History is the study of how societies and cultures across the world change over time. History concentrators learn to write and think critically, and to understand issues from a variety of perspectives. The department offers a wide variety of courses concerned with changes in human experience through time, ranging from classical Greek and Roman civilizations to the histories of Europe, the Americas, and Asia.  While some courses explore special topics, others concentrate on the history of a particular country (e.g. Russia or France) or period of time (e.g. the Middle Ages or the Renaissance). By taking advantage of our diverse course offerings, students can engage in and develop broad perspectives on the past and the present.

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Student Goals

Students in this concentration will:

  • Approach the study of the past from a multicultural perspective
  • Understand the nature of evidence and its relation to different historical methodologies
  • Develop expertise in at least one chronological and geographical field of study
  • Hone their writing abilities
  • Produce a body of original, historical research


Click here for a list of the History concentration requirements.

Honors and Capstones

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Capstone seminars (numbered in the 1960-1979 series) are designed to serve as an intellectual culmination of the concentration, providing an opportunity to delve deeply into a historical problem and to write a major research and/or analytical paper  All students must complete the capstone. Qualifying students who wish to write a thesis may apply for the Honors program. Honors students must have achieved two-thirds “quality grades” (grades of “A” or “S with Distinction”) in History department courses. Honors is normally a three-semester process.  HIST 1992 is optional and HIST 1993 and HIST 1994 are required.  Students going abroad during their 6th semester should take HIST 1992 in semester 5, to prepare them for research in foreign archives.  Seniors may complete their theses in either semester 7 or semester 8. Students who are considering applying for Honors are encouraged to meet with the History Department Director of Undergraduate Studies (DUS). Please consult the department’s website for a complete description of admission procedures and requirements.

Liberal Learning

This concentration allows you to address the following Liberal Learning goals:

  • Expand your reading skills
  • Understand differences among cultures
  • Embrace diversity
  • Engage with your community
  • Learn what it means to study the past
  • Evaluate human behavior
  • Work on your speaking and writing

Download the full statement on Liberal Learning at Brown

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Affiliated Departments


Director of Undergraduate Studies

Graduating Class

Year Total Capstone Honors
201362 62 14 
201481 81 13 
201584 84 11 
201664 64 13 
201770 70 15 

Alumni Pathways

Alumni with degrees in history have pursued a wide range of careers in medicine, business, law, management consulting, communications and media, and the foreign service. They now work for firms including Amazon.com, Google, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the National Archives, Dow Jones and Company, DreamWorks, Kaiser Permanente, Cisco Systems, Polo/Ralph Lauren Corporation, Department of the Treasury, and Algonquin Books.

See more details on the CareerLAB website.

Dept. Undergraduate Group

Student Leaders:

  • Sydney Menzin

If you are an advisor and would like to make changes to the information on this page, contact focal_point@brown.edu, or email Dean Besenia Rodriguez.