- Linfield College

Goals and Requirements for History Majors and Minors

The History Department is a welcoming community that encourages you to explore your interest in history while also developing skills vital to any career path following graduation. Our program aims to help all students achieve the learning goals for the major, which are to:

  • Critically analyze and assess historical causation and change;
  • Develop an awareness of and sensitivity to the values and attitudes of diverse peoples in other times and places;
  • Actively develop excellent research skills and evidence-based reasoning;
  • Develop strong oral and written communication skills.

We achieve the above learning outcomes through dynamic, compelling courses on topics as varied as the military prowess of Japanese samurai, the culture, politics, and memory of World Wars I and II, the role of animals and the environment in U.S. history, the race relations framing the American Civil War, and the Spanish conquest of Mexico, among many others.

We also guide students through a 1-credit professional development seminar that allows majors and minors to explore how to develop job-seeking skills, gain concrete work experience, and successfully navigate the job market following graduation.

Throughout, we will work with you to find viable and valuable internships as well as on-campus work (such as work study positions with the department or with the Linfield Archives, and/or student-faculty collaborative research opportunities.

Although it is not required, we strongly encourage our majors to study abroad for a semester or on one of our amazing off-campus January Term courses. Prospective employers deeply value employees who have confronted challenges, stepped out of their comfort zones, and experienced living in a foreign culture.

Your History Odyssey includes two challenging and rewarding capstone courses: Historical Methods and Senior Seminar. Methods helps you hone your research and interpretive skills, as you select a topic of your choosing for your senior thesis. You will start the thesis in Methods and complete it in Senior Seminar in the fall of your senior year. All majors write a senior thesis on their own original research; this is a wonderful opportunity to explore a favorite topic in more depth. Since prospective employers regularly cite the completion of a senior research project as evidence of job candidates’ potential and capabilities, senior thesis is a vital part of your preparation for life after college.

Every year, we also celebrate student achievements by hosting social gatherings at the end of each semester and by inducting qualifying students into the national honors society for history, Phi Alpha Theta. The entire college also showcases student scholarship at our annual Symposium Day each spring. Every year, select graduating senior history majors display posters and/or give presentations about their senior theses research—this is a fantastic opportunity to show off your hard work and creative abilities!

Requirements for the Major/Minor

The history major is available as a bachelor of arts degree only; this means you must complete two semesters of a foreign language or its equivalent in order to graduate.

For a major you must complete 41 credits* including:

  • At least one course (200 level or higher) in each of the following geographic areas, with the specific course topic being your choice:
    • (1) Europe and the Mediterranean;
    • (2) Asia and the Pacific;
    • (3) North America;
    • (4) Latin America and the Caribbean.
  • HIST 090 Professional Development: History Majors/Minors (1 credit)
  • HIST 285: Historical Methods (Only offered in spring. Recommended for the spring semester of your junior year. If you plan to be abroad that semester, then you should take 285 in spring of sophomore Please consult with the History Department Chair or your History faculty advisor.) (4 credits)
  • HIST 485: Senior Seminar (Only offered in fall. Recommended for fall of senior year.) (4 credits)

For a minor: 20 credits including at least 12 credits at the 200 level or higher. Because our requirements are so flexible, many students find it quite easy to add a minor in history. While the most common combinations are with Political Science, Anthropology, Sociology, and English, pretty much any major is a great complement to a History minor.  

For Oregon Preliminary Teaching Licensure in Social Studies: You must complete the Linfield Teacher Education Program requirements. To do so, you must begin taking education courses no later than your sophomore year. You must also be advised by an Education Department faculty member each semester prior to registration.

* For students who entered Linfield prior to Fall 2019, HIST 090 is optional and only 40 credits are needed to graduate.