Welcome to History!

Historians treat the past as a foreign place that can unlock the mysteries of the present and the future. We study history for instrumental reasons, to redress the pervasive "history deficit" in political discourse and policy formation. We also study the past for broader, more imaginative purposes: to see and understand that everything in human experience - ideas, emotions, identities, social hierarchies, categories of difference - has a history that is constantly changing. Thinking like a historian will help you understand how attention to change, context, and contingency is critical to understanding the ethical and political dilemmas of the past, present and future. These skills provide a foundation for careers in law, medicine, education, business and public policy, while fostering the grounded imagination that makes activism, innovation and entrepreneurship possible.

Departmental website: https://history.duke.edu


Faculty advisors help students chart their way through the History major. When you declare your major, you should request an advisor whose interests align with your area of concentration. If you don't request an advisor, the DUS will assign someone to you. Students can request a new advisor at any time.

Majors should meet with the advisor at least once a semester and usually must receive clearance from their advisor before they are cleared to register. Most immediately, advising meetings help students choose courses that both fulfill their requirements and coincide with their broader aspirations and learning objectives. More broadly, students should use these meetings to: map out their overall curriculum begin thinking about research courses and projects that will build to the capstone and honors seminars; and discuss how study abroad fits within their overall course of study. The sooner students initiate these conversations with their advisors, the more they will be able to get out of the major. If you have questions, please feel free to contact the Director of Undergraduate Studies. 

Requirements and General Information

Learn more about major and minor requirements, and general information for new majors.