Department of History
- Angela N. Creager
- Michael D. Gordin (acting)
- Margot Canaday
Director of Undergraduate Studies
- Janet Y. Chen
Director of Graduate Studies
- Katja Guenther
- Michael F. Laffan
- Jeremy I. Adelman
- David A. Bell
- D. Graham Burnett
- Margot Canaday
- David N. Cannadine
- Linda J. Colley
- Thomas D. Conlan
- Angela N. Creager
- Yaacob Dweck
- Sheldon M. Garon
- Michael D. Gordin
- Anthony T. Grafton
- Molly Greene
- Tera W. Hunter
- Alison E. Isenberg
- Harold James
- William C. Jordan
- Stephen Kotkin
- Emmanuel H. Kreike
- Kevin M. Kruse
- Regina Kunzel
- Michael F. Laffan
- Erika L. Milam
- Yair Mintzker
- Philip G. Nord
- Gyan Prakash
- Ekaterina Pravilova
- Helmut Reimitz
- Marina Rustow
- Martha A. Sandweiss
- Emily Thompson
- Keith A. Wailoo
- Sean Wilentz
- Julian E. Zelizer
- Vera S. Candiani
- Janet Y. Chen
- Katja Guenther
- Joshua B. Guild
- Matthew J. Karp
- Beth Lew-Williams
- Rosina A. Lozano
- Federico Marcon
- Jennifer M. Rampling
- Teresa Shawcross
- Jack B. Tannous
- Wendy Warren
- Max D. Weiss
- Rhae Lynn Barnes
- He Bian
- Michael A. Blaakman
- Divya Cherian
- Jacob S. Dlamini
- Isadora M. Mota
- Iryna Vushko
- Xin Wen
- Natasha G. Wheatley
- Peter Wirzbicki
- Wallace D. Best, Religion
- Michael A. Cook, Near Eastern Studies
- M. Sükrü Hanioglu, Near Eastern Studies
- Bernard A. Haykel, Near Eastern Studies
- Eileen A. Reeves, Comparative Literature
- Nigel Smith, English
- Randall Todd Pippenger
Information and Departmental Plan of Study
The plan of departmental study encourages the student to gain further knowledge of the major developments in (and problems of) history, spanning a broad range of time and place. Students also develop more focused expertise through independent historical research and writing. Through coursework and rigorous independent research, the history concentration emphasizes both depth and breadth. The department's website, describes the program and requirements in detail.
The department encourages students to master at least one language in addition to English. Knowledge of another language is invaluable for senior thesis research, especially on topics in the history of continental Europe or the non-Western world.
Students are required to take and pass at least two departmental courses before they enter the department. Students who wish to enter the department but who have not taken two departmental courses before their junior year must consult with the director of undergraduate studies. At least one of these two prerequisite courses must be selected from the following: HIS 201, 207, 208, 210, 211, 212, 241, 267, 277, 278, 280, 281, 282, 290, 291, or 292. Students who have not fulfilled the 200-level prerequisite must take one of the appropriate courses in the fall of their junior year. (HUM 216-17 or 218-19 may be used as a 200-level prerequisite but cannot be counted as one of the departmental requirements.)
Program of Study
Before preregistration each term, each history student must consult with one of the department's designated undergraduate advisers.
Departmental Distribution Requirements
University regulations stipulate that undergraduates may not take more than 12 departmental courses. Departmental regulations stipulate that undergraduates must pass at least 10 courses, including HIS 400, in order to receive the A.B. degree. History courses taken in the first year and sophomore years are numbered among the 10 to 12 required for graduation. Of the departmental courses, one must be a course in European history (including Russia); one a course in United States history; one a course in non-Western history; and one a course in premodern history. No one course may satisfy more than one of these distribution requirements. Courses fulfilling the European, non-Western, premodern, and pre-20th-century U.S. history requirements are listed on the department's website under "Distribution Requirements."
The history department encourages students to take courses in other departments when they add depth and variety to their selected program of concentration. For example, a student concentrating in Russian history might identify an appropriate course in politics to take as a cognate; a student concentrating in intellectual history might take an appropriate course in philosophy as a cognate. Two such courses may be taken during the junior and senior years and counted as departmental courses provided they contribute significantly to the student's plan of study. Cognates cannot be used to fulfill departmental distribution requirements. Cognates can only be approved by the director of undergraduate studies during the course enrollment period and prior to attending the class. Courses may not be designated as cognates retroactively. Cross-listed courses (for example, CLA 217, also listed as HIS 217) are automatically considered departmental courses, not cognates.
History of Science
History majors wishing to concentrate in the history of science need not meet the departmental prerequisites or distribution requirements. But they must take 10 courses that satisfy the following pattern of requirements (note: an asterisk indicates a one-time-only topic or course):
- Two courses in science, engineering, or mathematics in addition to those used to fill the university's science distribution requirement.
