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 2018

Spring 2019

HIST 0150A  History of Capitalism

HIST 0150C  Locked Up: A Global History of Prison and Captivity

HIST 0150H  Food and Drugs in History

HIST 0150D  Refugees: A 20th C 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 2018

Spring 2019

HIST 0523B  State Surveillance in History

HIST 0535B  Conquests

HIST 0556B  Inequality and American Capitalism in the 20th Century

HIST 0537A  Popular Culture in Latin America & Caribbean

HIST 0576A  The Arctic: Global History from Dog Sled to Oil Rig




Sophomore Seminars

Fall 2018

Spring 2019

HIST 0637B  Fractious Friendships: The US & Latin America in the 20th C

HIST 0654B  American Patriotism in Black and White

HIST 0655A  Culture Wars in American Schools

HIST 0658D  Walden+Woodstock: American Lives of Emerson & Dylan

HIST 0654A  Welfare States and a History of Modern Life

HIST 0675A  The Chinese Diaspora: A History of Globalization



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.