The Undergraduate Program

Welcome to the Department of History at Columbia University!

Our department is one of the leading centers of historical scholarship in the world. It is also a department deeply committed to undergraduate education. Teaching Columbia and Barnard undergraduates is among our faculty's greatest privileges. Our undergraduate curriculum covers most periods and areas of the world. Our courses employ many different approaches to the past. We emphasize no particular brand of history, no single interpretive model, and we encourage our students to experiment with a wide range of ideas. Our principal goal in the undergraduate classroom is to develop the intellectual breadth and analytical skills of our students. To that end, our courses emphasize working with both primary and secondary sources and developing acuity in critical writing.

For information see the Undergraduate Handbook, list of courses, and profiles of our faculty. We encourage you to contact the department's Undergraduate Administrator, Sia Mensah, any member of the Undergraduate Education Committee (UNDED), the Undergraduate History Council (UHC) or individual members of the faculty. You can also view the Frequently Asked Questions page for additional information about the undergraduate program.

Here is a summary of requirements for the major and concentration:

Courses in History 9 courses 7 courses
Specialization 4 courses 3 courses
Breadth Requirement 3 courses outside specialization: 1 removed in time and 1 removed in space 2 courses outside specialization: 1 removed in time and 1 removed in space
Seminar Requirement 2 seminars, at least 1 in specialization None

Please note that ALL courses must be approved for a given term to count for the History degree. For example: some sections of AFCV CC1020, ASCE UN1359, ASCE UN1361 and other cross-listed courses do not count for history students if they are not taught by History or affiliated faculty members. Please check the courses page (NOT simply the Bulletin) to see the full list of what counts for a given term, and contact Sia at if you have an inquiry about a course that does not seem to be listed.


Director of Undergraduate Studies
Caterina Pizzigoni
321 Fayerweather Hall 
(212) 854-8709     

Undergraduate Program Administrator
Sia Mensah
413 Fayerweather Hall
(212) 854-2573

We also care deeply about our students’ career prospects and are proud of their success on the job market while at and after Columbia. We have partnered with the Center for Career Education (CCE) to provide tailored advising for both jobs and internships:

Career Exploration and Preparation
•Academic major exploration resources, such as the “What can you do with a degree in History?” tipsheet
• Individual career counseling, workshops, speaker events, and online resources to help with career planning and internship/job applications, interviewing, networking, negotiations, and the decision to pursue graduate school
Industry-specific resources covering career paths, employers, professional associations, internship/job sites, and research opportunities

Employer Connections/Jobs and Internships
LionSHARE internship/jobs database - Set up a job agent to be notified daily of internship and full time opportunities
• CCE Internship Programs – Gain experience through CCE’s domestic and international internship programs
Career Events– Participate in our Fall, Spring and Start-up Career Fairs, Industry Showcases, employer site visits, and Professionals in Residence to meet employers and alumni

Alumni Connections
Alumni Connections – including alumni dinner and discussion series, Columbia Career Connections on LinkedIn and networking events