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History Department Undergraduate Program

The History Department’s Undergraduate program offers a major, an honors program with a slightly different set of major requirements, and a minor. Our courses are divided into geographic, thematic, and pre-professional fields of emphasis to allow students to easily pursue a breadth and depth of study tailored to his/her interests and career goals. History majors and minors are encouraged to Study Abroad. Our professors regularly offer Global Seminars over the summer that fulfill history department and college GE requirements. UC San Diego also has a chapter of Phi Alpha Theta, a National History Honors Society, which is a student organization. 

Sailing the San Salvador - UC San Diego

On May 13, 2017, Dr. Mark Hanna, Associate Professor of History, and Associate Director of the Institute of Arts and Humanities takes his colloquium "A History of Seafaring in the Age of Sail" (HITO 178/278) out to sea on the San Salvador. This is a replica of the first ship to sail into San Diego harbor in 1542 captained by Juan Cabrillo. Today it is captained by the director of the Maritime Museum, Dr. Ray Ashley, an alumnus from UC San Diego.

What Do History Majors Learn?

Students pursuing a history major learn a combination of basic historical knowledge, critical skills, research skills, and powers of expression.

Basic Historical Knowledge

Our students must master a narrative of basic events and developments over time in the field of emphasis. They have to compare and contrast political, social, and cultural formations in at least two places or fields of inquiry in the past. We also require that they understand at least one pre-modern (pre-1800) political, social, and cultural formation.

Critical Skills

History courses are designed to teach students to identify - through the acquisition of a historical perspective - personal, class and cultural values that shape decisions in public, professional, and private lives. Our students become skilled at raising questions about narratives presented in tertiary sources, such as textbooks, popular history books, and the mass media. These skills allow them to apply interpretive and critical skills in all settings, including the workplace.

Research Skills

Our majors have good training in research skills. They learn to read primary sources intelligently, to assess and place them and generate productive questions. They are required to find reference materials to answer basic questions about primary sources, and to check facts in tertiary sources. After formulating questions raised by primary and tertiary sources, they learn to propose informed and thoughtful answers to them by carrying out research in primary and secondary sources as well as reference materials.

Powers of Expression

UC San Diego history majors are given extensive opportunities to develop their powers of expression. They are asked to write both short and sustained interpretive essays and research papers in clear and correct English that are well organized; to use primary, secondary, and tertiary sources to construct an argument; to follow proper citation practices, and to express original thoughts about the material. They are also required to articulate questions, present arguments and marshal evidence in small group discussion settings.

WASC Inventory of Educational Effectiveness Indicators [PDF]

Undergraduate Contact

Below is a list of people and their roles and responsibilities for supporting undergraduate students within the History Department. 

Undergraduate Advisor

Robert Lopez
Phone: (858) 534-8940
Office: Ridge Walk Academic Complex, A&H Building, 0856

Monday - Friday 7:00am - 3:30pm
Wednesday 7:00am - 3:30pm

Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday 8:30am - 11:30am (In-person)
Wednesday 8:30am - 11:30am & 12:30pm - 3:30pm (Remote via Zoom)

Available by appointment please use the link below to sign up for a virtual zoom Make an Appointment

  • All processes & paperwork start here
  • Petitions 
  • Department Stamp
  • Major/Minor Questions
  • Special Studies Enrollment
  • Scheduling
  • Study Abroad Process