Requirements for the Major in History

The History Department allows students great latitude in creating a course of study that will reflect their interests and career objectives. We encourage students to take the survey courses that will prepare them for upper-division courses that introduce them, but generally speaking, our courses do not have prerequisites, allowing tremendous scheduling freedom. Many history courses taken during a study abroad semester can be used to fulfill these requirements as well, making it easy to complete the major in a relatively short time, even if off campus. 


A History Major requires 4 lower-division courses (12 credit hours) and 8 upper-division courses (24 credit hours). 

Lower division requirements

At the lower-division level, students must complete ONE lower-division survey SERIES (two courses), and TWO other lower-division COURSES (for a total of four courses), all from the following list:

  • HIST 1105: Making History
  • HIST 1110 / 1120: U.S. History I and II
  • HIST 1150 / 1160: Western Civilization I and II
  • HIST 1170 / 1180: Early and Modern Latin America
  • HIST 2110: Survey of New Mexico History
  • HIST 2255 / 2256 Traditional and Modern Eastern Civilizations

All the 1000-level courses fulfil the UNM Gen Ed requirement (but HIST 2110 and 2255/56 do not).


Upper division requirements

At the upper-division level, students must complete EIGHT upper-division courses, which include ALL courses at the 300 or 400 level. There is no distinction in difficulty between 300 and 400 courses. 

As part of the EIGHT-course requirement, all students are required to take BOTH HIST 491 (Historiography) AND HIST 492 (Senior Seminar). 

For a broad, liberal arts background, students are encouraged to take courses across several different geographical or chronological areas of interest.

Students may also choose to develop an area of concentration or select courses that will prepare them for graduate or professional school in a particular field. In consultation with a professor, students may undertake independent study (History 496), which gives them the opportunity to investigate a subject of their own choice, reading and holding discussions on an individual basis with the professor. 

Honors Program 

Excellent students (those with an overall GPA of 3.00 or better) are also encouraged to participate in the History Honors Program, in which a student works closely with a faculty advisor to research and write a senior thesis. History Honors requires four courses (all of which count toward the 8-course requirement for the major): History 491 (Historiography), History 492 (Senior Seminar), History 493 (Reading and Research in Honors), and History 494 (Senior Thesis).

Earn your B.A. and M.A. in 5 years!

The History Department has created a special course of study for ambitious students seeking to earn their B.A and M.A as quickly as possible. Our Shared Credit Program allows outstanding students to take graduate seminars in their senior year that count toward both their undergraduate and graduate degrees. Check out our Shared Credit Program page for more details and application instructions.