history-of-science

Admissions to the History and History of Science, Medicine, and Technology B.S. have been suspended as of fall 2017. If you have any questions, please contact the department.

To study history is to study change: historians are experts in examining and interpreting human identities and transformations of societies and civilizations over time. They use a range of methods and analytical tools to answer questions about the past and to reconstruct the diversity of human experience: how profoundly people have differed in their ideas, institutions, and cultural practices; how widely their experiences have varied by time and place, and the ways they have struggled while inhabiting a shared world. Historians use a wide range of sources to weave individual lives and collective actions into narratives that bring critical perspectives on both our past and our present. Studying history helps us understand and grapple with complex questions and dilemmas by examining how the past has shaped (and continues to shape) global, national, and local relationships between societies and people.

Admissions to the History and History of Science, Medicine, and Technology B.S. have been suspended as of fall 2017. If you have any questions, please contact the department.

University General Education Requirements

All undergraduate students at the University of Wisconsin–Madison are required to fulfill a minimum set of common university general education requirements to ensure that every graduate acquires the essential core of an undergraduate education. This core establishes a foundation for living a productive life, being a citizen of the world, appreciating aesthetic values, and engaging in lifelong learning in a continually changing world. Various schools and colleges will have requirements in addition to the requirements listed below. Consult your advisor for assistance, as needed. For additional information, see the university Undergraduate General Education Requirements section of the Guide.

General Education
  • Breadth—Humanities/Literature/Arts: 6 credits
  • Breadth—Natural Science: 4 to 6 credits, consisting of one 4- or 5-credit course with a laboratory component; or two courses providing a total of 6 credits
  • Breadth—Social Studies: 3 credits
  • Communication Part A & Part B *
  • Ethnic Studies *
  • Quantitative Reasoning Part A & Part B *

* The mortarboard symbol appears before the title of any course that fulfills one of the Communication Part A or Part B, Ethnic Studies, or Quantitative Reasoning Part A or Part B requirements.

College of Letters & Science Breadth and Degree Requirements: Bachelor of Science (B.S.)

Students pursuing a bachelor of science degree in the College of Letters & Science must complete all of the requirements below. The College of Letters & Science allows this major to be paired with either a bachelor of arts or a bachelor of science curriculum. View a comparison of the degree requirements here.

Bachelor of Science DEGREE REQUIREMENTS

Mathematics Two (2) 3+ credits of intermediate/advanced level MATH, COMP SCI, STAT
Limit one each: COMP SCI, STAT
Foreign Language Complete the third unit of a foreign language
Note: A unit is one year of high school work or one semester/term of college work.
L&S Breadth
  • Humanities, 12 credits: 6 of the 12 credits must be in literature
  • Social Sciences, 12 credits
  • Natural Sciences, 12 credits: must include 6 credits in biological science; and must include 6 credits in physical science
Liberal Arts and Science Coursework 108 credits
Depth of Intermediate/Advanced work 60 intermediate or advanced credits
Major Declare and complete at least one (1) major
Total Credits 120 credits
UW-Madison Experience 30 credits in residence, overall
30 credits in residence after the 90th credit
Minimum GPAs 2.000 in all coursework at UW–Madison
2.000 in intermediate/advanced coursework at UW–Madison

Non–L&S Students PURSUING AN L&S MAJOR

Non–L&S students who have permission from their school/college to pursue an additional major within L&S only need to fulfill the major requirements and do not need to complete the L&S breadth and degree requirements above.  Please note that the following special degree programs are not considered majors so are not available to non-L&S-degree-seeking candidates:  

  • Applied Mathematics, Engineering and Physics (Bachelor of Science–Applied Mathematics, Engineering and Physics)
  • Journalism (Bachelor of Arts–Journalism; Bachelor of Science–Journalism)
  • Music (Bachelor of Music)
  • Social Work (Bachelor of Social Work)

Requirements for the Major

A minimum of 30 credits in history and in history of science, medicine, and technology distributed as follows:

