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Bachelor of Science in History

Meditating on the history of the American South, novelist William Faulkner famously proclaimed, "The past is never dead. It's not even past." Learning about the relationship of past to present is what history is all about. The past is indeed not past: it shapes, in complex and powerful ways, the world we live in now. Yet the past can be radically different from the present. Studying history allows us to grasp the immense variety of human experience across time, place and culture; to develop insight into the ways that people understand themselves in relation to the societies in which they live; and to engage critically with contemporary issues.

Students who major in history at Washington University are encouraged to cultivate a broad understanding of global themes while also having the flexibility to focus on areas of special interest. Our instructors emphasize the development of analytic skills that are useful not only in history courses, but in a range of occupations and professions including law, business, communications, education, and public policy. 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 with comprehension, and to write with precision and clarity. Whether students pursue a major, a minor, or simply sample our courses, studying history will help them to develop the knowledge and critical skills that are essential for life in an increasingly complex and contentious world.

Admission Requirements

6 units of transferrable college-level course work
  • At least six units of transferrable college-level course work; or 
  • at least six units of course work taken at University College and proof of high school completion, General Educational Development (GED) or High School Equivalency (HSE).
2.7 minimum GPA

Note: University College is designed for students with adult responsibilities who may require part-time and flexible course schedules. Current high school students and recent graduates seeking a traditional WashU college experience should apply through the undergraduate admissions office:

Application Requirements

Below is a list of requirements for an application to the undergraduate degree in History. Applications will be reviewed once all requirements are received.

Application Deadlines

Admission decisions are made on a rolling basis and typically take four to six weeks. An application is incomplete and will not be reviewed until all of the application requirements have been received or processed. Applicants are encouraged to submit all materials by the following dates:

  • SUMMER 2022: APRIL 30, 2022
  • FALL 2022: JULY 31, 2022
  • SPRING 2023: DEC. 31, 2022
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 and the required documents have been received.


Official or unofficial (student-issued) copies of transcripts from the three most recent years of college-level work. If you have fewer than 6-units of transferable credit or University College course work and proof of high school completion, General Educational Development (GED) or High School Equivalency (HSE) must be submitted. Official transcripts must be sent directly from the registrar to University College. Electronic transcripts should be forwarded to For transcript questions, please contact our Admissions Coordinator, Patricia Agnew, at

Non-United States course work transcript verification
If the transcript you submit for consideration is from a college or university outside the United States, a course by course transcript evaluation is also required. Evaluations will be accepted from World Education Services (WES), Spantran or another member institution of the National Association of Credential Evaluation Services (NACES). For Spantran evaluations, you must use this form

Personal Essay

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? Is there additional information we should know about you when considering your application?

TOEFL/IELTS scores (if applicable)

All international students are required to submit TOEFL, IELTS or Duolingo scores at the time of application. The TOEFL, IELTS and Duolingo requirement may be waived for applicants who, immediately prior to their application for admission, have done both of the following:

  • Lived for three years or longer in the United States or another country where English is the primary language of daily life (e.g. Canada or United Kingdom).
  • Completed three or more years of study at a college or university which is located in that country and where the language of instruction is English.

This policy applies to all international students, even those who have earned a degree from a United States college or university.

If an applicant moves away from an English-speaking country after living and studying there for three years or more, TOEFL, IELTS or Duolingo scores are then required for admission. 

Changes to the English Language Proficiency Requirements (2022–23)

Starting January 1, 2022, University College will cease using the temporary testing options that the University added in 2020. The TOEFL ITP Plus and the TOEFL iBT Home, will no longer be accepted. The traditional TOEFL and IELTS exams will continue to be accepted. Also, the Duolingo exam will be accepted as an official option.

For international student application deadlines and fees, please click HERE.

Additional TOEFL and IELTS information for international students adversely affected by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) can be found on University College’s International Student Information webpage.

Enrolling in University College

We are here for you, every step of the way. Getting started at University College is easy.


Step 1Meet with an Advisor
Schedule an appointment with an advisor online.

Step 2Start Your Application
Applying is easy, and our advisors are here to help you find the path that fits your needs. Apply Today!

Step 3Plan Ahead
Explore ways that can help you afford your education such as tuition payment methods, scholarships and financial aid.  


Take a course today. Apply later.

At University College, students can take courses without applying to a degree program. If you are interested in taking a class to get to know University College, to fulfill credits, for professional development, or to follow a passion, the non-degree option is for you. Learn more.

Our advisors go the extra mile to help you navigate your path and needs. We will provide you with the tools to make each moment spent on your education as valuable as possible. Students will receive:

  • individual appointments with an experienced advisor;
  • career planning services to prepare you for opportunities after graduation;
  • a partner throughout your journey to ensure success.



Student advising is available from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Thursday and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday.


Schedule an appointment

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


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)
  • America from the Civil War (U16 210)

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



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.



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 fulfilling the capstone experience will be so designated in the course description.  

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