The Bachelor of Arts Degree in History

Our undergraduate programs are governed by the policies and requirements of the Undergraduate Catalog. You are responsible for being thoroughly familiar with it, particularly the important section on academic regulations for undergraduate students and the requirements for a major or minor in history.

We offer the degree of Bachelor of Arts through the College of Arts and Sciences. The degree itself is described in the brochure for the B.A. program in history (pdf). The requirements for the B.A. were revised by the College of Arts and Sciences in 2013 (students who enrolled earlier may still follow the requirements in effect when they entered the university). A convenient checklist of the revised requirements for the B.A. in history (PDF) is available.

A student completing the B.A. program in history will be able to:

  • describe and explain key historical events, ideas, figures, movements, periods, and transitions across a variety of times and places
  • analyze primary historical sources in historical context
  • evaluate differing historical interpretations and methodologies
  • research a topic thoroughly using primary and/or scholarly secondary sources, and to present a clear and well-written historical argument based on that research.

Our courses work together to ensure that history majors achieve all of these learning outcomes. The table of history course levels (PDF) outlines how courses at the various levels complement each other by providing students increasingly sophisticated instruction in historical skills and content.

You may satisfy the coursework requirements for the degree from a broad array of courses. One possibility is taking only the traditional on-campus courses. The Department of History was one of the first to offer an online B.A. in history, which has its own online Bachelor of Arts brochure (PDF). Most of the online courses are taught locally, but you may also take courses through the Regents Online Degree Programs. The Study Abroad program offers opportunities to do some of your coursework in other countries. There are also provisions for gaining credit for History 2010 and 2020 through the College-Level Examination Program (CLEP).

As long as you satisfy the requirements for the B.A. in history it does not matter what mixture of courses you take. Traditional students may take only on-campus courses or occasional online courses, online students may take only online courses or occasional on-campus courses, and all may choose to spend a semester break or longer in study abroad.

The Undergraduate Catalog has complete descriptions of all undergraduate courses in history. Not all of these courses will be offered in any single semester.

The Registrar's Office prepares a list of courses for an upcoming semester before registration for that semester begins. The list is updated constantly as offerings are changed in any way, including addition or deletion of courses and sections or changes in dates, times, and instructors. This is the same information that you will see during the registration process.

The listings in the undergraduate catalog are brief and sometimes not especially informative, so the department prepares prior to registration a "mini-catalog" of the courses it will be offering in the upcoming semester. The "mini-catalog" contains detailed descriptions of these courses, prepared by those who will be teaching them. The descriptions often include reading lists, for example.

You will advance toward your degree at your own pace, of course, but the College of Arts and Sciences urges you to "Finish in Four" and shows you how you might organize your course of study so that you can graduate after four years.

The honors programs do not in themselves convey a degree, but if you qualify by being a superior student, you may earn in addition to the B.A. degree a certification on your diploma that you have earned either Honors in History or University Honors or both. University honors students usually begin taking special honors courses or honors sections of regular courses when they enter The University of Memphis. Those who follow the honors track in history usually are admitted at the beginning of their junior year.

Academic Integrity

Students are governed by the Code of Student Rights and Responsibilities. Particular attention is directed to the subject of academic misconduct, regarding dishonesty in course work through plagiarism, cheating, or fabrication, of which no student in history should ever be guilty. The Department of History has issued a policy about academic misconduct and there is a document giving advice about how to use sources properly to avoid plagiarism.