  • At least four courses in HISTORY. Students are urged to take HISTORY 201 The Historian's Craft as one of these courses.
    • At least one of these courses must be in U.S. history.
    • At least one must be in European history.
    • At least one must be from one of the following Breadth categories: Africa, Central or East Asia, South or Southeast Asia, Latin America, Middle East, Transnational.
    • Though some courses may qualify in more than one Geographic Breadth area, a course may satisfy only one category for purposes of meeting the breadth requirement. Some topics courses in history may qualify for Geographic Breadth.
  • At least four courses in HIST SCI. Students are urged to take one or more of these from the 300–599 series.
  • At least 15 credits of upper-level coursework (courses that are Intermediate or Advanced count as upper-level) of which at least 6 credits must be in HISTORY and at least 6 credits must be in HIST SCI.
  • At least one seminar course chosen from HISTORY 600 Advanced Seminar in History or HIST SCI 555 Undergraduate Seminar in History of Science.
  • Knowledge of a science is recommended but not required for the joint major.

Course Lists

U.S. History

HISTORY 101 Amer Hist to the Civil War Era, the Origin & Growth of the U S4
HISTORY 102 American History, Civil War Era to the Present4
HISTORY/​ENVIR ST/​HIST SCI  125 Green Screen: Environmental Perspectives through Film3
HISTORY 136 Sport, Recreation, & Society in the United States3-4
HISTORY 150 American Histories: The Nineteenth Century4
HISTORY/​ASIAN AM  160 Asian American History: Movement and Dislocation3-4
HISTORY/​ASIAN AM  161 Asian American History: Settlement and National Belonging3-4
HISTORY/​RELIG ST  212 The History of Western Christianity to 17504
HISTORY/​JEWISH  213 Jews and American Pop. Culture3-4
HISTORY/​JEWISH  219 The American Jewish Experience: From Shtetl to Suburb4
HISTORY 221 Explorations in American History (H)3-4
HISTORY/​LEGAL ST  261 American Legal History to 18603-4
HISTORY/​LEGAL ST  262 American Legal History, 1860 to the Present3-4
HISTORY 272 History Study Abroad: United States History1-4
HISTORY 302 History of American Thought, 1859 to the Present3-4
HISTORY 304 United States, 1877-19143-4
HISTORY 305 United States 1914-19453-4
HISTORY 306 The United States Since 19453-4
HISTORY/​AFROAMER  321 Afro-American History Since 19003-4
HISTORY/​AFROAMER  322 Afro-American History to 19003-4
HISTORY 329 History of American Capitalism4
HISTORY 343 Colonial British North America3-4
HISTORY 344 The Age of the American Revolution, 1763-17893-4
HISTORY/​GEN&WS  353 Women and Gender in the U.S. to 18703-4
HISTORY/​GEN&WS  354 Women and Gender in the U.S. Since 18703-4
HISTORY/​CHICLA/​LACIS/​POLI SCI  355 Labor in the Americas: US & Mexico in Comparative & Historical Perspective3
HISTORY/​AFROAMER  393 Slavery, Civil War, and Reconstruction, 1848-18773-4
HISTORY/​HIST SCI/​MED HIST  394 Science in America3
HISTORY 403 Immigration and Assimilation in American History3-4
HISTORY 408 American Labor History: 1900-Present3-4
HISTORY/​ED POL  412 History of American Education3
HISTORY/​JEWISH  416 Eastern European Jews in the United States, 1880s-1930s3-4
HISTORY/​CHICLA/​POLI SCI  422 Latino History and Politics3
HISTORY 427 The American Military Experience to 19023-4
HISTORY 428 The American Military Experience Since 18993-4
HISTORY 434 American Foreign Relations, 1901 to the Present3-4
HISTORY/​ENVIR ST/​GEOG  460 American Environmental History4
HISTORY/​CHICLA  461 The American West to18503-4
HISTORY 462 3-4
HISTORY 465 Global Environmental History,The American Economy to 18653-4
HISTORY/​ECON  466 The American Economy Since 18653-4
HISTORY/​CHICLA  468 Popular Culture in the Multi-racial United States3-4
HISTORY/​ENVIR ST/​GEOG  469 The Making of the American Landscape4
HISTORY/​AMER IND  490 American Indian History3-4
HISTORY/​HIST SCI/​MED HIST  504 Society and Health Care in American History3
HISTORY/​JOURN  560 History of Mass Communication4
HISTORY/​L I S  569 History of American Librarianship3
HISTORY 607 The American Impact Abroad: The Historical Dimension3
HISTORY/​AFROAMER  628 History of the Civil Rights Movement in the United States3
HISTORY 201 The Historian's Craft (Wisconsin)3-4
HISTORY 200 Historical Studies (American Families)1-4

