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The History department offers Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science degrees in History, a Master of Arts degree in History, and a Ph.D. in Rural, Agricultural, Technological and Environmental History.  Many history majors also pursue a minor in another discipline, a second major, or secondary teacher certification.

The department offers a variety of survey courses (200 series) for first- and second-year students as either general education courses or as introductions to advanced courses in history or other subject areas. In addition to 200-level survey courses, it offers advanced undergraduate courses in the history of Europe, Asia, Africa, Latin America, the United States, technology and science, agriculture, and other selected topics.

Student Learning Outcomes

Upon graduation, students should be able to:

  1. Display the appropriate level of cognitive knowledge of historical themes and events based upon the student’s course of study
  2. Display an understanding of past cultures and social organizations, based on the course of study
  3. Develop the fundamental methodological skills of the historical craft: the ability to contextualize and analyze primary source evidence; familiarity with the concepts of historical argument and interpretation, and the ability to formulate effective argumentation in written and oral forms; awareness of the basic historiography in selected research area; and the ability to conduct research and to write a historical essay based upon primary and secondary source research.  Students receive an introduction to these concepts in HIST 301 The Historian's Toolbox.
  4. Display a sophisticated understanding of the relationship between past events and the present. For purposes of outcomes assessment, History majors must complete three credits from the following list:  HIST 495 Historiography and Research Writing; if qualified and willing, one graduate-level research seminar; or if qualified and pursuing teacher certification HIST 498 Methods of Teaching History/Social Sciences.

Requirements for the History Major

The B.S. in History requires a minimum 36 total credits of HIST with 2.0 GPA or higher including:

  1. Maximum 12 credits at 200-level HIST or below
  2. Minimum 24 credits 300+ level HIST including:
  3. HIST 301 (minimum grade C)
  4. HIST 495EDUC 498, or HIST graduate-level research seminar (minimum grade C)
  5. Maximum 12 credits 300-level HIST in addition to HIST 301
  6. Minimum 9 credits 400-level HIST in addition to HIST 495EDUC 498 or HIST graduate-level research seminar
  7. Minimum 15 credits 300+ level HIST taken at Iowa State University

Communication Proficiency requirement: History majors must receive a grade of C or better in ENGL 250 (or ENGL 250H), HIST 301 and HIST 495 or HIST 498.

The B.A. in History requires the equivalent of 2 years of college-level study in the same world language. Six credits of electives may be replaced by 6 additional credits of world language.

Students in all ISU majors must complete a three-credit course in U.S. diversity and a three-credit course in international perspectives. Check ( for a list of approved courses. Discuss with your advisor how the two courses that you select can be applied to your graduation plan.

LAS majors require a minimum of 120 credits, including a minimum of 45 credits at the 300/400 level. For a history major, 15 credits of history at the 300/400 level must be taken at ISU. You must also complete the LAS world language and career proficiency requirements (LAS 203 Professional Career Preparation).

As majors in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, History students must meet College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and University-wide requirements for graduation in addition to those stated for the major.

Teacher Preparation Focus

History majors seeking teacher certification in History/Social Sciences Education must meet all of the requirements of the History major while taking the specific History classes required for certification by the State of Iowa. Students must also meet the requirements of the Secondary Major in Education including PSYCH 230 and student teaching (EDUC 417).  Students will complete the requirements below, earning a minimum grade of B- in all content courses used for licensure and a minimum grade of C in all other required courses.

Also, students complete the requirements for one additional fifteen-credit endorsement in Political Science, Psychology, Economics, Anthropology or Sociology.  Specific requirements of each endorsement are available from the history department. Teacher license requirements are established by the Iowa Department of Education and the Iowa Board of Educational Examiners and are subject to change. Recent changes may not be reflected in this catalog, but advisers and faculty will be aware. 

Requirements to complete endorsements in American History and World History.
HIST 201Introduction to Western Civilization I3
HIST 202Introduction to Western Civilization II3
One World History pre-15003
Cultural Heritage of the Ancient World
History of the Islamic World to 1800
Sex, Gender, and Culture in the Ancient Mediterranean World
Roman Italy: An Introduction
Study Abroad: Roman Italy: Building the Empire
Greek Civilization
Roman Civilization
Transformations of the Early Medieval World
The Birth of Europe in the High Middle Ages
Crises of the Late Middle Ages
History of Russia I
One European World post-15003
History of Early Modern Europe, 1450-1789
History of Modern Europe, 1789 to Present
Society and Politics in England, 1525-1700
History and Philosophy of the Scientific Revolution
Technology, Public Science, and European Culture, 1715-Present
World Military History
The Holocaust in History
European Cultural and Intellectual History
History of Modern France
France's Revolutionary Century, 1715-1815
History of Russia II
The Russian and Soviet Mind: Intellectual and Cultural Life, 1762-1991
History of Modern Germany
Crime and Policing in England 1550-1850
Punishment, Mentalities, and Society in England, 1550-1868
"Monstrous London": London's Histories 1500-1800
Modern England
The World at War
One Non-European World post-15003
Africa under Colonial Rule
Africa to 1880
History of the Islamic World to 1800
History of Modern China I
History of Modern China II
US-Asian Relations
History of Latin America I
History of Latin America II
History of the Modern Middle East
History of Modern Mexico and Central America
Rebellions and Revolutions in Latin America
China and the Cold War
Advanced Topics in History: Global
HIST 221Survey of United States History I3
HIST 222Survey of United States History II3
Nine additional credits of U.S. History at the 300 level and above9
American Popular Culture
US-Asian Relations
History of African Americans I
History of African Americans II
American Family History
U. S. Environmental History
American Agriculture I: The Maya to McCormick's Reaper
American Agriculture II: Homestead Act to GMOs
America Eats
History of Iowa
Mexican American History
Latina/o History
History of Women in Science, Technology, and Medicine
History of Women in America
First Ladies in U.S. History
American Military History
American Diplomatic History
Topics in History: U.S. and North America
US Gilded Age, 1877-1900
Colonial America
American Revolutionary Era
Law and Society in U.S. History: Crime, Race, Family, Work and Property
Early American Republic
U.S. Civil War and Reconstruction Era
History of American Sexualities
U.S. 1900 to 1945
U.S. 1945 to the Present
The Great Plains
The American South
The American West
History of Rural America
Civil Rights and Ethnic Power
Birth, Death, Medicine, and Disease
American Stuff, Colonial Times to the Present
The World at War
Advanced Topics in History: U.S. and North America
HIST 301The Historian's Toolbox3
EDUC 426Principles of Secondary Education3
EDUC/HIST 498Methods of Teaching History/Social Sciences3
Total Credits39

