History Majors


Q:  Is History really the best major I can get?

A:  Do computers have the Buddha-nature?  Hum....well, it is something to think about seriously.  In the meantime.....

Q: What can I do with a History major?

A:  Please take a look at FAQ: What Can I Do With a Degree in History? and Declaring a History Major?  We have tried to answer this question at some length on both of these webpages

Q:  If I am a History major, do I still need a minor to graduate?

A:  Yes, with the exception of a few special field concentrations, everyone including history majors  must have minor, in order to graduate.

Q:  I want to make History my major and my minor.  Can I do that?

A:  No.  Your minor must be in a different field.

Q:  How many hours do I need to graduate?

A:  You need a minimum of 120 hours.  This must include your Undergraduate Core, a major, a minor, and whatever number of electives necessary to make 120 hours.   If you are seeking certification in Secondary Education, you may end up with more than 120 hours, and it will take you more than four years to graduate.  For information, contact Dr. Burgess (R-S 107) and the Department of Curriculum and Instruction, in Warf-Pickel Hall.

Q:  I had to take some Developmental Studies courses.  Do they count toward my graduation?

A:  No, they do not. No Developmental Studies course counts toward your 120 hours minimum necessary for graduation.

Q: What is the difference between a BS and a BA?  And is one better than the other?

A:  Neither is better than the other.  The difference is a matter of emphasis.  Please consult you catalogue for the exact course requirements, but in general, for the BS you must have additional Science (eight hours above core requirements) and some additional math courses.  For the BA, you need the equivalent of two years of college-level foreign language.

Q: I took several years of a foreign language in High School. Do I have to start out in First Year Spanish (German, French, etc.)?

A:  Not necessarily.  You need to contact the Department of Foreign Languages and see how they will handle your high school experience.

Q: If I am doing a BA, not a BS, then how much Science and Math do I need to take?

A:  You need to satisfy the General Education Core requirements.  They can be found in your catalogue, but in they require a minimum of eight hours in Science and 3-4 hours of Math.  Options are listed in the catalogue.

Q: But I want to do Secondary Education. Which is required for certification?

A:  Either degree will be adequate for Secondary Education Certification.  Science and math requirements depend upon which degree you are seeking.  Please consult with the Department of History's advisor, Dr. Doug Burgess or the Department of Curriculum and Instruction.

Q:  How do I know which catalogue I am under?  Is it this year's?  The year I became a History major?  The year I entered ETSU?

A:  In most circumstances, your catalogue is the one the one you entered under, unless you specifically wish to declare a later (not earlier) catalogue. If you are unsure, check with the Graduation Office or with Dr. Burgess (R-S 107).

Q: Do I have to see my advisor every semester before I register?

A:  All student must see their advisor, if they have less than 60 hours.  However, the History department wishes to see ALL advisees at least once each semester, particularly prior to registration.  If you have less than 60 hours, you will be unable to register until your advisor clears your advisement hold.  If you are seeking certification in Secondary Education, you need to see your advisor in Curriculum and Instruction AND your advisor in the History Department.

Q:  I don't have an advisor in the History department.  How do I get one?

A:  Please come see Dr. Burgess, in  107 Rogers-Stout  (439-6691).

Q:  I want to change my major to History.  How do I do that?

A:  Please see Dr. Burgess.  He will be glad to advise you and to fill out the necessary paperwork.

Q: How many hours are necessary for a History major?

A:  Thirty-three (33) hours is the minimum requirement.  This includes three required courses and a series of upper-level electives.  Please consult Requirements for a History Major or Minor for further details.

Q:  I want to go to Medical/Law School.  Will a History major be looked favorably upon by admissions committees?

A:  Yes, in point of fact, many individuals admitted  to Law and Medical programs were History majors at the undergraduate level.  Both professions value a broad-based, liberal education.  History majors score competitively on the LSAT and MCAT with other majors.

Q:  I want to work for a museum (or library, or archive, or historical preservation project, or state/national park).  Is a History major required for this?

A:  No, not absolutely.  BUT most of these professions require a graduate degree of some kind, and History is the natural undergraduate degree to acquire before proceeding to a post-graduate program in these specialized fields.

Q:  Must I take HIST 3910, Introduction to Historical Methods before I take an upper-level classes.

A:  Yes, that it the intent of the curriculum for the department.  Each level (1000 through 4000) requires longer and more complex research and writing assignments.  You need, therefore, to take HIST 3410 after you have completed HIST 1010 and HIST 1020, and while you are completing HIST 2010 and 2020.  According to current departmental policy, issuance of cuts will go first to sophomores, then juniors, then seniors.  HIST 3410 is meant to be the FIRST upper-level class you take, NOT the last.

Q:  I don't see either HIST 2010 or HIST 2020 listed as part of the History major.  Do they count?

A:  No, they do not.  They are 2000-level courses and part of the Undergraduate Core.  They are not designated by specific number in the department curriculum, nor are they either 3000 or 4000-level courses.

Q:  But HIST 1010 or 1020  can count as part of the Core, right?

A:  This is correct.  Either will count toward the satisfying of Core requirements, but it will not reduce the total number of hours you need to graduate.

Q:  I am thinking about an African/African-American Studies (Appalachian Studies) minor.  Can I count classes in that minor, like African-American History since 1877, toward a History major as well?