European History

HISTORY/​CLASSICS  110 The Ancient Mediterranean4
HISTORY 111 Culture & Society in the Ancient Mediterranean3-4
HISTORY/​MEDIEVAL/​RELIG ST  112 The World of Late Antiquity (200-900 C.E.)4
HISTORY 115 Medieval Europe 410-15004
HISTORY 119 The Making of Modern Europe 1500-18154
HISTORY 120 Europe and the Modern World 1815 to the Present4
HISTORY 123 English History: England to 16883-4
HISTORY 124 British History: 1688 to the Present4
HISTORY/​RELIG ST  208 Western Intellectual and Religious History to 15003-4
HISTORY/​MEDIEVAL  215 Life in the Middle Ages: An Inter-Departmental Course3-4
HISTORY 223 Explorations in European History (H)3-4
HISTORY 224 Explorations in European History (S)3
HISTORY/​GEOG/​POLI SCI/​SLAVIC  253 Russia: An Interdisciplinary Survey4
HISTORY/​GEOG/​POLI SCI/​SLAVIC  254 Eastern Europe: An Interdisciplinary Survey4
HISTORY 303 A History of Greek Civilization3-4
HISTORY 304 United States, 1877-19143-4
HISTORY 305 United States 1914-19453-4
HISTORY 307 A History of Rome3-4
HISTORY/​E ASIAN/​LCA/​RELIG ST  308 Introduction to Buddhism3-4
HISTORY/​MEDIEVAL/​RELIG ST  309 The Crusades: Christianity and Islam3-4
HISTORY/​MEDIEVAL/​RELIG ST  312 The Medieval Church3-4
HISTORY/​MEDIEVAL  313 Introduction to Byzantine History and Civilization3-4
HISTORY/​MEDIEVAL  314 Problems in Byzantine History and Civilization3-4
HISTORY/​MEDIEVAL/​RELIG ST  318 Medieval Social and Intellectual History, 1200-14503-4
HISTORY 320 Early Modern France, 1500-17153-4
HISTORY/​AFROAMER  321 Afro-American History Since 19003-4
HISTORY/​HIST SCI  323 The Scientific Revolution: From Copernicus to Newton3
HISTORY/​HIST SCI  324 Science in the Enlightenment3
HISTORY 333 The Renaissance3-4
HISTORY/​RELIG ST  334 The Reformation3-4
HISTORY 335 Korean History, 1945 to present3-4
HISTORY 340 Cultural History of Korea3-4
HISTORY 348 France from Napoleon to the Great War, 1799-19143-4
HISTORY 349 Contemporary France, 1914 to the Present3-4
HISTORY 350 The First World War and the Shaping of Twentieth-Century Europe3-4
HISTORY 351 Seventeenth-Century Europe3-4
HISTORY 352 Eighteenth Century Europe3-4
HISTORY 357 The Second World War3-4
HISTORY 358 French Revolution and Napoleon3-4
HISTORY 359 History of Europe Since 19453-4
HISTORY 361 The Emergence of Mod Britain: England 1485-16603-4
HISTORY/​E A STDS  363 China and World War II in Asia3-4
HISTORY 367 Society and Ideas in Shakespeare's England3-4
HISTORY/​JEWISH/​MEDIEVAL/​RELIG ST  368 The Bible in the Middle Ages3
