Major Requirements

Resources for History Majors

The Program


Seminars are one thing that sets Rider's History Department apart. While most programs offer one seminar experience, our majors have the opportunity to take two or three seminars. Seminars are limited to 15 students and held in the Department's Levine Seminar Room. The cornerstone of the History major is the Seminar in History (HIS 160), which introduces History and Education/History majors to college-level study of history and historical method. Only students who declare History as a major before entering Rider University as freshman are required to take HIS-160: Seminar in History. Students who declare History as a major after matriculation or transfer to Rider from another institution are not required to take HIS-160: Seminar in History. The Craft of History (HIS 260), taken during the junior year, introduces students to the study of the history and methodology of historical interpretation. Offered during fall and spring semesters. The capstone of the History major is History and Historical Method (HIS 460) in which students produce an original research paper. Students may substitute with HIS-490: Independent Study. Offered during fall and spring semesters. HIS-260 is a prerequisite for HIS-460; the seminars may not be taken simultaneously. Both HIS-260 and HIS-460 require permission of instructor (POI) to register. The Department recommends that students contact instructors as soon as possible during the course selection period to reserve a seat.


The required surveys in American and European history provide students with broad subject overviews and the basic tools for studying history. Students must take both of the American history surveys (HIS 180 and HIS 181) and one of the European surveys (HIS 190 or HIS 191). HIS 180 and HIS 181 are offered every semester. HIS 190 or HIS 191 are offered during the fall and spring semesters respectively.


Upper-level courses (HIS 250 and above) provide students with in-depth studies of a wide range of topics. Upper-level courses are elective in order to respond to individual interests. Upper-level courses should be taken after the completion of lower-level courses if possible. A selection of Upper-Level courses are offered every semester.

Historical Diversity

The History Department requires students take at least two courses in historical diversity in order to help them understand how different civilizations, cultures, events, and people have shaped today's world. The History Department has created a list of approved courses that fulfill the Historical Diversity requirement. Topics include geographic areas such as Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa, the Middle East, and East Asia, as well as groups including African-Americans, Native Americans, and women. Students select two courses of their choice from the approved list. See the History Major Checksheet for the current list of approved courses. A selection of Historical Diversity courses are offered every semester.

Requirements for the Major (36–39 semester hours)

HIS-160Seminar in History*
U.S. I: American History from European Settlement through Reconstruction3
HIS-181U.S. II: American History from Reconstruction to the Present

Europe to 1715
Europe since 1715
HIS-260The Craft of History (formerly Seminar in Historiography)3
HIS-460History and Historical Method
 Two from the following diversity courses:
HIS-200Native American History
HIS-201African American History 
HIS-249Women in Europe from Antiquity to the French Revolution 
HIS-280Vietnam in Peace and War 
HIS-281The Modern Middle East 
HIS-282Colonial Latin America 
HIS-283Modern Latin America 
HIS-284Caribbean History 
HIS-286Modern East Asia 
HIS-288African History 
HIS-289History of Modern Japan 
HIS-309Women in American History 
HIS-341China in Revolution
HIS-342Women in East Asia 
HIS-343The Ottoman Empire and the Balkans 

Five history courses above the HIS-250 level


*Required for freshmen only.

History majors are urged to take HIS-491 Internship in History. They are also encouraged to consider minors pertinent to their career aspirations as well as to their interests. Thus, philosophy (emphasis on logic and language) and English (expository writing and close reading) are fine minors for pre-law students; sociology, political science, psychology, economics, and law and justice also are suitable for pre-law, and appropriate for those considering management, politics, or public service.

Declaring a Minor: History majors are urged to declare minors pertinent to their career aspirations as well as to their interests. Law and Justice is suitable for students considering careers in law or criminal justice. Students interested in careers in public history should consider the minors offered by Communication & Journalism, especially Multimedia Communication & Web Design and Public Relations. Students planning a future in international relations, politics and public service should think about a minor in Global Studies, Political Science or Multicultural Studies. A minor in a Foreign Language would be an asset for a variety of career paths as well as an advantage for students applying to graduate programs in History, International Relations and Law. Minors in Philosophy, American Studies and Gender and Sexuality Studies are also good preparation for graduate work in History. Do not forget that the College of Business offers several minors for nonmajors including Information Systems, Sales and General Business. If you have a passion for film, then a minor in Film & Media Studies is designed just for you. The strong historical focus of the Fine Arts minor makes it a perfect complement to the History major.

Honors in History: Students with a 3.25 cumulative grade point average and 3.5 grade point average in history can qualify for honors by completing an honors thesis in HIS-460 History and Historical Method or HIS-490 Independent Research and Study. Students present a written proposal of their project no later than the beginning of the semester in which they take these courses. The finished thesis must be defended in an oral presentation to the history faculty and must meet departmental standards of excellence in research, writing, and analysis. Successful students wear an honors cord at graduation and receive recognition of honors in history on their diplomas.

Disclaimer:  The course information provided above is from the 2013-2014 Academic Catalog and is updated annually as new editions are released.  Prior editions of the catalog are also available online.  The catalog under which the student enters serves as the official record of admission, academic, and graduation requirements.  It is the student’s individual responsibility to be aware of the current graduation requirements for his or her particular degree program.  While the University makes reasonable efforts to keep website material current and correct, this information is subject to the University's academic policy committees, relevant accreditation organizations, and (in some instances) state and federal laws and regulations.