A:  No, you may not count a class toward both an major and a minor.

Q:  Can I tak e a class twice and then count it once toward the major and once toward a minor?

A:  No.  If you repeat a class, the second grade automatically replaces the first grade and the first class is no longer figured toward your Earned Hours for graduation or your GPA.

Q:  I'm a transfer student.  I transferred in some classes, both in History and in other things that sound awfully similar to required ETSU courses.  How do I find out if that is the case?

A:  The Admissions and Registrar's Offices have fairly clear and complete regarding what transfers and what does not, and if things transfer, how they transfer.  However, if you do have a class which you feel has been transferred incorrectly, go to see the advisor in the appropriate department.  Bring with you as much information as you have, including catalogue descriptions of the course(s), syllabi, notes, test, and so froth.  It the appropriate considers that there is a large degree of correspondence, he or she may write a letter to the Registrar's office, requesting that you be given the appropriate credit.  At the point, the matter is in the discretion of the Registrar, who may concur or decline.  Consult University policy in this, as in all such matters.

Q:  I need to drop a class.  How do I do that?

A:  Provided it is not past the Drop date (the last day to drop a class), you should pick up the appropriate form from the Registrar's Office, complete it and turn it in.  If you are not sure about the last day to drop, consult your Schedule of Classes or   Important Dates.  Consult University policy in this, as in all such matters.

Q:  Okay, it's past the last day to drop, but I still need to get out of this class.  Do I have any options?

A:  You can withdraw from the class(es) or you can withdraw completely from the University.  You need to go to the Registrar's Office for the appropriate forms.  You may receive either a "W" (Withdraw) or a "WF" (Withdraw Failing).  Consult University policy in this, as in all such matters.

Q:  What about Late Drops or Late Adds?  Are there no such things?

A:  Yes, there are.  Each case is considered individually.  You need to see the appropriate professor and upon his or her recommendation that you be allowed to add or drop, you will need signatures on the appropriate forms, usually including the Departmental Chair, the Dean of Arts and Sciences (or your college) and the Registrar.  Simply filling out a form does not guarantee either a Late Add or a Late Drop.  Individuals may either concur or decline to concur with your request, depending on the relevant circumstances.  Consult University policy in this, as in all such matters.

Q:  I have financial aid for this semester.  I am going to drop some classes.  How will this affect my financial aid?

A:  First, it would be best for you to consult the Financial Aid Office to make a determination on your particular circumstances.   Having said that, ETSU's students are paid financial aid awards based on ALL attempted hours from the first day of classes. ALL attempted hours are counted for financial aid satisfactory academic progress purposes, even if the attempted hours do not show on the transcript.

Please note that for continued financial aid eligibility,  there are both annual requirements for completion of hours AND a maximum number of total attempted hours allowed per student. The ETSU Satisfactory Academic Progress Standards are listed on page 15 of the 1999-2000 undergraduate catalog and on page16 of the 2000-2001 undergraduate catalog. Check your catalogue and/or with the Office of Financial Aid.

Q:  Some departments have "attendance policies"...you miss X-number of classes and you fail.  Does History have an attendance policy for its classes?

A:  No.  The Department has no department-wide policy regarding attendance.  Some professors do take roll and have an incentive system for regular attendance.  Check your syllabus and make an effort to comply, in good faith, with the expectations.  If you are a History major, if you consider the matter responsibly, it makes no sense for you to consistently miss the class which are in the very field in which you are majoring...and although you may pass on technicalities....you may not receive positive recommendations for employment, graduate study, or professional schools.

Q:  I need/want a particular class.  It isn't offered in the upcoming semester.  Aren't you teaching it anymore?

A:  A moments thought should make it clear that we cannot and do not teach every course listed in the catalogue every semester.  We go through a rotation, which depending on the number of courses any given professor teaches, takes from one to two years.  There are a few courses which are not currently being taught, since the professor who taught them has retired and not been replaced by someone in the same field.  Under Dr. Day's chairmanship, the Department has tried to make general plan for two to three years in the future.  If you have questions regarding this, contact  Dr. Burgess (R-S 107), who will try to acquaint you with the rotation for each professor.

Q:  I'm doing a Secondary Ed. program.  What about the requirements for that program?  What happens if they are not taught?

A: First, you need to wait for the rotation process to take place.  Then, on the off chance that a course you need is actually not taught, we can make some (limited) substitutions.  You need to see Dr. Burgess (R-S 107), to complete the appropriate substitution form.

In practice, the Department of Curriculum and Instruction will not accept the substitution until you pass the course in question.

Q:  I see you have several scholarships listed in the ETSU catalogue, like the Brown Scholarship and the Rogers Award.  How do I apply for these?

A:  You can't.  These small monetary awards given to graduating seniors in their final semester.  They are meant to publicly acknowledge their work, rather than provide monetary support.

Q:  I am a graduating Senior and I just got a letter saying that I have to take something called a Core Exit Exam?  What is this and do I really have to take it.

A:  Yes, you really have to take it.  It is an exam which is given to all graduating senior and is a determining factor in the funding of ETSU by the State of Tennessee


Last modified:  Ides of August, in the 2762th ab urbe condita (from the Foundation of the City, Rome, that is....2009, for those of you on a different calendar).

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