Need photo

The Department of History conceives the human community in time, to explain events in their various connections; in space, juxtaposing events on one part of the world with those in other parts of the world; and in a system of analytic categories, exploiting every feature of the disciplines that offer insight into human thought and activity in the past.

All History majors are required to select an area of concentration by their junior year. The concentration may be geographic (African and Middle Eastern, North American, Latin American, Asian or European); thematic (industrialism, gender or revolutions); or chronological (medieval, early modern or modern).

History offers a disciplinary major, a B.A., and a disciplinary minor.

Course List

If you'd like to view a full listing of our course options in History or any other subject, please visit the Online Course Catalogue.

Click for the Course Catalogue


Requirements for the Major (B.A.)

disciplinary, 10 courses

At least two 100-level introductory courses (EUST 102 and ASN 101) may substitute for one or more introductory history courses); four 200-level or higher history courses in one area of concentration (geographic, thematic, or chronological); four additional history courses, only one of which may be at the 100-level. Of the 10 courses in the major, at least three courses must cover different geographical areas. At least two of the 10 courses for the major must be at the 300-level or above. At least one of the 300-level or higher courses must be a research seminar, history independent study, or history honors project.

Requirements for the Minor

disciplinary, 5 courses

At least one 100-level introductory course (EUST 102 and ASN 101 may substitute for one or more introductory history courses); at least one 300- or 400-level history course; three additional history courses, not more than one of which may be at the 100-level. At least two of the courses must be in two different geographic areas.


Our students choose from a variety of introductory and advanced courses, each designed to provide students with an understanding of the history of the human community.

Below, you'll find a sampling of some of our most popular classes, as well as suggestions for making History a part of your larger interdisciplinary experience at Hobart and William Smith Colleges.

HIST 105 Intro to the American Experience


Survey the development of America from initial European-Indian contact to the Civil War by exploring critical events in American history. Learn about our country's political and social history through the study of the first settlements, slavery and the economy. Then, expand your knowledge by enrolling in AMST 100 History and Form of American Culture, and discuss the origins and development of the dominant cultural institutions of the United States, particularly mass media and advertising.

HIST 286 Plants and Empire


After the 15th century, European empires transformed the distribution of plants by adopting a plantation system, which was dedicated to the production of a single cash crop usually brought from elsewhere such as sugar, tobacco or cotton. Trace the globalization of traffic in plants and its consequences. Then, enroll in ENV 250 Human Impact on South American Environments and explore the impact that human cultures have had on the environment, specifically the modern agricultural practices that have affected Ecuador and Peru.

HIST 314 Aquarian Age: The 1960s


Explore the sources and nature of the change in various facets of American life during the 1960s by paying particular attention to the realms of culture, personal identity and politics. Examine the forces that gave rise to the impulses of the 1960s as well as the reaction that developed against them. Once you've established a basic understanding of the decade, why not enroll in POL 212 The Sixties, and learn about the origins of the various social movements that characterized the decade - civil rights, anti-war, women's liberation.



Preparing Students to Lead Lives of Consequence.