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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

UCC passes changes to history major

Published: November 9, 2007
Section: News

The Undergraduate Curriculum Committee approved changes to the history major proposed by the department in a meeting on Oct. 30. The new requirements will go into effect with the Class of 2012.

Currently, a history major consists of eight courses in any area or time period. The new major would require an additional course and a substantial research paper, UCC representative Zach Pyle 09 said in an email.

The new major would also require that students take one course covering history pre-1800 and one course covering history post-1800. Students will also be required to take at least one course in American, European, and non-Western history, explained Pyle. One course may not be used to fulfill both time period requirements or two or more of the area requirements.

The changes were put forward by the history department, based on a complete review that they had made of their curriculum, said Dean of Arts and Sciences Adam Jaffe, who serves on the UCC. He added, it was the unanimous view of the UCC that the proposed changes strengthen the major.

History Undergraduate Advisor William Kapelle explained, members of the department think a more structured major would be more effectivetheyre worried about students who concentrate on a particular part of history like American or European. Additionally, he remarked, senior exit surveys show that a percentage of students think the same thing.

According to Pyle, the new requirements for the major should make it comparable to…other majors in the…social sciences.

Response from history majors has been measured. Adam Ross 09 commented, I think its a good change. I think its good for students to have a broader historical perspective.

Kenny Fuentes 08 said, I hope that this further structuring also allows for flexibility for people that want to take [cross-listed courses.]

I dont necessarily like that structure, Alex Fineberg 07 said. There should be some sort of American history concentration, he said

History UDR Lauren Stein 08 commented, I think its a really good ideaits better for history majors to be more well-rounded.

Emily Kadar 08, also a history UDR, said, I think theres one requirement that I wouldve had to make a concerted effort to meet…most people have fulfilled these requirements anyway. While Kadar was not privy to the discussions amongst members of the history department, she said, history is probably the most flexible major;

they probably just wanted to make it more strict.

Editor's note: Zach Pyle is a columnist for The Hoot.