HISTORY/​ENVIR ST  369 Thinking through History with Animals3-4
HISTORY/​JEWISH  374 Modern Political History of the Jews: Era of Mass Movements, 1870-19704
HISTORY 410 History of Germany, 1871 to the Present3-4
HISTORY/​RELIG ST  411 The Enlightenment and Its Critics3
HISTORY 417 History of Russia3-4
HISTORY 418 History of Russia3-4
HISTORY 419 History of Soviet Russia3-4
HISTORY 420 Russian Social and Intellectual History3-4
HISTORY/​CHICLA/​POLI SCI  422 Latino History and Politics3
HISTORY 424 The Soviet Union and the World, 1917-19913-4
HISTORY 425 History of Poland and the Baltic Area3-4
HISTORY/​LEGAL ST  426 The History of Punishment3-4
HISTORY 427 The American Military Experience to 19023-4
HISTORY 428 The American Military Experience Since 18993-4
HISTORY/​ENVIR ST/​LEGAL ST  430 Law and Environment: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives3
HISTORY/​SCAND ST  431 History of Scandinavia to 18153
HISTORY/​SCAND ST  432 History of Scandinavia Since 18153
HISTORY/​RELIG ST  437 Western Christianity from Augustine to Darwin4
HISTORY 467 Economic and Social History of Europe 1500-17503-4
HISTORY/​ENVIR ST/​GEOG  469 The Making of the American Landscape4
HISTORY/​RELIG ST  470 Religious Thought in Modern Europe3-4
HISTORY 474 European Social History, 1830-19143-4
HISTORY 475 European Social History, 1914-Present3-4
HISTORY/​LEGAL ST  477 History of Forensic Science3
HISTORY/​ED POL  478 Comparative History of Childhood and Adolescence3
HISTORY/​HIST SCI/​MED HIST  507 Health, Disease and Healing I3-4
HISTORY/​HIST SCI/​MED HIST  508 Health, Disease and Healing II3-4
HISTORY 514 European Cultural History Since 18703-4
HISTORY/​CURRIC/​JEWISH  515 Holocaust: History, Memory and Education3
HISTORY/​CLASSICS/​RELIG ST  517 Religions of the Ancient Mediterranean3
HISTORY/​JEWISH  518 Anti-Semitism in European Culture, 1700-19453
HISTORY 525 The World and the West from 14923-4
HISTORY/​JEWISH/​RELIG ST  529 Intellectual and Religious History of European Jewry, 1648-19394
HISTORY 540 Balkans and Middle East, 1700-1918: The Rise of National States3-4
HISTORY/​CLASSICS/​FRENCH/​ITALIAN/​MEDIEVAL  550 Advanced Interdisciplinary Studies in Medieval Civilization3
HISTORY/​CLASSICS/​HIST SCI/​MED HIST/​S&A PHM  561 Greek and Roman Medicine and Pharmacy3
HISTORY/​HIST SCI/​MED HIST/​MEDIEVAL/​S&A PHM  562 Byzantine Medicine and Pharmacy3
HISTORY/​SCAND ST  577 Contemporary Scandinavia: Politics and History3-4

