The History, Politics, and Global Affairs major prepares students to engage with systems of power both locally and globally in an increasingly diverse and interconnected world. The major is a carefully structured course of study rooted in deep disciplinary knowledge in the fields of history, politics, and complementary disciplines, deep and comprehensive research methods, and an interdisciplinary approach to important questions of policy, practice, and public service. It is designed to meet a wide range of academic interests and professional goals. It combines academic inquiry with practical hands-on learning experiences to give students opportunity to develop leadership and advocacy skills and explore career options. With this major, students will graduate prepared to meet the demands of global citizenship and with the necessary tools for understanding and applying their values to a rapidly changing world. Students who major in this area acquire knowledge and skills that are applicable in a broad range of professional settings, with many pursuing careers in law, government, public policy, international organizations, non-profit organizations, international development, social work, journalism, business, and teaching. The specific content and methods of the major will prepare students for graduate study in law, politics, public policy, international affairs, political thought, education, non-profit organizations, and history.
The disciplines in this major are among the top five of students who plan to attend law school. Students planning to attend law school should consider combining the major with the Pre-Law minor, working with faculty to design a professional development experience in the legal field during the second and third year, and working with the pre-law advisor to prepare for the LSAT during the junior year.
Students interested in careers in government or public service should consider a double major with Religion, Philosophy, and Social Change; a minor in History, Political Science, Asian Studies, a Modern Language, or Communication; or earn a Leadership and Social Change certificate.
Students planning to apply to graduate programs should study a foreign language through at least the 212 level, and should complete at least one research-focused course and the Graduate Record Exam well before their senior years. Early and frequent discussion with the departmental faculty about your plans for graduate study is strongly advised.
Those interested in teaching social studies or history in middle or high schools should combine the History, Politics, and Global Affairs major with the Educational Studies minor.
Those wishing to enter the fields of public history, archival studies, or museum studies should work with the history faculty to tailor professional development experiences in relevant institutions during the second and third year.
Student Learning Objectives
The student shall demonstrate knowledge of historical, cultural, social and geopolitical factors that shape human diversity.
The student shall demonstrate awareness of the complexity and interconnectedness of local and international systems, processes, and institutions.
The student shall analyze global issues and challenges from multi-disciplinary perspectives.
The student shall apply knowledge, skills, and ethical reasoning to engage actively with diverse communities and real-world challenges locally and globally.
The student shall acquire the methodological and communication skills commensurate with interdisciplinary scholarly research.
The student shall demonstrate preparedness to enter graduate programs and/or to pursue careers in these areas of study and related fields.
Requirements for the Major: The major consists of between 50 and 62 hours of coursework, depending on the number of courses a student must take to complete the Cultural Competency requirement.
A. Foundations (15 hours from the following)
HIS 120 Early Civilizations 3 hours
HIS 125 The Emergence of the Modern World 3 hours
HIS 130 The American Experience to 1877 3 hours
HIS 135 The American Experience since 1877 3 hours
POL 115 American Politics 3 hours
POL 222 Comparative Politics 3 hours
POL 230 International Relations 3 hours
POL 240 Introduction to Political Thought 3 hours
B. Research and Professional Development (11 hours)
HIS 299 Historical Methods 3 hours
HIS/POL 207 Professional Development Practicum 1 hour
POL 332 Political Science Research Methods 3hours
HIS/POL 407 Professional Development Practicum 1 hour
HIS/POL 480 Senior Research Seminar 3 hours
C. Cultural Competency (0-12 hours; completion of the 212 level in one language or the 102 level in one language plus two of the following)
TRA XXX Study Abroad 3-6 hours
AST 250 Introduction to Chinese Culture 3 hours
COM 216 Intercultural Communication
ENG 205 Perspectives on World Literature 3 hours
FRN 300 Seminar in Francophone Studies 3 hours
HIS 267 Women in World History 3 hours
HIS 257 African-American History 3 hours
REL 225 Exploring the World’s Religions 3 hours
SPA 300 Seminar in Latin American Studies
D. Areas of Interest (24 hours; 2 from each of 4 categories; no more than 6 hours total at the 200 level)
1. Historical Interpretation
HIS 257 African-American History 3 hours (if not taken to fulfill C)
HIS 305 Empires and Diaspora 3 hours
HIS 323 Genocide 3 hours
HIS 352 20th Century American Wars 3 hours (if not taken to fulfill 3)
HIS 358 Public History 3 hours
Any 200 or 300 level HIS course not used to fulfill a different major requirement
2. Systems of Law and Governance
POL 300 Foundations of Political Thought 3 hours
POL 319 International Law 3 hours
POL 305 Democracy and Democratization in the Contemporary World 3 hours
POL 320 American Constitutional Development 3 hours
POL 330 State and Local Government 3 hours
3. Comparative Histories
HIS 210 The West in the Classical Age 3 hours
HIS 257 African-American History 3 hours (if not taken to fulfill C)
HIS/POL 342 Modern Europe 3 hours
HIS/POL 347 Modern Middle East 3 hours
HIS 348 Modern East Asia 3 hours
HIS 352 20th Century American Wars (if not taken to fulfill 1) 3 hours
4. Global Conflict, Cooperation, and Human Security
POL 328 United States Foreign Policy 3 hours
POL 335 Politics of the Developing World 3 hours
HIS/POL 348 Terror and Terrorism in the Modern World 3 hours
POL 351 Nuclear Weapons and International Security 3 hours
POL 342 International Organizations 3 hours
5. Leadership and Advocacy
HIS 215 Reacting to the Past 3 hours
PHI/LED 307 Power and Service Leadership 3 hours
POL 225 Gender and Politics 3 hours
POL 245 Model United Nations 1 hour (repeatable up to 3 hours)
POL 306 Environmental Politics and Policy 3 hours
POL 356 Activism and Political Organization 3 hours
Students are strongly encouraged to add a minor or second major. Suggestions include:
Professional Development: Throughout her Wesleyan education each student is given opportunities to explore professional and career choices, and to develop and demonstrate the knowledge and skills essential for professional success. Each student will complete PDE 400 Professional Development Experience and PDE 401 Professional Practice Seminar.
For History, Politics, and Global Affairs majors, these opportunities occur within HIS/POL 207 and 407, the Professional Development Practicum. Majors will enroll in these one-hour seminars the fall semester of their sophomore and senior years.
Integrative Experience: Each student will complete the HIS/POL 480 Senior Research Seminar. In this capstone course, majors will undertake a significant research-based project in which they make connections among the various parts of their course of study and employ sound methodology.
Recommended Four-Year Coursework Schedule
First Year, Fall
First Year, Spring*
Second Year, Fall
Second Year, Spring
Third Year, Fall**
Third Year, Spring
Fourth Year, Fall
Four Year, Spring
* Students may wish to take PDE 100 Career and Major Exploration this semester.
** Students may register for PDE 400 Professional Development Experience and PDE 401 Professional Practice Seminar after completing 60 hours of undergraduate coursework.
Some courses used to fulfill the major's requirements can also be used to fulfill a student's general education requirements.
Please check the Wesleyan College Course Catalogue for additional information about general education requirements, including the number and type of major-specific courses you may use to fulfill them. Students interested in majoring in HPGA are encouraged to work with their advisors to develop a plan of study tailored to their individual interests and career goals.
History, Politics, and Global Affairs (HPGA) Course Descriptions
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