History: Political History, BA

The Political History concentration invites students to explore historical and comparative approaches to the organization of political power, state institutions, and experiences of subjecthood, citizenship, and rights. Students will have the opportunity to confront questions about the nature and practices of democracies and non-democracies, the formation and dissolution of political parties, various means of structuring governments and constitutions, and formal political relationships among individuals, communities, and states. While the concentration is centered within the discipline of History, it also welcomes students to take some courses in related fields in the College, thus encouraging interdisciplinary approaches to the field’s vital intellectual questions. 

The Political History concentration allows students and faculty to explore shared methodological questions and practices that cut across geographical, national, and chronological borders. A student may choose to focus on the political history of a particular nation, empire, or region, and may also examine comparative histories from across the globe. This approach allows students the opportunity to think deeply about how time, place, geography, and context shape differences and similarities in the development and permanence of political regimes and cultures. 

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


College General Education Requirements and Free Elective
Foundational Approaches + Sectors 1 + 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
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
Political History Concentration
Select 1 Seminar in Political History
Select 3 courses (lectures or seminars) in Political History (Attribute AHPO)
Select 2 additional courses designated as Political History, Political History-related, or approved by a student's History major advisor from inside or outside the department (Attribute AHPR)
Total Course Units32

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.