College of Liberal Arts undergraduate History degree majors are bound together by a common curiosity about who we are, how our world was shaped over time and how the past informs our present lives. Being a History major is great preparation for a professional career in law, education, business, government and more. Learn history in the birthplace of the nation, where you’ll find exciting coursework at Temple University, administered by our internationally recognized faculty. Students can major or minor in history or pursue a bachelor’s degree with honors.
The Cradle of American History and Its Global Connections
Our home, Philadelphia, is a terrific place to study history — not only of the city and its remarkable past, but of the world as well. Our courses take advantage of Philly’s exciting past, and our major allows students to take advantage of Temple’s many study abroad options.
Students majoring in History take rigorous courses in subjects such as Dissent in America, The History of Nazi Germany, the History of Philadelphia, Immigration and the American Dream, and Cold War Africa. We have faculty experts in urban history, Asian history, military history, diplomacy, imperialism, the environment and many other fields.
Internationally Recognized Faculty
Our faculty members are both world-renowned scholars and award-winning teachers.
Bachelor of Arts in History
The major in History is designed to allow students maximum flexibility to pursue their interests, whether in particular time periods or world regions. In addition to the introductory classes and a wide range of upper-level coursework, students will build strong research, writing, communication, and analytical skills in a research and writing sequence composed of History 2001: The Historian’s Craft, History 3096: Intermediate Writing Seminar, and History 4096: Capstone Seminar in History.
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Minor in History
The History minor is an ideal complement to other majors and programs at Temple, from medicine to journalism, computer science to finance and film to marketing. Students with a minor in History are required to take six courses totaling 18 semester hours.The six courses include two introductory courses, History 2001 and three courses above 2000.
Learn More about the Minor in History
The University Honors Program
The University Honors Program enables History majors and minors to experience some of the most dynamic teachers, rewarding classes, and exciting research opportunities that Temple University has to offer. History students and faculty regularly participate in the University Honors Program, and the department offers honors-designated courses, including History 4934 and History 4997, which help majors and non-majors who are in the University Honors Program to meet their Honors requirements. History majors who successfully complete the requirements for the wider University Honors Program can graduate with “Honors” on their transcript.
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Honors in History
There are three ways to enhance your History degree by achieving honors within the major:
- Become a part of the departmental honors thesis track, the History Honors Scholars Program
- Become a part of the University Honors Program
- Become a member of Phi Alpha Theta, the national history honors society
The History Honors Scholars Program
The History Honors Scholar Program is a departmental honors thesis program that encourages and supports History majors in making the creative most of their undergraduate years.
Past participants in the program have gone on to graduate programs in history and other subjects, to law school and other forms of professional training and to a wide variety of other careers. History majors who successfully complete the History Honors Scholar Program and meet GPA requirements can also be awarded with “Distinction in History” when they graduate.
- Learn More about the History Honors program
The heart of the History Honors Scholar Program is the thesis, which gives students an opportunity to undertake in-depth historical research and writing on a topic of their own choosing. In doing this, they are mentored by faculty in the History Department and part of a cohort of other engaged and talented students undertaking their own research projects. The final version of the thesis will be required to be between 7000 and 10000 words, not including notes and bibliography. This is approximately the length of articles published in academic history journals. Students will also present their work.
The program runs on an annual basis and participants take two, three-credit courses during a single academic year. In the Fall semester, students take History 4934 “Honors Historiography and Research Methods.” In this course, students develop their thesis topics and work on researching them in primary and secondary sources. In the Spring semester, students take History 4997 “Honors Thesis Seminar”. In this course, students complete their research and write, revise, and present their final thesis. Both of these courses are required for program participants and there are no substitutions possible. Completing History 4997 and the honors thesis fulfills the “Capstone” writing requirement for History Majors. History majors need to separately fulfill the “Intermediate” writing requirement for major, typically before they participate in the History Honors Scholar Program.
Students who are double majors (including those in the Secondary Education/Social Studies and History joint degree program), students with minors, transfer students, students studying abroad, and other types of students have all participated in the History Honors Scholar Program in recent years. Interested students in such situations are encouraged to contact the program director as early as possible to discuss how they might fit the thesis program into their academic plans.
The History Honors Scholar Program is a departmental honors program. It is separate from the University Honors program. History majors interested in the History Honors Scholar program are not required to be part of the University Honors program, but they can be and the two programs are complimentary. Every year, the History Honors Scholars program includes some students who are in the University Honors program and some who are not.
Writing an honors thesis is a challenging and rewarding endeavor. Applicants for the History Honors Scholar Program should normally have an overall GPA of 3.4 or higher and a GPA of 3.4 or higher within history courses. Most students who participate in the program do so in their junior (60 or more credits earned) or senior (90 or more credits earned) years.
Admission to the program requires the recommendation of a History faculty member and is at the discretion of the History Department.
For more information or to apply to the History Honors Scholar Program, contact the program director Associate Professor Travis Glasson.
Graduating students in the Honors Program participate in an Honors Symposium in the late spring of their graduating year. At the symposium, students will present a 10-minute-long synopsis of their honors thesis to the community of History majors and faculty. The presentations describe their thesis journey: how they formulated their thesis problem, what kinds of sources they used to investigate their problem and their reflections on their arguments and findings.
Funding and Support
Honors students can apply for financial support to cover research-related activities (such as visits to archives, travel to present scholarly papers etc.) up to $2,000 through the Undergraduate Research Incentive Fund. There are also funds available in the Diamond Research Scholars program.</a> Honors students are also encouraged to submit their completed theses to the Library Prize for Undergraduate Research.
The History Department will host an HONORS box lunch at the opening of each semester to encourage the growth of a vibrant community of undergraduate scholars.
Phi Alpha Theta
Phi Alpha Theta is a national history honors society that is open to both History majors and non-majors who have completed more than 12 credits in History and achieved a History GPA of 3.25 and a cumulative GPA of 3.1. To join Phi Alpha Theta, you don’t need to participate in the History Honors Scholars Program or the University Honors Program. For more information, contact the Phi Alpha Theta advisor, Associate Professor Monica Ricketts.
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