Major Concentrations

Students may choose to pursue thematic connections across time and space by taking courses that count toward one of the concentrations within the major. In addition to allowing students to focus on areas of interest, those who complete a concentration will be able to show potential employers their depth of preparation in particular subject areas through an acknowledgment that will appear on their transcripts. To earn a concentration, students need to take 18 of the major's 36 credit hours in one of the specific concentration areas: 6 at the lower level (1001-2199) and 12 at the upper level (3001-5199).  

Interested in starting your concentration in an upcoming semester?  
See which courses are available for each concentration here.  

Globalization & Transregional Connections

Globalization is often seen as a modern phenomenon, the product of new technologies in transportation and communication, but throughout human history people have traveled and traded both goods and ideas. These movements and migrations, and the intended and unintended exchanges that resulted from them, transformed both human societies and the natural environment. History majors in this concentration will look beyond national and regional boundaries to understand how humans have connected across great distances throughout history, and how these interactions have shaped our shared global past and present.

Student Learning Outcomes:

  • Recognize ideas, beliefs, and technologies that have brought the world together throughout history. 
  • Explain global systems and their impact on local communities from diverse vantage points. 
  • Distinguish historical, social, and cultural traditions from multiple perspectives to develop a more nuanced historical worldview. 
  • Analyze primary and secondary sources from different perspectives, cultures, belief systems, and backgrounds, and demonstrate the ability to craft well-supported historical narratives, arguments, and reports of research findings.

Law, History, & Society

The concentration offers students the opportunity to develop an understanding of law as both a product of and contributor to local, regional, national, and global history. Examining law and its impact on communities in multiple contexts and through various lenses will enable students to acquire a critical perspective on how law and its corresponding institutions and traditions have not only shaped cultures, structures of power, and society to establish continuity and stability, but also how individuals, groups, and societies have used law and legal institutions to affect fundamental, and even radical, change in specific societies over time.  To earn this concentration, students will complete a variety of history courses that stretch across national and chronological boundaries, enabling them to explore the impact of laws on society through political, economic, and religious institutions as much as through social and cultural practices.

Student Learning Outcomes:

  • Demonstrate a critical understanding of the evolution of legal thought, structures, and institutions, including both the effects of these legal phenomena on societies and how societies have used law to promote or resist change. 
  • Assess the domestic political, economic, social, and cultural ramifications of legal and constitutional practice and institutions in secular and religious contexts within and between discreet societies that span the globe. 
  • Develop skills of historical thinking, in particular comparing and analyzing discrete historical contexts through the lens of normative (i.e., legal, moral, and political) structures that underpin a variety of traditions, assumptions, and customs, and that continue to shape contemporary political and social contests and conflicts. 
  • Contextualize and analyze the varieties and complexities of legal structures and demonstrate the ability to craft well-supported historical narratives, arguments, and reports of research findings about how they were used throughout history as a means to challenge and legitimate political authority.

Race, Ethnicity, & Inequality

This concentration focuses on the social construction of race and ethnicity and the complex way these concepts have operated in history, including how race and ethnicity have been defined, by whom, and to what ends. Encountering the past through diverse sources enables students to recognize structures and habits of inequality that have profound implications for people across the globe. Courses will explore the contradictions and inconsistencies in the definitions and uses of race and ethnicity across a variety of historical topics such as identity and citizenship, war and peace, migration and refugees, art and popular culture, religion, science, politics, and economics.

Student Learning Outcomes:

  • Recognize underlying systems that have perpetuated inequalities across diverse social categories that intersect with one another.  
  • Identify and analyze the ways the construction of race and ethnicity has operated through economic, social, political, legal, scientific, and cultural institutions to organize human experience across time and space. 
  • Develop skills in historical thinking, in particular an appreciation for the relationship between continuity and change, and an ability to compare and analyze discrete historical contexts of social inequalities. 
  • Demonstrate mastery of historians’ scholarship and original sources on race including their significance for our understanding of the past and present by crafting well-supported historical narratives, arguments, and reports of research findings.

Religion & Culture

Today, modern societies often tend to dismiss or marginalize religion. But historical study reveals how religious and cultural beliefs, practices, and identities have fundamentally shaped and continue to shape human history in realms of law, politics, and war, in art, literature, and music, and through empire building, social movements, and ideologies about race, gender, and sexuality. This concentration prepares students to understand diverse religious and cultural perspectives across time and space, and to think critically and creatively about the powerful and complex role played by religion and culture in both the past and the present.

Student Learning Outcomes:  

  • Identify key characteristics of different religious and cultural systems, and how those various systems evolved over time around the world. 
  • Evaluate and assess the strengths and weaknesses of scholarly arguments regarding religion and culture in diverse historical contexts.  
  • Critically analyze primary historical sources from different religious and cultural perspectives. 
  • Demonstrate how religion and culture have shaped politics, economics, law, warfare, and society in diverse ways across time and space through well-supported historical narratives, arguments, and reports of research findings.

Technology, Science, & Medicine

This concentration provides students opportunities to examine how inventions and innovations in technology, science, and medicine influence societal developments. Technological, scientific, and medical advancements will be studied alongside the policy and cultural ramifications. The global diffusion of these ideas and decisions offers students chances to make research comparatives.  History majors involved in this concentration will consider cultural, political, national and global contexts to understand why technologies, scientific advancements, and medical breakthroughs were accepted, rejected, or ignored by societies. 

Student Learning Outcomes: 

  • Recognize the interactions between cultures, economics, and politics with technologies, science, and medicine.  
  • Explain the interplay between the development of technology, science, and medicine at the nation-state level and global history context.  
  • Distinguish the similarities and differences between technology, science, and medicine within a historical worldview.  
  • Analyze primary and secondary sources from multiple research perspectives in order to demonstrate a comparative awareness of the global histories of technology, science, and medicine. 

Self-Directed (Faculty Mentored)

Students can design a major concentration tailored to their unique interests and professional goals. A self-directed major concentration might focus on specific issues or themes such as business and economics; urban history and planning; immigration and migration; women, gender, and sexuality; social and political movements, or environmental history. Students might also design a major concentration in the fields of public history or digital history. To earn this concentration, students must identify and consult with a faculty mentor whose expertise directly corresponds with the concentration they wish to self-design.

Student Learning Outcomes: 

  • Demonstrate a broad understanding of the past across diverse regions, peoples, and social groups, including minorities and women, as well as periods of the past before the modern age. 
  • Demonstrate a grasp of history beyond just facts associated with discrete events. 
  • Develop an integrated approach to the past that does not treat countries and topics in isolation but rather studies them in a comparative mode both chronologically and geographically. 
  • Demonstrate proficient critical thinking, clarity of expression, and sound arguments in oral and written work.  
  • Analyze and evaluate original sources through their coursework and research projects.