“Cornell history courses incorporate movies, travel to the Newberry Library in Chicago, the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library, and the Meskwaki Tribal Reservation — all because of the flexibility of One Course At A Time. With OCAAT we can immerse ourselves in our subject, and from different perspectives examine books, articles, letters, speeches, and more.”

— Phil Lucas, Professor of History


Introductory Courses

Since the department requires no specific courses of all its majors, we offer a variety of introductory courses that attract a wide range of students. These courses include topical seminars such as Declaration of Independence and The Holocaust; general survey courses in European and U.S. history; and thematic surveys such as American Lives, Warfare and Society, and Baseball: The American Game.


While our majors have a great deal of flexibility in their course selection, the department essentially requires a significant amount of advanced work in one of three general areas:

  • Europe to 1700
  • Europe since 1700
  • U.S. and Latin American history

In advanced courses, we expect our students to master material as diverse as North American Indian treaties, medieval Spanish romances, petitions of 18th and 19th century Russian serfs, and the contemporary politics of gender. Advanced courses require that students evaluate the interpretations of several different historians.  They must go beyond a factual knowledge to the point where they can criticize how historians make judgments about the past. The extensive reading assignments are more sophisticated, more detailed, and representative of recent scholarship.

Interdisciplinary Programs

History faculty and courses contribute to a number of interdisciplinary majors at Cornell, including ethnic studies, international relations, Latin American studies, and Russian studies.

Curriculum Details