Bachelor of Arts in History | New England College (NEC)
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Bachelor of Arts in History

History is the exploration of the thoughts, aspirations and achievements of every human life. As historians, our role is to sift the records of accumulated years through research. As the record of the past grows, we make sense of it, each of us in our own way, guided as we are by what Carl Becker referred to as “culture baggage.” As the search progresses, we report our findings in a clear and useful way, sharing the experience of generations. We pursue this goal, not only in the realm of academia, but in the wider world as well. The skills to find and make sense of information, and then to communicate the results efficiently and to effect, are valuable in any field of endeavor and critical to citizens of the new global century.

At New England College, students of history apprentice as researchers, analysts, and communicators. They also have the opportunity to experience history as it is made: the quadrennial presidential campaign season begins in New Hampshire and reminds us that America was born in the towns and woods of New England.

Young historians have numerous opportunities to study abroad as part of their program at NEC. As they grow in the profession, our journeyman students often choose to ply their skills in the area of public history. Internships in historical societies, living history sites and political campaigns are just a few of the ways in which young historians gain experience and confidence.

The study of history offers the student the tangible benefits of a strenuous educational program in the types of skills required of successful citizens of the world in the coming years. The ability to find and retrieve information is only the beginning. Students trained in the discipline of history acquire also a facility with language, the ability to analyze information, synthesize it, and convey the results in a clear, effective and meaningful way. The student of history has the added joy of exploring the cumulative thoughts and actions of the millions of men and women of all races, creeds and nationalities which, taken together, constitute the story of human interaction through the centuries. A major in history connects the student’s life today to those who have lived before.

Requirements to Major in History

A. History Core Requirements

  • HS 1000 – Continuing Enrollment in History (1cr)
  • HS/PO 2420 – World Geography
  • HS 2980 – Introduction to Historical Methods
  • HS 4940 – Advanced Research Methods
  • HS 4950 – Senior Project 

History majors must complete the core requirements and the following: 

1. Four credits from among HS 1130 – Evolution of American Democracy, HS 1110 – Western Civilization to 1500 or HS 1120 – Western Civilization since 1500.

2. Twenty-four credits in history or cognate field* numbered 3000 and up.

3. Study abroad experience (an internship of substantial complexity and carrying a minimum of fourteen credits may be substituted with permission). A portion of the twenty-four credits in section 2 may be satisfied during the study abroad or internship experience. 

B. Distribution Courses and Electives 

Requirements to Minor in History (20 Credits)

Four credits from among HS 1130 – Evolution of American Democracy, HS 1110 – Western Civilization to 1500 or HS 1120 – Western Civilization since 1500


  • HS/PO 2420 – World Geography
  • HS 2980 – Introduction to Historical Methods AND
  • Eight additional credits in history at the 3000+ level

*in some cases coursework in other disciplines may be applied toward the thirty-six credits of 3000 level or above. Substitutions will be decided by the department on an individual, course by course, basis based on the programmatic or career needs of the student. 

Course Descriptions

**All undergraduate courses are 4 credits unless otherwise noted.

HS 1000 Continuing Enrollment in History

On a four year cycle we will read through four stages of world history: ancient, medieval, early modern and modern. In each stage, the entire history major/community will consider the “great books” of the past and their place in the evolution of our ideational world. This course is required of all history majors, every semester. (1cr)

HS 1110 Western Civilization to 1500

An introduction to European history from the earliest time to 1500. Some of the themes include the development of civilizations, Antiquity, the Middle Ages, and the development of Europe during
the Renaissance.

HS 1120 Western Civilization since 1500

An introduction to European history since 1500. Topics discussed will include the Reformation, Absolutism, the Scientific Revolution, the Enlightenment, the French Revolution, Industrialization, Romanticism, Nationalism, Imperialism, and global conflicts. 

HS 1130 Evolution of American Democracy

This course will provide an analysis of American history from the perspectives of political thought & process, as well as the concurrent developments in economics and culture. The course begins amidst the turmoil of the early modern Scientific Revolution and the Protestant Reformation and traces the development of the sovereignty of the people from 16th century Europe to the electoral landscape of the
21st century.

