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Additional Information on the History Option

Freshman history courses cover the histories of the United States, Europe, the Middle East, and China from the dawn of human civilization to the present. Advanced history classes include more specific historical surveys (such as British History) and seminars that align with the faculty's research interests (such as Histories of Collecting, The World of Charlemagne, and The Supreme Court in U.S. History). Many advanced courses reflect the faculty's interest in studying the past with the tools of the social sciences (for example, Population and Family History). Others highlight Caltech's strong engagement with the history of science.

Students have an unparalleled opportunity to work in small groups with high-profile research historians. Classes generally contain fewer than 20 students and often fewer than 10, allowing students and professors to study in an environment akin to a graduate research seminar.

History majors must take at least 99 units of history courses (including freshman humanities) during their four years as undergraduates. Of these, 27 must be in the senior tutorial (H 99 abc). All courses counted toward the history option must be taken for grades except for a freshman humanities course in history when taken in the first two quarters of the freshman year.

A student considering the history option will be well advised to take one Hum/H course numbered 50 or below. During the sophomore year, the student should take upper-level history courses, but this is also a good time to study English or philosophy, to begin or continue a foreign language, and to do introductory work in the social sciences. A student will normally commit to an area of concentration early during junior year. At the beginning of senior year, a history major will enroll in H 99 abc with a faculty member in his or her area of concentration. The first term of this course will be devoted to preparation, the second to research, and the third to writing a substantial research paper.

NOTE: The official source on requirements for graduation is the Caltech catalog from the year in which a student began studies at Caltech. Please see the catalog online, from this and previous years, for more information regarding the applicable option and minor requirements.