Geographic Breadth Courses

HISTORY/​E A STDS  103 Introduction to East Asian History: China3-4
HISTORY/​E A STDS  104 Introduction to East Asian History: Japan3-4
HISTORY 105 Introduction to the History of Africa3-4
HISTORY/​ASIAN  108 Introduction to East Asian History - Korea3-4
HISTORY 139 The Middle East in the 20th Century3-4
HISTORY 142 History of South Asia to the Present3-4
HISTORY/​RELIG ST  205 The Making of the Islamic World: The Middle East, 500-15003-4
HISTORY 225 Explorations in Third World History (H)3-4
HISTORY 241 Latin America from 1780 to 19404
HISTORY/​GEOG/​LCA/​POLI SCI/​SOC  244 Introduction to Southeast Asia: Vietnam to the Philippines4
HISTORY 242 Modern Latin America, 1898 to the Present4
HISTORY/​ASIAN AM/​LCA  246 Southeast Asian Refugees of the "Cold" War4
HISTORY 252 4
HISTORY/​AFROAMER/​ANTHRO/​C&E SOC/​GEOG/​LACIS/​POLI SCI/​SOC/​SPANISH  260 Latin America: An Introduction3-4
HISTORY/​GNS  265 An Introduction to Central Asia: From the Silk Route to Afghanistan3
HISTORY/​AFRICAN/​AFROAMER/​ANTHRO/​GEOG/​POLI SCI/​SOC  277 Africa: An Introductory Survey4
HISTORY 278 Africans in the Americas, 1492-18083-4
HISTORY 279 Afro-Atlantic History, 1808-Present3-4
HISTORY/​AFRICAN/​AFROAMER/​POLI SCI  297 African and African-American Linkages: An Introduction4
HISTORY/​MEDIEVAL/​RELIG ST  309 The Crusades: Christianity and Islam3-4
HISTORY 319 The Vietnam Wars3-4
HISTORY 336 Chinese Economic and Business History: From Silk to iPhones3-4
HISTORY/​E A STDS  337 Social and Intellectual History of China, 589 AD-19193-4
HISTORY/​E A STDS  341 History of Modern China, 1800-19493-4
HISTORY/​E A STDS  342 History of the Peoples Republic of China, 1949 to the Present3-4
HISTORY/​AFROAMER  347 The Caribbean and its Diasporas3
HISTORY 335 Korean History, 1945 to present3-4
HISTORY 377 History of Africa, 1500 to 18703-4
HISTORY 378 History of Africa Since 18703-4
HISTORY/​RELIG ST  379 Islam in Iran3
HISTORY/​CHICLA/​POLI SCI  422 Latino History and Politics3
HISTORY/​LCA/​RELIG ST  438 Buddhism and Society in Southeast Asian History3-4
HISTORY/​RELIG ST  439 Islamic History From the Origin of Islam to the Ottoman Empire3-4
HISTORY 441 Revolution and Conflict in Modern Latin America3-4
HISTORY 444 History of East Africa3-4
HISTORY 445 History of Equatorial Africa3-4
HISTORY/​E A STDS  454 Samurai: History and Image3-4
HISTORY/​E A STDS  456 Pearl Harbor & Hiroshima: Japan, the US & The Crisis in Asia3-4
HISTORY 457 History of Southeast Asia to 18003-4
HISTORY 540 Balkans and Middle East, 1700-1918: The Rise of National States3-4
HISTORY/​LCA  458 History of Southeast Asia Since 18003-4
HISTORY/​ASIAN  463 Topics in South Asian History3
HISTORY 472 3
HISTORY 533 Multi-Racial Societies in Latin America3-4
HISTORY 555 History of Brazil3-4

L&S RESIDENCE AND QUALITY OF WORK

  • 2.000 GPA in all HISTORY and HIST SCI courses and courses that count toward the major
  • 2.000 GPA on 15 upper-level major credits in residence.1
  • 15 credits in HISTORY and/or HIST SCI, taken on campus

1Courses that have the Intermediate or Advanced level designation are considered upper-level in the major.

Honors in the Major

Students may declare Honors in the History and History of Science, Medicine and Technology Major in consultation with the History undergraduate advisor.

