History majors at George Washington University will no longer be required to complete a course on U.S. History to complete their degrees, though it remains an optional focus.
According to the program requirements, students must take at least one introductory course to fulfill graduation requirements, and may choose from among offerings such as the first half and second half of US history, World History, and Approaches to Women’s History.
Students can opt out of the requirement by scoring a 4 or 5 on the Advanced Placement exams in the related subjects.
History majors must also take a Majors’ introductory seminar and eight to 10 upper-level courses before completing a thesis or capstone project.
Prof. Tyler Anbinder, who teaches mostly about the Civil War and Reconstruction era, does not see the change as a disservice to students, arguing that specializing in a specific area of history, like European or U.S. history, helps them gain entry to top-tier graduate schools.
Anbinder told Campus Reform that under the previous requirements, because GW students usually pursue a double major, history majors were unable to specialize and instead could only fulfill the minimum requirements.
“When those majors who wanted to go to grad school in history applied, they often could not get into top programs because they had so few courses in any one area,” he explained. “My U.S. history students had trouble getting into top PhD programs because tw…
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