a World War II soldier

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.

Explore Careers in History

History at Alabama

Students pursuing a bachelor’s degree in history take 33 hours of history, which include introductory courses that examine American, World, Asian, Latin American, and Western civilizations as well as the history of science. Students are also required to take upper-level courses in the history of the United States, Europe, and Asia or Latin America. Every history major also enrolls in an Undergraduate Research Seminar that provides an opportunity to work with primary source materials, and in a Hidden Histories course that examines the past through the perspectives and voices of often-unheard historical actors.

Students pursuing a minor in history take 21 hours of history, including six hours in introductory courses, nine hours in 300 or 400-level courses, and an additional six hours in history electives. For more information, see the undergraduate catalog.

Other course offerings reflect the diverse interests of the faculty members, from Military and Naval History and American Social and Cultural History to the history of race and histories of the ancient and medieval world. Innovative teaching methods and new approaches to historical studies are an important part of the history program, reflected in courses such as the History of Games, Digital History, and Foodways in American History.

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.

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 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.

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.

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 Crimson Historical Review, a forum for undergraduate original research and reviews; and the Capstone Journal of Law and Public Policy, an undergraduate law review published by the Legal Research Club.

assorted scrolls stored on shelves

Undergraduate Research

At UA, undergraduate history majors have myriad opportunities to conduct, present, and even publish their own research, allowing them to investigate subjects that fascinate them and learn valuable research and writing skills.

Undergrad Research

What Our Students Say

Watch the video to find out what our students find meaningful in the study of history — and learn more about how a history major or minor can apply across your career. Learn how the history department helps our students prepare for post-graduation life through internships, mentoring, research experience, and more at the link below.
How History Can Help

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.
Learn More
a student reading an old book

Looking for course requirements?

visit the undergraduate catalog

Scholarships & Awards

The University offers several scholarships and awards to incoming freshmen and all undergraduates. For more information, visit the UA scholarships website.
UA Scholarships
ten Hoor Hall, home of the UA history department

For More Information

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

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