University of Southern California

Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences


Undergraduate Degrees


All history department majors should consult with the department student adviser and with one of our faculty advisers. Students should seek an appointment early in each semester so that an advisement file may be established for each student. The file will be kept current.

Bachelor of Arts in History

HIST 201 Approaches to History is required of all majors. In addition, ten courses in history are required, three at the lower-division level and six at the upper-division level. The three required lower-division courses must include one from the 100 level and one from the 200 level, and each of the three must be from a different geographic category. The department will accept scores of 4 or 5 on either Advanced Placement European History or Advanced Placement American History as a substitute for one requirement at the 100 level. At the upper division, majors are required to take a minimum of three courses in a thematic, temporal or geographic concentration they articulate under the guidance of faculty; they must also take at least two upper-division seminars, approved by the department, including one in their concentration. No more than 4 units of HIST 490x Directed Research may be counted as satisfying the upper-division seminar requirement.

For geographic breadth, at least one of the 10 courses must be taken from approved course work in each of the three following areas: Asia and Eurasia, Europe, and North and Latin America. For temporal breadth, at least one of the 10 courses must be taken from approved course work in each of the three following time periods: before 1300, 1300 to 1800, 1800 to the present. Students must consult with a department adviser in order to determine which courses meet these requirements.

Bachelor of Arts in History and Social Science Education

This degree is designed for students who are interested in a career in secondary school teaching. The courses chosen reflect the content of subjects taught in high schools and middle schools in California and therefore should be useful for those contemplating the profession of teaching history and social studies. It does not, however, provide a waiver of the CSET examination.

Required Courses Units
ECON 203 Principles of Microeconomics 4
ECON 205 Principles of Macroeconomics 4
HIST 201 Approaches to History 4
HIST 488 Teaching History in the Secondary Schools 4
Surveys of U.S. and World History
Choose three from the following:
HIST 100 The American Experience 4
HIST 240 The History of California 4
HIST 349 Colonial North America 1600-1760 4
HIST 360 19th Century U.S. History 4
HIST 361 20th Century U.S. History 4
HIST 440 Early Modern World History 4
HIST 441 Modern World History 4
Pre-modern World History
Choose one of the following:
HIST 101 The Ancient World 4
HIST 102 Medieval People: Early Europe and Its Neighbors, 400–1500 4
HIST 103 The Emergence of Modern Europe 4
HIST 180 The Middle East 4
HIST 275 The Worlds of the Silk Road 4
HIST 335 History of Japan to 1550 4
HIST 338 China to 960 A.D. 4
HIST 339 China, 960–1800 A.D. 4
HIST 369 Aztecs, Mayas and Other Indigenous Peoples of the Americas 4
HIST 382 The Middle East, 500-1500 4
Modern World History
Choose one of the following:
HIST 104 Modern Europe 4
HIST 333 Korea: The Modern Transformation 4
HIST 336 History of Japan, 1550–1945 4
HIST 340 History of China since 1800 4
HIST 383 The Modern Middle East 4
HIST 370 Spanish America, 1492–1821 4
HIST 372 Modern Latin America 4
Political Science
Choose one of the following:
POSC 100 Theory and Practice of American Democracy 4
POSC 300 Principles, Institutions, and Great Issues of American Democracy 4
POSC 340 Constitutional Law 4
Required Capstone Seminar (see under “required courses”)

A capstone seminar, HIST 488 Teaching History in the Secondary Schools, will be taught by a member of the history department and will focus on the ways in which historical research is brought into middle and high school curriculum. Seminar participants will examine textbooks and other materials designed for history instruction; engage in independent research; write curriculum and/or classroom units or lesson plans; and visit classrooms to assist with history instruction in the schools.

Bachelor of Arts in Law, History, and Culture

This major is designed for students drawn to interdisciplinary study of legal and cultural issues, as well as those who intend to pursue a law degree. It offers students an interdisciplinary education in legal institutions, languages and processes that are central to social, cultural and political developments in the past and present, and play a critical role in shaping our most basic concepts and categories of thought and identity. It combines approaches from history, literature, philosophy, political theory, religion and classical studies to explore the law’s position at the nexus of society. The major will help students develop the critical skills of reading, writing and analysis crucial to both a liberal education and the study of law. Students will gain theoretical and analytical perspectives on ethical, political and social issues relevant to law as they explore specific legal issues from a humanistic perspective.

