Within the History Department’s curriculum, one can study the history of a wide range of peoples, cultures, and institutions. Department members offer courses in the history of the United States, Europe, Russia, South and East Asia, Latin America, and the Caribbean. History classes examine these areas from a variety of broad historical perspectives, including political, social, cultural, intellectual, and economic. We also encourage students to explore history through a number of distinctive specializations such as women’s history, labor history, environmental history, and the history of various groups including Jewish, Latino/Latina, and Asian American communities, among others. The most common entry into the history curriculum is through 100-level courses, either surveys, which cover a broad time span and geographical range, or first-year seminars or colloquia for first- and second-year students, which explore particular historical problems or approaches in a small-class setting. In all fields, 200-level courses are largely topical, dealing with a more limited geography (one region or nation), time period, or historical problem. At the 300- and 400-levels, students can pursue advanced topics in small class settings, either colloquia or research seminars which provide focused training in historical research and writing. Many students arrange private readings with faculty members on topics of mutual interest. Some majors complete their work in the department in the year-long Honors (500-level) Program.
Students with a grade of 4 or 5 on the U.S. History AP examination will be awarded four hours of credit. Students with a grade of 4 or 5 on the European AP history examination will be awarded three hours of credit, and students with a grade of 4 or 5 on the World History AP examination will be awarded three hours of credit. Students who have received AP credits are still encouraged to begin their history courses with the appropriate introductory level (100) courses as these are valuable gateways to subject matter and historical methodologies and approaches not often covered in high school courses. Students wishing to transfer IB or other credits originating from high school courses should consult the Chair of the department. AP credit is granted only during the first year that a student enrolls at Oberlin College. (Please also see “Major.”)