View the "Why History?" Video
The History Department offers forty different undergraduate courses each year. A combination of lecture classes and limited-enrollment seminars, History courses cover two thousand years of human experience in Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Americas. The faculty approach these areas from a variety of disciplinary perspectives: cultural, economic, environmental, ethnic, gender, intellectual, labor, political, social, and urban history. The History faculty is committed to undergraduate teaching; History exceeds all other Princeton departments in the number of its faculty who have received Princeton's President's Award for Distinguished Teaching.
The History Department has structured its undergraduate concentration both to encourage breadth of knowledge and to allow concentrators to focus their studies on what most interests them. Concentrators must take at least one course in each of four areas: American, European, Non-Western, and Pre-Modern history. By the senior year, undergraduates in the History Department will have selected a field of concentration. Fields of concentration include Africa; Ancient Greece and Rome; East Asia; Europe; Gender and Sexuality Studies; Latin America; Middle Ages; Russia; United Kingdom; United States; Science and Technology; and War, Revolution, and the State.
Central to the undergraduate concentration are the two junior papers and the senior thesis. All newly-declared History concentrators are enrolled in a research seminar in the fall of their junior year that offers an introduction to the skills of historical research and writing. In stages, concentrators advance toward the writing of the 75-page senior thesis based on original historical research. The History Department, through the Davis Center, offers financial support, on a competitive basis, to seniors who travel to conduct archival research. In past years, the Department has supported travel to Germany, England, and South Africa. Thesis titles in recent years include "'Whether Christian, Moor, or Jew': Social Integration in Medieval Cuenca"; "Representations of the Dead in English Sculpture, 1427-1664"; "Maryland and the Secession Crisis, 1860- 61"; "Women's Participation in the Mexican Revolution," "De Gaulle and the French Empire, 1940-1944"; "The Detroit Race Riot of 1943"; and "A History of the Unix Operating System."