History, Bachelor of Arts

Department of History

College of Arts and Letters

“Human history is the sad result of each one looking out for himself,” said writer Julio Cortázar. This bachelor's degree provides students with perspectives from which to agree or disagree with this observation. The program offers flexibility for students to customize their program of study based on the period or type of history in which they are interested. A language requirement enhances and expands upon the core curriculum.

  • To receive a bachelor's degree at Northern Arizona University, you must complete at least 120 units of credit that minimally includes a major, the liberal studies requirements, and university requirements as listed below.

    • All of Northern Arizona University's diversity, liberal studies, junior-level writing, and capstone requirements.
    • All requirements for your specific academic plan(s).
    • At least 30 units of upper-division courses, which may include transfer work.
    • At least 30 units of coursework taken through Northern Arizona University, of which at least 18 must be upper-division courses (300-level or above). This requirement is not met by credit-by-exam, retro-credits, transfer coursework, etc.
    • A cumulative grade point average of at least 2.0 on all work attempted at Northern Arizona University.

    The full policy can be viewed here.

In addition to University Requirements:

  • At least 39 units of major requirements
  • At least 16 units of language requirements

  • Up to 9 units of major prefix courses may be used to satisfy Liberal Studies requirements; these same courses may also be used to satisfy major requirements.

  • Elective courses, if needed, to reach an overall total of at least 120 units.

Students may be able to use some courses to meet more than one requirement. Contact your advisor for details.

Minimum Units for Completion 120
Major GPA 2.5
Highest Mathematics Required MAT 114
Foreign Language Required
Fieldwork Experience/Internship Optional
Study Abroad Recommended
University Honors Program Optional
AZ Transfer Students complete AGEC-A Recommended
Progression Plan Link View Progression Plan

Purpose Statement

A Bachelor of Arts in History provides students with the knowledge, skills, and abilities to succeed in civic life, in graduate study, and in a variety of careers.  Our program emphasizes the complex tensions and synergies between human agency and larger historical forces in order to inform honest debate on past and current events as members of engaged, critical, and dynamic communities.  Historical perspective is an essential component of responsible and informed citizenship and provides significant advantages to students in a multicultural world and workplace. Our graduates attain the writing skills, research methods, and critical and analytical thinking necessary not only for history professions, but for a wide variety of career paths, such as management, law, and education in both academic and public settings.
Our curriculum trains students to find, evaluate, and employ primary and secondary sources as evidence to frame and answer questions through analysis, interpretation, and critical engagement. Students therefore learn to reach sound judgments and construct persuasive arguments through research rather than by relying on hearsay or presumptions. Students further develop appreciation for the diversity of the human experience and consciousness of how local and global histories inform one another in both past and present, and how historical research can transform those relations. To this end, students also acquire proficiency in a language other than English to facilitate interaction with communities different from their own.

Student Learning Outcomes

Historians portray the past with all its complexity, illuminating the tensions and synergies between human agency and larger historical and environmental forces in order to inform honest debate on past and current events by engaged, critical, and dynamic communities.

The Tools of a Historian’s Discipline

  • Doing History – finding, evaluating, and using primary and secondary sources.  BA/BS in History Candidates will:
    • Interpret and extract meaning from a variety of primary sources;
    • Gain knowledge literacy and research skills to locate, uncover, evaluate, and use evidence for the purpose of the historian;
    • Recognize the underlying assumptions, methodologies, and theories in other historians’ work in order to critique and build on this work with their own research;
    • Historicize assumptions of factual authenticity or universal truth by showing them to be historical, social and cultural constructs;
    • Apply theory and evaluate scholarship to frame historical questions;
    • Recognize how historians position themselves in the historiographies related to their topic.
  • Producing History – communicating historical analyses, interpretations, and narratives.  BA/BS in History Candidates will:
    • Articulate historical findings and interpretations through writing and oral expression;
    • Contextualize those findings using additional sources and evidence from the time period;
    • Produce and/or deconstruct historical narratives organized around patterns and themes of causality, chronologies, and paradigms identified by professional historians;
    • Position their research in pertinent historiographies;
    • Address conflicting evidence, alternative perspectives, and multiple viewpoints;
    • Comply with the professional conventions of the historical discipline by using and citing primary source evidence and the work of other scholars;
    • Acknowledge subjective and societal concerns that inform their own descriptions and evaluations of the past.
  • Local/Global Connections -  BA/BS in History Candidates will
    • Develop historical consciousness of how local and global histories inform one another;
    • Recognize the diversity of human experience as seen in the interconnections and relationships among individuals, communities, social groups, cultures, nations, humans and environments;
    • Explore the connections between power and knowledge in order to understand how scholarship can transform those relations;
    • Use local histories to challenge “universals” even as global narratives challenge parochialisms.
  • Foreign Language (BA) - BA in History Candidates will
    • Acquire proficiency in at least one language other than English in order to engage original sources, facilitate interaction and communication with diverse communities and pursue graduate research in history.

Major Requirements
  • This major requires 55 units distributed as follows:

    • History – Introductory Surveys: 12 units
    • Remaining History Course Selections: 27 units
    • Foreign Language: 16 units

    Take the following 39 units with a grade of "C" or better in each course. These courses must be completed with a minimum GPA of 2.5.

    HIS 300W, HIS 498C and at least 18 additional units must be taken at NAU including at least 6 units at the 300-level and at least 6 units at the 400-level.

    History - Introductory Surveys (12 Units)

    • * Please note that you may take HIS 100 and HIS 102 to fulfill either the Set One or the Set Two History Introductory survey requirement in this major, but you can't use this set of courses to fulfill both requirements.

Foreign Language Requirement
  • You must demonstrate proficiency in a language other than English that is equivalent to four terms of university coursework in the same language. You may satisfy this requirement by taking language courses or through credit by exam. (16 units)

General Electives
  • Additional coursework is required if, after you have met the previously described requirements, you have not yet completed a total of 120 units of credit.

    You may take these remaining courses from any of the academic areas, using these courses to pursue your specific interests and goals. You may also use prerequisites or transfer credits as electives if they weren't used to meet major, minor, or liberal studies requirements.

    We encourage you to consult with your advisor to select the courses that will be most advantageous to you.

Additional Information
  • If you meet the following criteria, you become eligible to receive History Departmental Honors when you graduate.

    To obtain Departmental Honors, you must:

    • have an overall grade point average of 3.5 or better;
    • have an overall grade point average for all History courses taken of 3.7 or better;
    • complete a minimum of 39 units of History courses;
    • complete a senior thesis or an Honors project under the supervision of a history faculty member; and
    • present the results of the thesis or Honors project at the University Honors Program Symposium, or at a History Department symposium or at a regional/national scholarly conference.
  • The History Department strongly encourages you to study abroad or intern abroad.  For more information on global learning opportunities, benefits, or requirements, please consult the History Department website and your advisor. 

  • Be aware that some courses may have prerequisites that you must also successfully complete. For prerequisite information, click on the course or see your advisor.