Historical Studies Undergraduate Degree Guidelines For Students Matriculated On or After September 7, 2021

Historical Studies Undergraduate Degree Guidelines For Students Matriculated On or After September 7, 2021


School of Arts and Humanities


Department Chair, Historical Studies





Effective Date:


Implementation History:


historical studies

Background Information:




As a historical studies student, you will explore human history and the nature of human existence. You also will develop valuable research, analytical and communications skills as, together with a faculty mentor, you create a program that uses the guidelines below to design an individualized degree. Using the flexibility of the guidelines, you and your mentor can plan a program that meets your academic needs and goals.

Students interested in historical studies may choose from a wide range of possibilities. Concentrations may be organized by:

  • Types of history (e.g., social, race/ethnicity/class/gender, political, religious, environmental, economic, diplomatic, military)
  • National experience or geographical areas (e.g., American history, Western civilization, East Asian history, studies of regional history)
  • Time periods (e.g., ancient history, medieval civilization, modern history, colonial/post-colonial)
  • Themes (e.g., ethnic studies, labor history)
  • A broad-based concentration title, “Historical Studies,” which allows the student and mentor to conceive a program with an array of various topics that progresses from foundation to advanced-level learning.

Bachelor's degree Guidelines

The history faculty expects that bachelor's degree programs in historical studies will consist of the following elements and allow students to acquire specific enabling skills and competencies. As students write their rationale essays, they should demonstrate how their degree program meets these guidelines, aligning their courses and other learning activities to the elements below:

Foundation # 1: Introductory Learning

Learning outcome: Students will demonstrate an understanding of historical processes and historical developments that have shaped social change and contemporary human problems as presented in a survey course or courses.

Learning outcome: Students will demonstrate a foundation for advanced level learning in historical studies by completing one or more introductory courses (depending on concentration) in their area or topic.

Foundation #2: Breadth and Diversity

Learning outcome: Students will demonstrate learning that goes beyond a single time period, national or cultural experience, and reflects an understanding of diversity.

Foundation #3: Links to other Disciplines

Learning outcome: Students will be able to explain how the study of history is related to other disciplines. At least one course must link the student’s program to other disciplines, including but not limited to literature, languages, or political science.

Foundation #4: Independent Inquiry, Research, and Analysis 

Learning outcome: Students will be able to analyze and evaluate primary and secondary sources.

  • At least one upper-level course must require the student to conduct independent inquiry and research. 
  • In that course the student is asked to evaluate primary and secondary sources that record and interpret the past toward completion of a final research project, documented using the Chicago Manual of Style.

Students need at least 24 advanced level credits in their concentration area for bachelor’s degrees.

Students Considering Graduate School

Students designing degrees in historical studies should investigate graduate school opportunities and requirements and visit the historical studies website.

For those students seeking New York State Teaching Certification, Empire State College offers Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) degrees in Middle Childhood Education and Adolescent Education in the content area of Social Studies. Students should review the ESC School of Graduate Studies website outlining additional admissions requirements to be completed at the bachelor’s degree level.

Certification Areas and Content Requirements

Students who indicate must an interest in teaching must fill out a teacher disclaimer form.

Associate Degree Guidelines

Students seeking an A.A. degree in Historical Studies will complete at least 12 credits of coursework in Historical Studies, demonstrating a foundation for advanced level learning/course work in the discipline.  

Faculty in Historical Studies are available to consult with generalist mentors and their students about creating individualized concentrations and selecting courses that align with the department guidelines. 

Applicable Legislation and Regulations

Related References, Policies, Procedures, Forms and Appendices