HS 2420 (PO 2420) World Geography

This course begins with a broad overview of certain physical aspects of geography (world landforms, climates and ecosystems) and of map and globe skills. The course then moves to an examination of the different regions of the world: the cultures, political systems, urban and rural patterns of settlement, the relationships between people and the environment and regional economic activities.

HS 2980 Introduction to Historical Methods

This course awakens the apprentice historian to the various methodologies of the historical profession. We will also explore conversations and controversies within history and the variety of theoretical interpretations of the concept of history in general. Research and writing skills will be honed and an awareness of historiography will emerge.

HS 3010 The Tudor Atlantic World (1485-1603)

The Age of Discovery begins on Bosworth Field and the Tudor monarchs presided over the century before permanent English colonies took hold in North America. This course chronicles the tumultuous careers of explorers and promoters, scholars and pirates, the men who blazed the path for the Jamestown colonists and the Pilgrims of Plymouth Plantation. 

HS 3020 British North America (1603-1763)

The Anglophone world of the colonial era will be explored from the frosty forests of Nova Scotia to the sultry pirate infested Caribbean. The growth of the English colonies and their complexities are the subject of this course. Witches and settlers, merchants and slaves, all contributed to the complex social and economic structure that would eventually grow beyond the control of Great Britain. A significant field trip is included.

HS 3030 Revolutionary America (1763-1783)

A century of colonial wars left Great Britain as the world’s greatest superpower. Yet it lost thirteen of its most developed colonies in a war that lasted eight years and cost millions in treasure. The origins of the conflict and the war itself are explored in depth. A significant field trip is included.

HS 3040 The Early Republic (1783-1824)       

“A republic, if you can keep it!” said Benjamin Franklin when asked about the form the new Constitution created. This course examines the creation and implementation of that document and the administrations of the first five presidents. From the mythic figure of Washington to the nearly as popular James Monroe, we will explore the first decades of this new America.

HS 3060 A House Divided: The American Civil War

Economics, political balance of power and a seemingly new awareness of morality all surround the issue of slavery, but the fundamental relationship between states and the central government was at stake. This course examines the origins of Civil War in America and the course of that terrible conflict. It includes a field trip to Gettysburg and several other Civil War battlefields. 

HS 3070 Topics in 19th Century American History & Culture

This course will use ideas from history, theatre, music, art and politics in order to understand various topics in the 19th century. The urbanization, the “Age of Jackson,” the Cult of True Womanhood and the wellness movement are all possible considerations. 

HS 3080 Topics in 20th Century American History & Culture

From the Great Depression to the counterculture of the ‘60s, this course will use ideas from history, theatre, music, art and politics in order to understand various topics in the 20th century. 

HS 3090 Cold Wars and Hot Times: America Since 1945

From Hiroshima to the day before yesterday, this course will chart America’s history through the Cold War, the space race, the Great Society, the civil rights movement, Korea to Vietnam and through the Reagan years to the very near past. We will examine the music, films and cultural expressions from the past 60 years of American life.

HS 3200 America at War Seminar

Historians have suggested that America is a country made by war. It was, after all, born in war, the American Revolution, and fought four foreign conflicts before 1850. This course will focus, each time it is offered, on a different major conflict from the birth of the republic to the present.

HS 3300 History of India   

This course will survey the history of India from its earliest civilization to the present and will seek to understand the complex interaction of political, social, religious, and economic factors that contributed to the historical development of the extremely diverse region of South Asia.

HS 3400 The Crusades

This course will examine the crusading movement and the concept of holy war from the eleventh to the fifteenth century. We will analyze the various manifestations of the crusades, how they contributed to cross-cultural interaction, and how they have continued to have effects on the modern world. 

HS 3410 The Renaissance

In this course, we will analyze the Renaissance in Italy and throughout Europe. Using a mix of readings, we will explore the intellectual, political and cultural developments that contributed to the development of European history during this vibrant time.

HS 3420 The Reformation

This course will focus on Reformation and Early Modern Europe. We will analyze the religious, intellectual, political, economic, and social developments during this volatile time. Using primary and secondary sources, we will investigate the interaction of historical factors that contributed to the tremendous changes that occurred in Europe during this era.

