Frequently Asked Questions

Can courses used toward the history major also be used to fulfill the general education requirement for 6 credits of history?

Yes. The credits, however, are only counted once.

Does a course in Art History count towards credits for my History requirements? How about African American and African Studies (AAAS) or Hebraic Studies?

No, no, and no. Here is how you can tell if a course counts toward the History major or minor (or the college History requirement): It must have either a 510 or a 512 prefix.

Can I take courses at other universities? How about at another branch of Rutgers?

Generally, once you have matriculated at Rutgers, you cannot take courses at other universities. However, we make exceptions for local universities that are more demanding than Rutgers – Columbia, Princeton, and NYU, although if there is a specific course you would like to take, you should see an advisor to find out if it can be accepted. Courses at New Brunswick are somewhat more likely to be accepted, but they must also be approved on a case-by-case basis.

I was told to that I need department approval to transfer a history course from another university. Whom do I speak to? How does it get decided?

The Dean of Student Affairs office assigns transfer credits. As for whether transfer courses count toward the history major or minor, the department decides that on a case-by-case basis. Make an appointment with an advisor and be sure to bring all the information you have about the course – course description and a syllabus, if you have it.

Do History courses taken at NJIT count toward the major?

Absolutely. There are some excellent courses taught at NJIT, and we encourage Rutgers students to take them.

I received a D in one of the major requirements, do I need to repeat the course?

You must get a C or higher for a course to count toward the history major or minor requirements. Rutgers allows students to retake courses in which they got a D or an F, but there is no guarantee that a specific course will be offered again. If you retake a course, this new grade replaces the old one in your GPA, but the old course still appears on your transcript.

How do I fulfill the writing across the curriculum (WAC) requirement?

The University's requirement is for two WAC courses, one of which must be in the student's major. You can take both of them in the History Dept. if you want. Seminar Research (510:490) and Perspectives in History (510:315,316) are writing intensive courses. There may also be other courses designated as WAC, and that designation will be noted on the Schedule of Classes.

Is there a history honor society? What are the requirements for induction? Who is the Faculty Advisor?

Yes. It is called Phi Alpha Theta. The minimum requirements include 12 hours of History credits, with a GPA of at least 3.1 in your history courses and 3.0 overall. Dr. Karen Caplan serves as the faculty advisor.

Are internships available? How do I sign up?

You may earn 3 credits for an approved internship. In the past, students have done internships with the New Jersey Historical Society, but other institutions might also have internships. Once you have found an internship you would like to do, see a department advisor to make sure the department will accept it for credit. Click here for more information.

Is there a limit to the number of independent studies that I can register for?

No, though it is very rare for any student to do more than one. They are very demanding, generally a good deal harder than regular classes, since they require students to be unusually self-disciplined, so we have not had students asking to do more than one. Independent studies offer an opportunity for students to study a specific topic in greater depth that they would have in a regular course. Typically, you will already have taken a professor's course, and you will want to explore a topic raised in that course in greater depth. You will need the professor's prior permission in order to sign up for an independent study. Such courses typically require significant reading and a major paper.

I heard that the requirements for the history major have been changed. Which requirements apply to me?

It depends on when you declared your major. If you look at your transcript, you'll see that for each semester it states your major (or undeclared). If the first semester that shows you as a history major is fall 2003 or later, you're under the new major.

Must I take 21:510:490 in order to graduate?


When should I enroll in the Seminar Research?

The Seminar Research course is open to junior and senior majors. You may take it as soon as you have fulfilled the prerequisite.

When should Education students who plan to do their student teaching take the Seminar?

You should take them in your junior year so that the second semester of your senior year is free for student teaching.

May I take more than one Research Seminar?

You certainly may.  Students who enjoy the small-class setting may want to take several seminars before they graduate.

Is the Seminar Research a WAC (Writing Across the Curriculum) course?

Yes, 510:490, Seminar-Research is a WAC course. 

May I still write a Senior Thesis?

Yes, you may.  Some students may still wish to write a senior thesis, either because the topic they wish to write about is not available, or because they wish to produce a more lengthy and substantial piece of writing for future use.  They may do so as an independent study; that independent study (510:499, 512:499) may be substituted for 510:490. Such students will need the advance permission of the faculty member who will advise them, of course, as well as the permission of the Undergraduate Director.

Do I have to take history courses in any consecutive order?

No, although you may wish to complete the Western Civilization sequence before you take upper-level courses.

I am interested in becoming a teacher. What do I do? Whom should I speak to?

You should contact the Student Advisor of the Teacher Education Program, Ivette Rosario. Her contact information: Office: 173 Bradley Hall; E-mail address:; Phone: 973.353.3526. Incidentally, in New Jersey, all teachers are required to major in a subject area, such as history. Teacher certification requires 30 credits, of which 6 are student teaching, usually performed in the student’s senior year. Ms. Rosario can fill you in on all the details.

I am not receiving email messages from the Department. How do I get on the mailing list?

Important email announcements are circulated to history majors and minors through Rutgers Automated Mass-mailing System. Once you have declared history as your major/minor, you are automatically added to the appropriate mailing list. However, in order to receive messages, your email address must be correct in the Rutgers system. To ensure your information is correct, check the Personal Information Update page. (You can also use this page to update your home address and telephone number.)