A Brief Guide to History Courses 

Do you want to take a history course but don’t know exactly where to begin?  The history department offers a number of different options for all Brown undergraduate students, whether they are interested in exploring beyond their usual comfort zone or are potential concentrators.  This page provides you with a brief guide to some of the history department’s course offerings for the 2017-18 academic year. 

For more detailed information about each course offered this term, see Courses. 

For a list of course descriptions for the current term, please see this page.



HISTORY 0150s are thematic courses on topics that cut across time and space and are open to all Brown undergraduates.  They introduce students to methods of historical analysis, interpretation, and argument.  

Fall 2017

Spring 2018

HIST 0150A  History of Capitalism  

HIST 0150H  Food and Drugs in History   

HIST 0150F  Pirates   

HIST 0150G  History of Law: Great Trials  



History Department first-year seminars (FYS) and sophomore seminars (SYS) (restricted to first-years and sophomores) provide freshmen and sophomores an introduction to a topic and to historical methods in a small class setting.  

First-Year Seminars

Fall 2017

Spring 2018

HIST 0522O  The Enlightenment

HIST 0523B   State Surveillance in History

HIST 0555B   Robber Barons

HIST 0556A  Sport in American History

HIST 0557C  Narratives of Slavery 

HIST 0580M  The Age of Revolutions, 1760-1824

HIST 0556A   Sport in American History



Sophomore Seminars

Fall 2017

Spring 2018

HIST 0654A   Welfare States and a History of Modern Life

HIST 0690A Empire and Everyday Life in Colonial Latin America

HIST 0690B  Women’s Work: Gender and Capitalism in American History




History lecture courses address topics of broad interest chronologically, geographically and thematically defined. These courses are designed for History concentrators and non-concentrators alike.  Our courses over 1000 are organized geographically as follows:

  • 1000-1099 courses on Africa
  • 1100-1199 courses on East Asia
  • 1200-1299 courses on Europe
  • 1300-1399 courses on Latin America
  • 1400-1499 courses on Middle East
  • 1500-1599 courses on North America
  • 1600-1699 courses on South Asia
  • 1700-1799 Global courses
  • 1800-1899 Thematic courses



Courses numbered from 1960A to 1979Z are capstone seminars that provide students with an opportunity to delve deeply into a historical problem and to write a major research and/or analytical paper. These seminars are designed to serve as an intellectual culmination of the concentration.   First-Year students are not advised to take these courses and only rarely are sophomores allowed to enroll.



Honors courses are a three-part series. They are all offered each semester annually.  

HIST 1992

History Honors Workshop for Prospective Thesis Writers 

Recommended for all those thinking about researching and writing a senior thesis. Must have an A- average in history courses to be considered for the History Honors Program. Completion of a thesis prospectus that receives an A or A- is admitted into the History Honors Program. 

HIST 1993

History Honors Workshop for Thesis Writers

Limited to seniors and juniors who have been admitted to the History Honors Program. First semester of writing the honors thesis.

HIST 1994

History Honors Workshop for Thesis Writers

Limited to seniors and juniors who have been admitted to the History Honors Program. Second semester of writing the honors thesis. 

Read more information about the Honors program.

Download a complete outline of the new numbering system.