Bachelor of Science in History

Undergraduate

This is an exciting time to be studying history. The transition to the 21st century has prompted intense questioning about the past, the future, and the nature of change. Many old certainties and conventional wisdoms have been challenged, and America’s role in an increasingly complex and contentious world demands that we, as citizens, acquire the skills that will allow us to analyze and comprehend that world.

This is precisely what the study of history—of human experience contextualized temporally, culturally, politically, and geographically—is designed to do. The History Department at Washington University offers you the opportunity to examine human experience across time and in a wide variety of cultural, political, regional, and social contexts. The curriculum is global in scope, and students are encouraged to sample courses across time and space while achieving depth of knowledge in selected areas.

Through the major in history, you also can develop important analytic skills used in law, business, communications, and other professions. These skills include the ability to organize and interpret data, to develop logical and convincing arguments, to do research and sift the significant from the insignificant, to read for comprehension, and to write with precision and clarity. Historians aim for a broad understanding of any problem and gain empathy for people in different times, places, and situations.

required course work

All University College undergraduate students must satisfy the same general-education requirements. Requirements specific to the B.S. in History include:

Introductory Courses: 6 units

One introductory course chosen from:

  • Western Civilization I (U16 101)
  • Western Civilization II (U16 102)
  • Introduction to U.S. History (U16 163)
  • Introduction to World History (U16 164)
  • America to Civil War (U16 209)
  • American from the Civil War (U16 210)

One additional introductory course, 100- or 200-level History course.

Advanced Level Courses: 18 units

300- or 400-level courses, to include:

  • At least one course designated "premodern" and one course designated "modern."
  • At least one course from three of the following geographical areas: Africa, East Asia, South Asia, Europe, Latin America, Middle East, the United States, or Transregional History.*

*A transregional course includes more than one of the designated geographic areas. If a student chooses to count a transregional course towards the geographical requirement, at least one of the two other geographical areas must cover a region that is not included in the transregional course. For example, a student who has completed courses in U.S. and Latin American history could not count towards this requirement a transregional course that examines the comparative history of the U.S. and Latin America.

A Capstone Experience (Research Seminar)

Research Seminars are upper-level, limited-enrollment courses that emphasize engagement with primary sources. Course assignments will feature texts and images from a variety of published and manuscript materials, and students will research and write a substantial paper over the course of the semester from independently selected and analyzed primary sources. All research seminars will be so designated in the course title.

It is highly recommended that, before undertaking the Research Project, students enroll in one or more Research Seminars (which would, in this case, count towards the required 18 units of advanced level courses).

application requirements

Completed application form

The online application is available online on our Apply page. Applications are ready for review when all fields on the application form are completed, required documents have been received, and the application fee is paid.

Official transcripts from all previous college work

Contact the registrar at each previous college or university attended to request an official transcript. Official transcripts must be sent directly from the registrar to University College.

Personal statement

Tell us about yourself in a brief essay (about 250 words). Why are you applying to University College? What are your goals, both academic and professional? What do we need to know when considering your application?

TOEFL scores (if applicable)

If you are not a U.S. citizen, official TOEFL scores must be forwarded to University College.

Graduates of a U.S. university or college or Canada, Australia, and U.K. residents are exempt if they have earned a bachelor’s degree or a graduate degree from such college or university.

$35 application fee

You may pay by credit card online, or via check or money order payable to Washington University in St. Louis. You may also pay the fee by cash at the University College office. 

This fee is waived for all WashU staff.

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Still have questions?

Administrative Assistant for Academic Programs: Holly Schroeder | (314) 935-6759 | cschroed@wustl.edu

Director of Advising and Student Services: Elizabeth Fogt | (314) 935-6778 | efogt@wustl.edu