- Four of the following courses (With the permission of the director of undergraduate studies, one of these courses may be replaced by a cognate course from another department, for example, in philosophy or sociology of science.):
- *277 Technology and Society (see EGR 277)
- 290 The Scientific Worldview of Antiquity and the Middle Ages
- 291 The Scientific Revolution and European Order, 1500-1750
- 292 Science in the Modern World
- 293 Science in a Global Context: 15th to 20th Century
- *294 What is the Scientific Revolution?
- *295 Making America: A Technological History of the United States
- *297 Transformative Questions in Biology (see STC 297)
- *391 History of Contemporary Science
- *392 History of Evolution
- 393 Race, Drugs, and Drug Policy in America
- *394 History of Ecology and Environment (formerly HIS 491)
- *395 History of Medicine and the Body
- 396 History of Biology
- *397 Medicine and the Mind: A History of Psychiatry from the Asylum to Zoloft
- 398 Technologies and Their Societies: Historical Perspectives
- *399 In the Groove: Technology and Music in American History, from Edison to the iPod (see AMS 399)
- *452 Magic, Matter, Medicine: Science in the Medieval World
- *472 Medicine and Society in China: Past and Present
- *489 The Scientific Self
- *493 '1, 2, 3, Testing,'. . . in the History of Science, Technology, and Medicine
- *495 Alchemy: Art and Science
- *494 Broken Brains, Shattered Minds: Disease and Experience in the History of Neuroscience
- *496 History of Neuroscience
- *497 Eating, Growing, Catching, Knowing: Historical Perspectives on Food, Science, and the Environment
- *498 History of Pseudoscience
- *499 Things
- Four other history courses.
- The independent work and comprehensive examination requirements are the same as for all other departmental majors.
In the fall term of the junior year students are required to enroll in HIS 400 Junior Seminars. Work in the junior seminars involves exercises in defining a topic for historical research and in identifying and evaluating a body of historical literature. Each student may expect to gain experience in the use of the library and bibliographical sources, to learn the correct technical form for presenting evidence clearly, and to develop a historical presentation convincingly. Students in HIS 400 will have the opportunity to choose from a number of seminars devoted to historical events or themes of wide importance, such as "Origins of World War I," "Comparative Revolutions," "The United States and Latin America," and "Marxist Social Analysis and Historical Interpretation."
In the spring term of the junior year, in consultation with his or her adviser, the student selects a topic and writes a research paper on an independent basis. Written work equivalent to that submitted in the first term is required. The two semesters of junior independent work must be focused in two different geographical fields and in two different time periods. Students should consult their advisers about this requirement.
The independent work consists of writing a thesis on an approved subject of the student's choice. The thesis usually relies on research in original source materials, but it may also involve reinterpretation of familiar materials.
Senior Departmental Examination
The senior departmental examination in the department consists of an oral examination based on the senior thesis and related topics.
NOTE: Given the global health and safety risks and continuing uncertainty around travel posed by the ongoing spread of COVID-19, the Office of International Programs is suspending undergraduate participation for all OIP programs abroad this fall. This includes the cancellation of the 2020-21 Novogratz Bridge Year Program and the suspension of fall 2020 study abroad.
Students in the department are encouraged to participate in those programs for foreign study recognized by the University (for further information, consult the Office of International Programs). The department has the following policies:
- Sophomores intending to major in history may count one history course taken abroad toward the requirement to enter the department. The course cannot be used to substitute for the 200-level prerequisite (see above).
- Juniors majoring in the department may receive credit for up to four courses in history taken while abroad for either a full year or semester. These courses will require the prior approval of the departmental representative, and to secure that approval, students will be expected to produce some evidence of the work load and the material covered by the courses.
- The department's spring HIS 400 junior seminar will be open to sophomores intending to go abroad in the fall of their junior year, thus enabling them to do their first junior paper in the spring of their sophomore year and preparing them to write the second while abroad or in the resident semester of their junior year (if they elect to spend only one semester abroad). Students who meet the requirements of junior independent work while at Princeton will still be expected to undertake a full course load while abroad. Moreover, to take full advantage of the international experience, study abroad should include some research work, and we urge students to take seminars that include a research component.
- As opportunity arises, the history department will seek to identify former students and colleagues abroad willing to act as junior advisers for Princeton students studying in their region.
Interdepartmental programs of particular interest to history department students are the Programs in African Studies, American Studies, Classics, East Asian Studies, European Cultural Studies, Gender and Sexuality Studies, Hellenic Studies, History and the Practice of Diplomacy, Judaic Studies, Latin American Studies, Medieval Studies, and Near Eastern Studies. Students should consult the departmental representative and the director of the relevant program.