HS 3430 Tudor England     

This course will explore the monarchs and legends of Tudor England from Bosworth Field to the death of Elizabeth I. From the dour and frugal Henry VII, to the glorious reign of Elizabeth the Virgin Queen we will delve deeply into the pomp and plotting of this legendary dynasty which ruled England during the Age of Discovery and the emergence of the nation state. 

HS 3440 Europe in the Age of Revolutions (1789-1918)

This course will examine Europe during the “Age of Revolutions,” the period from the French Revolution to World War I. In addition, we will also discuss the Industrial Revolution, The Revolutions of the mid-19th century, Imperialism and the emergence of the Middle Class.

HS 3450 Europe since World War I

Through a mix of readings, discussions and lectures this course will explore the political, social, military and cultural factors that contributed to the changes that occurred in European society during the 20th century. Topics will include the rise and fall of Communism, World War II and the Holocaust, the Cold War and the emergence of international terrorism. 

HS 3460 Heresy, Magic and Witchcraft

This course will examine intellectual, religious and social developments on the fringes of accepted society. We will discuss issues of deviance, persecution, magic and science from Antiquity through the Early Modern Period. As an upper-level seminar, the class is based on intensive readings and discussion. 

HS 3470 Comparative World Frontiers

This course will compare frontiers in different cities and places. Topics will include the Roman Frontier, the legacy of the American frontier, ecological changes, and cross-cultural interaction from the Ancient to the Modern World. As an upper level seminar, this course will include intensive readings and discussions. 

HS 3480 Medieval England (500-1485)

Abandoned by Rome, the inhabitants of the province of Britain faced a thousand years of invasions, dynastic civil wars, and plague. Yet this course will challenge the assumption that this period could be called the “Dark Ages.” From monastic chroniclers to Shakespeare we chart the story of a changing land that grew to dominate the world. 

HS 3490 Seminar in Medieval History

This course will focus on particular aspects of medieval history. Possible topics, to be selected by the instructor, include the Dark Ages, the 12th-Century Renaissance, chivalry, medieval religion, medieval women, and war and plague in the late Middle Ages. May be repeated for credit with different topics.

HS 3510 Hands-on History [formerly Medieval Siegecraft]

This is a topical course in which students explore the past by actually attempting to replicate the tasks that our ancestors undertook. From constructing a working medieval trebuchet to learning colonial settlement skills, this course seeks to bring the words and images of history to real life. May be repeated for credit under different topics.  

HS 3990 Topics in History

Designed to provide a wider variety of special interest topics, selected by the instructor, this course will examine a theme, area or era in history. These topics may be of immediate interest, or be determined by the availability of specific expert instructors. May be repeated for credit under different topics. 

HS 4830 Independent Study in History

Advanced, independent study of a specific topic. Course of study to be arranged with a faculty member. Contract required. Variable credit (1-4).

HS 4910 Internship in History

Internships are available to history majors who exhibit strong emotional maturity, a strong sense of responsibility and are approved by the history faculty. The student is expected to work on-site for a semester and to fulfill academic requirements of the internship (research, written assignments, seminar attendance, etc.). Contract required. Variable credit (1-15).

HS 4940 Advanced Research Methods

A senior seminar designed to begin the thesis project. Topic selection, research, bibliography and outline are intended results. This course is required of all history majors, junior standing is required; the course may be repeated once for credit. Offered every fall. 

HS 4950 Senior Project

The senior thesis is the summation of the history major’s career at NEC. The thesis is a work of original scholarship which demonstrates clearly the student’s grasp of a topic, mature understanding of it, and the ability to clearly and emphatically express that understanding and grasp to others. The senior thesis will normally be undertaken in the senior spring. The process begins with HS 4940 – Advanced Research Methods for one or two semesters and culminates with a significant piece of written work and a public defense. In rare cases, another form of capstone project may be substituted with advisor’s approval. Prerequisites: Senior standing and completion of one semester of HS 4940 with a grade of B or better.