Undergraduate Studies

Undergraduate Program

What Courses Are Required?

Visit the Undergraduate Catalog.

Why History?

History illuminates the human condition. By investigating processes of change and of continuity, the historical discipline provides a basis for understanding the cultures and communities in which we live, as well as their relationship to the rest of the world. Without a historical perspective, learning necessarily remains incomplete. Thus, students are well advised to study history for its own sake. Not only will it enrich their knowledge of the past, but it will also teach them analytic skills that are applicable to a wide variety of fields and occupations.

Why Study History? from UA College of Arts & Sciences on Vimeo.

What History Teaches You

The study of history prepares students for the dynamics of business, government, or careers in non-profit enterprises. Historical scholarship trains the mind to think on many levels. A student of history learns to deal with rules of evidence and with ambiguity in the human condition. Historical knowledge provides evidence of past experiences with which to judge new solutions to contemporary challenges. It teaches a student to recognize patterns in voluminous data and to establish comparisons and connections across wide distances of time and space. The study of history teaches you to ask the right questions, to think critically, to analyze objectively, and to communicate with power and clarity. More than anything else, the study of history empowers you to understand the human condition: who we are, where we have come from, where we are going.

For more information on history and your future career, visit Careers in History.

History at Alabama

The student pursuing a bachelor’s degree in history takes 33 hours of history, which include introductory courses that examine world, or Western civilization. Students also take courses in American history and are required to take British or European history and Asian or Latin American history.

Other course offerings reflect the diverse interests of the faculty members. Such courses include Age of Exploration and Conquest, Women in America, African-American History, World War I, Nazi Germany, World War II, Chinese History, Military and Naval History, and American Social, Cultural, and Intellectual History.

Innovative teaching methods and new approaches to historical studies are an important part of the History Program. Team teaching is used in courses such as The United States and the Vietnam War.

Courses taught off campus are also available to students. These include the Alabama at Oxford Program, in which History faculty members participate regularly, and courses occasionally offered in one or another of the Latin American countries.

The Legal History Concentration

The Department of History offers an advanced concentration in Legal History — specifically designed to give undergraduates a competitive edge when applying to elite law schools and/or policy oriented graduate programs. Participating students will acquire first-hand legal research experience while exploring key precedents and the evolution of jurisprudence over time. Students are also provided with personalized application coaching, experiential learning opportunities, and one-on-one personal statement workshops.

History is widely regarded in the legal community as among the most popular and pragmatic majors for undergraduates considering careers in the law, public policy, or public administration.

The Public History Concentration

Public History prepares students to enter careers in ​museums,​ ​historical​ ​societies, archives,​ ​historic​ ​preservation ​​offices,​ Cultural Resource Management firms, nonprofits, and ​local​, ​regional​, or federal governments. ​More than a career path, however, public history involves ethical commitments and responsibilities toward community engagement and a way to co-create history with many different publics. Students at The University of Alabama will gain a strong foundation in the field with an undergraduate concentration in Public History or advanced graduate training in public history, Museum Studies, and Archival Studies. UA, Tuscaloosa, and the broader West Alabama region have a robust public history community from which students will draw experience and build their professional network.

The Honors Program in History

The history honors program is open to history majors who have a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0, a 3.3 GPA or above in History, and at least 12 hours of HY courses completed. The program requires six hours of honors work: HY 430 UG Research Seminar followed by HY 499 Honors Thesis II OR HY 498 Honors Thesis I followed by  HY 499 Honors Thesis II. Both options must be completed under the direction of a tenured or tenure-track member of the department.  Students who complete a History Honors thesis by taking the combination of HY 498 and HY 499  are exempt from having to take the  HY 430 UG Research Seminar.  Students wishing to complete an Honors thesis must secure approval from their faculty honors adviser before embarking on this process. In order to graduate with honors in history, students must have a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0, a 3.3 GPA or above in history, and satisfactory completion of a thesis judged to merit an honors designation.

Scholarships and Awards

The University offers several scholarships and awards to incoming freshmen and all undergraduates. For more information, go to Scholarships.

Honoraries and Student Publications

A chapter of Phi Alpha Theta, the international history honor society for undergraduate and graduate students, is active on campus. The Department publishes two serial journals, the Southern Historian, which serves as a forum for graduate student articles and book reviews, and the Crimson Historical Review, a forum for undergraduate original research and reviews.

Further information about the undergraduate program may be obtained directly from the departmental office, 202 ten Hoor, or by contacting the Undergraduate Director, Dr. Lucy Kaufman.

(205) 348-7100
Fax: (205) 348-0670
Mailing Address: Box 870212, Tuscaloosa, AL 35487-0212.