Asia and South Asia
Global Issues
Chronological Distribution
Select 2 Pre-1800 courses 2
Select 2 Penn History Seminars at 2000-Level or Above
Research Requirement
Research requirement fulfilled
General Curriculum Requirements
4-8 Additional History Courses
Other Courses for the Major
Select 8 General Elective courses
Total Course Units32

You may count no more than one course toward both a Major and a Sector requirement. For Exceptions, check the Policy Statement.


May be taken abroad. No Major-related courses.


Required: A minimum overall GPA of 3.0 and a GPA of 3.5 in Major related courses.

HIST 4997Junior Honors in History1
HIST 4998Senior Honors in History1


The degree and major requirements displayed are intended as a guide for students entering in the Fall of 2024 and later. Students should consult with their academic program regarding final certifications and requirements for graduation.