College of Liberal Arts & Sciences Advising - Zulauf Hall 201 - 815-753-0114

A 2 + 2 Plan Leading to a Bachelor of Arts or
a Bachelor of Science Degree in History


All degree requirements are subject to the provisions and notices in the Undergraduate Catalog.  Information is valid through August 2015.


B.A. or B.S. Degree in History

Why Study History?

For students interested in a strong liberal arts education, history represents a fascinating, flexible major that permits study of the broadest possible range of human experience. Majoring in history allows students to explore the past and gain insight into how societies change over time.  A history degree prepares students well for diversity in the workplace and provides them opportunites to sharpen vitally important and widely applicable reading, writing, and research skills.

Students who major in history enter a great variety of professions. Some of NIU's history majors become secondary teachers. Others go on to graduate or professional schools. Our majors have gained admission to some of the best law and graduate schools in the nation. NIU history majors work in such diverse fields as insurance, financial services, non-profit administration, research analysis,communications, government service, broadcasting, museum and archival work, and business in Illinois and throughout the nation.

Why Study History at NIU?

NIU's history department has a well-balanced program that covers essentially all time periods and most geographic areas. Students in the department can study United States, European, British, Russian, Latin American, Asian, African, Ancient, Medieval, and Global history. The department's regular faculty of 29 represents a favorable mix of established scholars with national and international reputations and recently hired junior faculty bringing new ideas and methodologies from the major universities where they were trained.

Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science?

History majors may choose to pursue either a B.A. or B.S. degree, depending upon whether they are more interested in the humanistic or the social science aspects of the discipline. The B.A. degree requires competence in a foreign language equivalent to that attained in two years of college instruction. The B.S. in history requires competence in an approved math/science or math/computer science/statistics sequence. See the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences requirements for the B.S. degree in the NIU Undergraduate Catalog.

Please refer to the Articulation Handbook, available at community college counseling offices, to determine the local equivalents of required courses.

Transferring to NIU

The history major at NIU requires 12 semester hours of lower-division history survey courses. To meet this requirement, choose 6 semester hours of either Western Civilization or Asian History or World History (equivalent to HIST 110, 111, 112, 140, 141,170 or 171 at NIU) and 6 semester hours of either U.S. or African-American history (equivalent to HIST 260, 261, 270, or 271 at NIU). Other history courses taken at a community college will transfer into the program as history electives. They will count toward the overall hours needed for graduation but not toward the department's upper-division field requirements.

What Classes Should I Take at My Community College?

As you earn your associate's degree or work toward completion of the IAI General Education Core Curriculum, you should try to take classes that will satisfy requirements for your degree at NIU. For example, you must choose either a B.A. or B.S. sequence at NIU.  A B.S. at NIU requires you to take a combination of math and science courses.  A B.A. requires completion of a foreign language sequence or four years of a high school foreign language with grades of 'C' or better.  Check NIU’s Articulation Tables to see which classes will transfer to NIU from your community college.  For more details about these and other NIU requirements, consult the Undergraduate Catalog.

Interested in Teacher Licensure for grades 9 -12?

History and social science majors (the latter include the disciplines of anthropology, economics, geography, political science, psychology, and sociology) interested in a career in secondary teaching complete the same degree and discipline requirements as other history and social science majors, but with additional requirements for the Illinois Professional Educator License (PEL).  Although community college transfer students can normally complete a history major after two years of full-time study at NIU, they can expect to take three or more years to complete both the degree and PEL. Because planning is crucial, students should contact the department's History & Social Sciences Secondary Teahcer Education Program at  as soon as possible.

In planning your pre-NIU semesters, students interested in teacher certification should keep the following in mind:

  • The community college grades you earn in your major discipline (either history or one of the other social sciences) will count toward the required discipline GPA of 3.0;
  • All degree requirements must be met with a grade of "C" or better.  
  • Students pursuing teacher licensure are required to meet the university's core math requirement with a grade of "C" or better.
  • The program prepares teachers to teach two main social science disciplines.  Students will have both a major and a minor in two separate social science disciplines.  However, broad knowledge of the social sciences beyond the major and minor areas is both desirable and beneficial.  Therefore, when planning your social science general education courses, you should include introductory courses in the following areas: anthropology, micro and macro economics, cultural and physical geography, American government and foreign policy, United States and world history, sociology, and psychology.
  • Students should refer to the program's website for additional preliminary details and information ( ). Once a student has decided to pursue this course of study he or she should contact the History & Social Sciences Secondary Teacher Education Program at , even before arriving on campus. 


 Suggested Semester Plans

Fall   Spring
ENGL 103 3   ENGL 104 3
HIST 100/200 level 3   HIST 100/200 level 3
For. Language1/MATH2 3-4 For. Language1/MATH2 3-4
Soc. Science Gen Ed 3 Soc. Science Gen Ed 3
Humanities Gen Ed 3 Humanities Gen Ed 3
15-16 15-16
COMS 100 3 HIST 100/200 level 3
HIST 100/200 level 3 For. Language1/MATH2 3-4
For. Language1/MATH2 3-4 Interdisciplinary Gen Ed 3
Humanities Gen Ed 3 Science Gen Ed 3-4
Science Gen Ed 3-4 Soc. Science Gen Ed 3
15-17 15-17
HIST 300/400 level 3 HIST 300/400 level 3
HIST 300/400 level 3 HIST 300/400 level 3
Electives 300/400 level 6 Elective 300/400 level 3
HIST 295 3 Electives (any level) 6-7
15 15-16
HIST 300/400 level 3 HIST 300/400 level 3
HIST 300/400 level 3 HIST 495 3
Electives 300/400 level 6 Electives 300/400 level 4-6
Electives (any level) 3 Electives (any level) 5-6
15-18   15-18

 Minimum 120 total; 40 at the 300-400 level

1Required for B.A. degree. Previous foreign language background may reduce or fulfill this requirement; consult the NIU Undergraduate Catalog for further information on the B.A. requirement in foreign language. B.A. students must also fulfill the core competency requirement in mathematics.  

2Required for the B.S. degree.


Where to Get More Information

A student thinking of transferring to NIU for a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science degree in history should contact:

Department of History
Northern Illinois University
DeKalb, Illinois 60115­-2893
(815) 753­-0131
FAX: (815) 753-­6801


For a current NIU Undergraduate Catalog and application materials, contact:

Office of Admissions
Northern Illinois University
DeKalb, Illinois 60115-­2857
(800) 892-3050 (toll-free in Illinois)
or (815) 753-0446


Northern Illinois University is an equal opportunity/affirmative action institution and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, age, marital status, national origin, disability, status based on the Victims' Economic Security and Safety Act (VESSA), or status as a disabled or Vietnam-era veteran. Further, the Constitution and Bylaws of Northern Illinois University provides for equal treatment regardless of political views or affiliation, and sexual orientation.