Four Year Plans

History, B.S.

ENGL 1503History Choice - 200 Level3
History Choice - 200 Level3Natural Science Choice3
Social Science Choice3Humanities Choice3
Humanities Choice3Math Choice3
Natural Science Choice3Social Science Choice3
 LIB 1601
 15 16
ENGL 2503HIST 3013
History Choice - 200-300 Level3History Choice - 200/300 Level3
World Language/Elective3-4World Language/Elective4
Humanities Choice3Natural Science Choice2
Social Science Choice3Elective3
LAS 2031 
 16-17 15
History Choice - 300/400 Level3History Choice - 300/400 Level3
History Choice - 300/400 Level3History Choice - 400 Level3
 15 14
History Choice - 400 Level3HIST 4953
History Choice - 400 Level3Elective11
 15 14
Total Credits: 120-121

History, B.A.

ENGL 1503History Choice - 200 Level 3
History Choice - 200 Level 3Math Choice3
Humanities Choice3Humanities Choice3
Natural Science Choice3Natural Science Choice3
Social Science Choice3Social Science Choice3
 LIB 1601
 15 16
ENGL 2503HIST 3013
History Choice - 200/300 Level 3History Choice - 200/300 Level3
Elementary World Language - 100 Level14Social Science Choice3
Humanities Choice3Elementary World Language - 100 Level14
Elective 1Natural Science Choice2
LAS 2031 
 15 15
History Choice - 300/400 Level3History Choice - 300/400 Level3
History Choice - 300/400 Level3History Choice - 400 Level3
Interemediate World Language - 200 Level4Intermediate World Language - 200 Level4
 15 14
History Choice - 400 Level3HIST 4953
History Choice - 400 Level3Electives12
 15 15
Total Credits: 120

The BA in History requires the equivalent of 2 years of college-level study in the same world language. Six credits of electives may be replaced by 6 additional credits of world language.


The department offers a minor in History, which may be earned with 15 credits in History courses, of which at least 9 must be in courses numbered 300 or above, excluding HIST 490 Independent Study. A minimum of 9 credits numbered 300 or above must be taken at Iowa State. The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences requires students to earn a C or higher in at least 6 of the required 300-level credits. The minor must include at least 9 credits that are not used to meet any other department, college, or university requirement. A student may count a maximum of 3 hours of cross-listed courses originating in another teaching department toward the minor in History. The History minor is most frequently chosen by students majoring in Political Science, English, Journalism, Computer Science, and Business.

Graduate Study

The History Department offers two graduate degrees:  an M.A. in History and a Ph.D. in Rural, Agricultural, Technological and Environmental History. 

Most history graduate courses are either readings seminars or research seminars. Readings seminars acquaint students with the historical literature of a field and prepare them for careers in teaching and research. Research seminars require students to conduct original historical research and to write research papers reporting the results.

The M.A. in history includes both thesis and non-thesis options.  See the departmental website on the M.A. in History for a full discussion of the options and requirements. An M.A. in History serves as the basis for continued study in history, as well as preparation for careers in law, education, business, and government service. Throughout world history human beings have depended on rural and agricultural communities as well as on the technologies developed and employed by these communities to sustain lives.  Iowa State's Doctoral Program in Rural, Agricultural, Technological and Environmental History offers a scholarly community and learning environment dedicated to the close examination of pervasive and enduring questions about these basic aspects of human history.  Such questions can best be answered through the multi-faceted perspectives provided by rural, agricultural, technological, and environmental history. The result is a dynamic learning experience that leads to comparative and transnational analysis shaped by a broad range of methods drawn from the humanities and social/physical sciences. The Program's aim is to produce students who are excellent researchers and engaging teachers, capable of succeeding in a broad variety of professional positions, both inside and outside of academia.

The Ph.D. in Rural, Agricultural, Technological and Environmental History is designed for students who have completed an M.A. in history.  Those who have not yet completed an M.A. will be expected to complete the degree while progressing toward the Ph.D.  Thirty semester hours of graduate credit are required for the M.A. and 72 for the Ph.D. Students who continue beyond the M.A. are expected to pass preliminary examinations in four areas of specialization, complete a dissertation, and defend it orally in the Ph.D. final examination. See the departmental website on the program for a full description of requirements.