Area of Focus
  • Humanities
Degrees Offered
  • B.A.
  • M.A.
  • Ph.D.
  • Undergraduate Minor
Academic Division
  • Humanities
  • History

Program overview

People often think of studying history as a matter of memorizing names and dates. While having a command of basic facts is important, college-level study of history shifts the focus to learning how to ask new questions, find new evidence, incorporate more voices, and reconsider old assumptions. As a UCSC history major, you will cultivate a broad understanding of human history across time and space. You will learn how the challenges that confront us today like economic inequality, environmental degradation, and racism, have developed and changed over time. You will explore the patterns of social movements and political transformation that help us understand how people change the world. History is about the past, but it is also about understanding the world we live in today.

Sammy Slug mascot in library

Learning Experience

As a history major you will explore your existing interests — and discover new ones — by taking a wide range of courses that focus on different geographic regions and time periods. At the same time, you will develop deep knowledge of a particular region of the world by choosing an area of specialization: Europe and the Mediterranean World, the Americas and Africa , or Asia and the Pacific. We also encourage students to specialize in multiple sub-fields, including imperialism, colonialism, gender, race, science and technology, and the environment.

First-Year (Freshman) Requirements

High school students planning to major or minor in history need no special preparation other than the high school courses necessary for UC admission. Some background courses in history and a non-English language are helpful but not essential. History majors can readily incorporate study abroad and focused internship experiences, like the UC Washington Center (UCDC) and UC Center Sacramento (UCCS) programs, into a four year plan of study.

Student with mural in the background

Transfer Requirements

This is a non-screening majorTransfer students are enthusiastically encouraged to study history at UCSC! The history major can be readily completed within two years, even if you haven’t completed any preparatory history coursework prior to transferring.

While it is not a condition of admission, students from California Community Colleges are advised to complete the Intersegmental General Education Transfer Curriculum (IGETC) in preparation for transfer to UCSC. You may also wish to consult the UC Transfer Pathway for History.


Students outside Humanities Building

Learning Outcomes


Learn a narrative of historical events in specific regions of the world.

Critical Reading

Distinguish primary and secondary sources.

Understand and evaluate historical ideas, arguments, and viewpoint.

Evaluate competing interpretations and multiple narratives of the past.

Research and Evidence

Gather and assess primary historical evidence.

Compile a bibliography.


Present clear and compelling arguments and effectively communicate your interpretations in written essays and/or other media.

Develop a research question and complete a well-supported piece of historical writing.

Scope and Thematics

Become familiar with the history of:

  • The pre-modern and modern world
  • Transnational or transcultural circulations of ideas, people, and goods
  • One or more national histories
  • Regional comparisons
Student painting mural

Internships and Career Opportunities

Employers regularly express a need for the skills that studying history instills. History majors develop skills in critical reading, effective research, analytical thinking, and clear, persuasive communication. Such skills are essential for jobs directly connected to the discipline, like teaching, research, and working in public history venues such as museums, archives, and libraries. These skills are also invaluable to careers in law, business, government, foreign service, management, publishing, journalism, social media, and many others. A history major isn’t just fascinating, it’s a path to success.

History students regularly participate in a wide array of internship experiences related to their professional interests and goals, both domestically and even while studying abroad! Recent internship opportunities led by UCSC History faculty include the Okinawa Memories Initiative, Watsonville is in the Heart, and the Center for Jewish Studies Summer Fellowship with Digital Heritage Mapping.

Program Contact



apartment Humanities 1, room 201 
phone (831) 459-3701

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