Required Courses Units
This major requires 36 units from the following courses. Majors must complete all courses listed in Category 1 and seven courses from Categories 2 and 3. At least three out of the seven courses must come from Category 2.
Category 1 (All courses required.):
LAW 300 Concepts in American Law 4
LAW 301 The Constitution in Transnational Perspective 4
Category 2 (A minimum of three of the following courses is required.) :
AMST 342 Law and Identities 4
ANTH 345 Politics, Social Organization, and Law 4
CLAS 305 Roman Law 4
CLAS 307 Law and Society in Classical Greece 4
COLT 476 Narrative and the Law 4
ENGL 355 Anglo-American Law and Literature 4
HIST 385 Anglo-American Law before the 18th Century 4
HIST 386 American Legal History 4
HIST 463 The Constitutional History of the United States 4
POSC 130 Law, Politics, and Public Policy 4
SWMS 349 Women and the Law 4
Category 3:
AMST 101, AMST 320, AMST 353, AMST 357, AMST 389, CLAS 320, CLAS 333, CLAS 340, CLAS 348, CLAS 370, CLAS 470, COLT 385, COLT 472, COLT 475, ENGL 472, ENGL 474, ENGL 481, HIST 220, HIST 265, HIST 312, HIST 323, HIST 355, HIST 351, HIST 455, HIST 470, JS 342, PHIL 135, PHIL 140, PHIL 330, PHIL 430, PHIL 431, POSC 201x, POSC 340, POSC 345, POSC 370, POSC 371, POSC 374, POSC 375, POSC 377, POSC 380, POSC 426, POSC 441, POSC 443, POSC 444, REL 360, REL 414, SOCI 351, SOCI 353, SWMS 355

Bachelor of Arts in Middle East Studies

See the Department of Middle East Studies for a complete listing of requirements.

Interdisciplinary Minor in Resistance to Genocide

To resist genocide effectively, we need to understand its history — the factors that have brought it about and those that have enabled people to prevent, resist or recuperate from mass violence. This interdisciplinary minor draws upon USC faculty in 11 academic units researching the causes, results and representations of attempted genocide as well as resistance to genocidal mass violence. Courses include attention to different definitions of genocide, its occurrence around the world and its representation in literature and the arts.

Course Requirements

The minor requires five courses (20 units); at least four must be at the upper-division level. As with all minors, students must choose at least four courses (16 units) outside their major department and four courses (16 units) that are not being used to satisfy any other subject requirement.

Lower-division Requirement units
Choose one course (four units) from the following list:
List A
JS 211g The Holocaust 4
POSC 248g International Human Rights 4
POSC 260 Global Ethnic Politics 4
Upper-division Requirements units
Choose four courses (16 units) from the lists below, at least one from each list:
List B — Representations of Genocide
COLT 485 The Shoah (Holocaust) in Literature and the Arts 4
ENGL 444 Native American Literature 4
FREN 373 Remembering Loss, Writing a Memory 4
ITAL 352 The Holocaust in Italian Fiction and Film 4
MUSC 430m Music and the Holocaust 4
List C — The Reality of Genocide
ANTH 357 Culture of Genocide 4
HIST 323 The Holocaust in 20th Century Europe 4
HIST 428 Life and Death in Nazi Germany 4
IR 313 Religions and Political Violence 4
MDA 330 The Armenian Heritage: History, Arts, and Culture 4
POSC 366 Terrorism and Genocide 4
PSYC 453* Intergroup Relations 4
List D — Capstone Courses: Resisting Genocide
HIST 444 Mass Violence and Comparative Genocide in Modern World History 4
HIST 446 Resistance to Genocide 4
IR 437 Comparative Genocide 4
JS 362 Terror and Resistance in Literature and the Media 4
*Prerequisite: PSYC 355

Minor in History

The minor in history is available to students in all schools and departments. The study of history deepens our understanding of peoples and societies and expands our knowledge of important issues operative in the world today. History minors will strengthen their skills in critical thinking, assessing evidence, and formulating clear and persuasive arguments both oral and written. History is essentially a laboratory of human experience, and students from a wide range of disciplines can discover new perspectives on their own intellectual interests through the study of the past.

Prerequisites: cumulative GPA of 2.0 or better and approval of a minor plan of study by the department’s undergraduate adviser.

Requirements: 20 upper-division units, including a minimum of 16 upper-division units from Department of History offerings. The remaining 4 units may come from either (1) HIST 201 (preferable), or (2) upon the approval of a History Department adviser, 4 upper-division units from another department.

An appropriate capstone course chosen from 400-level seminar offerings must be included in the proposed program as part of the departmental work. The capstone course will normally be the last (or among the last) courses taken for the minor.

Honors Program

The department offers a two-semester honors program, in which qualified students spend their first semester in an honors track in an upper-division seminar or take HIST 490 Directed Research in their concentration. During the second semester, all honors students are required to take HIST 492 Honors Thesis in which each completes a thesis project on a topic of his or her choosing under faculty direction. Contact the department honors director for further information. To graduate with honors, department majors must have a minimum GPA of 3.5 in their major course work.

Teaching Credential Requirements

Credential requirements in California and elsewhere are complex and changeable. Students interested in preparing for public school teaching should contact the Credentials Office, Rossier School of Education, and the undergraduate adviser, Department of History, for up-to-date information.

Interdisciplinary Minor in Early Modern Studies

This minor brings together the resources of the departments of English, History and Art History to study the literatures and cultures of Europe and the Americas from the late medieval period to 1800. For a complete listing of requirements, see Department of English.

Interdisciplinary Middle East Studies Minor

See the Department of Middle East Studies.

Interdisciplinary Race, Ethnicity and Politics Minor

See Department of Political Science.

Interdisciplinary Russian Area Studies Minor

See Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures.

Interdisciplinary Law and Society Minor

See Department of Political Science.