Honors in the History and History of SCience, Medicine and Technology Major Requirements

To earn Honors in the Major in History and History of Science, Medicine and Technology, students must satisfy both the requirements for the major (above) and the following additional requirements:

  • Earn a 3.300 overall university GPA
  • Earn a 3.500 GPA for all HISTORY and HIST SCI courses
  • Complete a minimum of 36 total credits, to include five courses in HISTORY (with the same breadth requirements and recommendation for HISTORY 201 The Historian's Craft as the standard joint major above) and five courses in HIST SCI, of which three must be from the 300–599 series.
  • Complete at least 21 credits of upper-level work1  in the major while in residence2
  • Complete HISTORY 600 Advanced Seminar in History and HIST SCI/​MED HIST  284 Physician in History (Honors) (in conjunction with HIST SCI/​MED HIST  212 Bodies, Diseases, and Healers: An Introduction to the History of Medicine).
  • Complete a two-semester Senior Honors Thesis in HISTORY 681 Senior Honors Thesis and HISTORY 682 Senior Honors Thesis, for a total of 6 or more credits or History of Science Senior Honors Thesis HIST SCI 681 Senior Honors Thesis and HIST SCI 682 Senior Honors Thesis, for a total of 6 or more credits. Students choosing HISTORY 681HISTORY 682 must take HISTORY 680 Honors Thesis Colloquium both semesters in conjunction with the thesis. Students choosing HIST SCI 681HIST SCI 682 must take HIST SCI 555 Undergraduate Seminar in History of Science before embarking on the thesis; in exceptional cases, it may be taken in conjunction with HIST SCI 681.

University Degree Requirements

Total Degree To receive a bachelor's degree from UW–Madison, students must earn a minimum of 120 degree credits. The requirements for some programs may exceed 120 degree credits. Students should consult with their college or department advisor for information on specific credit requirements.
Residency Degree candidates are required to earn a minimum of 30 credits in residence at UW–Madison. "In residence" means on the UW–Madison campus with an undergraduate degree classification. “In residence” credit also includes UW–Madison courses offered in distance or online formats and credits earned in UW–Madison Study Abroad/Study Away programs.
Quality of Work Undergraduate students must maintain the minimum grade point average specified by the school, college, or academic program to remain in good academic standing. Students whose academic performance drops below these minimum thresholds will be placed on academic probation.

1. (Define important historical questions) Pose a historical question and explain its academic and public implications.

2. (Define important historical questions) Using appropriate research procedures and aids, find the secondary resources in history and other disciplines available to answer a historical question.

3. (Define important historical questions) Evaluate the evidentiary and theoretical bases of pertinent historical conversations in order to highlight opportunities for further investigation.

4. (Collect and analyze evidence) Identify the range and limitations of sources available to engage the historical problem under investigation. 

5. (Collect and analyze evidence) Examine the context in which sources were created, search for chronological and other relationships among them, and assess the sources in light of that knowledge.

6. (Collect and analyze evidence) Employ and, if necessary, modify appropriate theoretical frameworks to examine sources and develop arguments.

7. (Present original conclusions) Present original and coherent findings through clearly written, persuasive arguments and narratives.

8. (Present original conclusions) Orally convey persuasive arguments, whether in formal presentations or informal discussions.

9. (Present original conclusions) Use appropriate presentation formats and platforms to share information with academic and public audiences.

10. (Contribute to ongoing discussions) Extend insights from research to analysis of other historical problems.

11. (Contribute to ongoing discussions) Demonstrate the relevance of a historical perspective to contemporary issues.

12. (Contribute to ongoing discussions) Recognize, challenge, and avoid false analogies, overgeneralizations, anachronisms, and other logical fallacies.

Professors Boswell, Cronon, Desan, Dunlavy, Enke, Enstad, Hansen, Hirsch, Hsia, S. Johnson, Kantrowitz, Keller Kleijwegt, Koshar, Lederer, McCoy, McDonald, Michels, Mitman, Neville, Nyhart, Plummer, Reese, Roberts, Sharpless, Shoemaker, Sommerville, Sweet, Thal, Wandel, Wink, Young

Associate Professors Chan, Cheng, Dennis, Gómez, Hall, Ipsen, Kim, Kodesh, Murthy, Ratner-Rosenhagen, Taylor, Ussishkin

Assistant Professors Brown, Callaci, Chamedes, Ciancia, Haynes, Hennessy, Hicks, Iber, Jackson, Kinzley, Lapina, Nelson, Whiting

Teaching Associates Carlsson, Cullinane, Keyser