The History Minor


A Minor in History consists of six courses, four of which must be taken in the Penn Department of History. Students may count a maximum of two courses from either study abroad, credit away or transfer credit. History Minors may not count any major-related courses - these are courses from other Penn departments that are not cross-listed with History. Courses for a Minor may not be taken pass/fail. AP credit may not be used.

A. Geographic Distribution

Students must take a course in three of the following five geographic areas:

  • United States and Canada
  • Europe (including Britain and Australia)
  • Africa and the Middle East
  • Latin America and the Caribbean
  • East Asia and South Asia

Note: The content of some history courses—History 354 - American Expansion in the Pacific, for example—crosses regional boundaries. This course may be used as either an American or an Asian requirement, but it may not count for both areas.

B. Chronological Distribution

  • One Pre-1800 Course
  • One Post-1800 Course

All pre-1800 courses are designated (PRE-1800) within the Department of History Undergraduate Course Directory.

Note: Minors may "double-count" chronological and geographic distribution courses. For example, it is perfectly acceptable to take HIST 308 - Renaissance Europe, and HIST 097 - China in the Twentieth Century, in order to fulfill both chronological requirements and two of the three geographic requirements.

C. Upper-Level Seminar

Students must take at least one upper-level History seminar (200 level and above).

All seminars are designated (SEM) both in the Registrar's Timetable and in the Department of History Undergraduate Course Directory. The seminar must be taken in the Penn Department of History.

D. Concentration (Optional)

Students may choose an area of concentration, though they are not required to do so.

Students who wish to have a concentration within the Minor must take three courses in that concentration, including one seminar. Minor concentrations do not appear on a student's transcript.

A minor concentration in Jewish History requires three of the six courses to be in the area of Jewish history, divided as follows: 1 of the 3 Jewish history surveys—HIST 139 (formerly HIST 156), HIST 140, and HIST141— and two additional courses in Jewish history, including one seminar. (With permission from a Jewish history faculty advisor, students may take one of these courses in another department.) The other requirements are the same for the general History Minor.

Declaring a Minor in History

When you have completed the majority of your Minor in History, schedule an appointment with the History Undergraduate Advisor to declare the minor officially.

Declaring a Minor in History will not automatically enable you to enroll in "majors only" seminars. History Minors may request permits for these seminars from the course instructor.

Remember: the Department offers many additional seminars that are not "majors-only" and are available to you without a permit. See the Undergraduate Course Directory, and look for the (SEM) designation.

NOTE: "Official Declaration" means that a Minor in History appears on a student's transcript. Having a History Minor on a Penn InTouch worksheet—whether official or unofficial—is not sufficient.

Minor in Legal Studies and History

The Wharton School and the College also offer an interschool Minor in Legal Studies and History. The Legal Studies website has detailed information on the minor requirements. Please read these pages very carefully. If you still have questions about the Minor: Wharton students should contact the Legal Studies Advisor, Professor Philip Nichols ; College students should speak to Yvonne Fabella in the Department of History. All prospective Minors must declare through the appropriate department in their home school: Legal Studies for Wharton students; History for College students.