May 19, 2024  
2020-2021 Interim Catalog 
2020-2021 Interim Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

History, B.A.

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   Member of the Division of Social Studies


Michael Guenther


Catherine Chou
Edward D. Cohn
Caleb Elfenbein (also Religious Studies)
Michael Guenther
P. Albert Lacson
Carolyn Lewis
Weiwei Luo
Kelly Maynard
Elizabeth Prevost
Sarah Purcell
Elias Saba
(also Religious Studies)
José Pablo Silva

The discipline of history poses complex questions about the experiences of humans over time. Historians develop, challenge, and revise narratives and interpretations of the past with an eye toward understanding both the subjects of their study and the implications of such knowledge for the present.

History classes are grounded in the careful analysis of texts and documents. Students develop fundamental skills in the framing of historical questions, the pursuit of independent research, and the eloquent and persuasive presentation of their ideas. Such skills place historians in dialogue with many other academic disciplines and are central to the experience of a true liberal-arts education. History majors are therefore well-equipped for a broad spectrum of career paths including (but by no means limited to) public service, museum practice, teaching, scholarship, and the law.

While the members of the history department faculty vary widely in areas of expertise and classroom styles, we share a commitment to research, teaching, and learning in a collaborative environment, where students and faculty engage together in the processes of intellectual inquiry.

Major Requirements: A minimum of 32 credits

  • 20 of the 32 credits required for the major must be taken at Grinnell College

Core Requirements: 24 credits

  •  HIS 100 - Introduction to Historical Inquiry  4 credits
  • Three 200-level classes in the history of three different geographical regions 12 credits
    The geographic regions and associated course numbers are defined as
    • Latin American history (20X)
    • US history (21X, 22X)
    • European history (23X, 25X)
    • Russian history (24X)
    • History of Africa and the Middle East (26X)
    • Asian history (27X)
    • Transregional and Comparative History (28X)
  • Two 300-level seminars 8 credits (each taught by a different professor)

Additional Requirements: 8 credits

  • 8 credits of additional History Courses. 
  • With permission, four of the 32 credits may be taken in related studies, or up to eight credits from Off-Campus Study.


Additional Information

The department strongly recommends that students complete a history curriculum that embraces chronological diversity by including at least one 200-level course that focuses on history before 1850 and at least one 200-level course on history after 1850. Since knowledge of mathematics and foreign languages is essential for serious study of history, the department also recommends that students take at least one course in quantitative analysis and the equivalent of at least three semesters of a modern foreign language or two semesters of a classical language.


To be considered for honors in history, graduating seniors must achieve a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.6 and major GPA of 3.7 by the end of their seventh semester, and completed both the recommended and required work listed above by the end of their final semester.

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