Welcome to the History Department

Read what alums have to say about majoring in History!!

History encompasses the whole of human experience, helping us understand ourselves in the context of our times and traditions through the study of times and traditions other than our own. History means not only the record of the past but also the discipline of investigating and interpreting the past. The study of history develops habits of critical thinking and effective writing, as well as it cultivates the careful analysis of various types of quantitative and qualitative evidence. It should be of value not only to undergraduates who intend to pursue advanced degrees in the field, but also to students interested in exploring the diversity and complexity of the human past, even as they hone their analytical and expository skills.


Attention Students: There are now sample syllabi for BC History courses for student reference during registration for the upcoming semester(s). The syllabi may not be updated, but they are provided just to give you an indication of the topics and workload.

Congratulations to the EIGHT History Majors who were inducted into PHI BETA KAPPA! The department is so proud of them!

Madeline Yasmineh Ducharme

Emily Eckert

Maya Garfinkel

Isabella Heshmatpour

Hannah Leoni-Hughes


Elizabeth Turovsky




The history department is pleased to offer a pilot oral history track for the senior thesis. In fall 2019, we will partner with the Columbia oral history office and IMATS to conduct workshops that will provide students with the intellectual and technical tools necessary to conduct and transcribe oral histories. Students will read about and discuss oral history as a methodological approach and will learn the technical skills of formulating questions, using recording equipment, and transcribing interviews. They will also do background research to select an individual or group that will be the subject of their interviews. In spring 2020, students will conduct their oral history research. By the end of the semester, students will produce oral histories that will be deposited in an archive. They will also write a reflection essay about the process of conducting oral history in lieu of a conventional senior thesis.

Interested students should sign up for HIST BC3391 in the fall and HIST BC3392 in the spring, as with the other senior thesis writers. If you are interested in the oral history track as your capstone experience, please email Professors Premilla Nadasen and Dorothy Ko.



Congratulations to this year's two recipients of Columbia's Carl B. Boyer Memorial Prize in the History of Science:

Ella Koscher '19: "From Grassland to Wasteland: An Examination of the “Great Plow Up” and the Causes of the 1930s North American Dust Bowl"

Hadassah Karp '19: "'The Beautiful Scheme': Christine Ladd-Franklin and the Expansion of Logical Methodology"


As the American Historical Association looks forward to our 134th annual meeting in New York City next January, we would like to highlight the opportunities for undergraduate students. Both the Undergraduate Poster Session and the Undergraduate Lightning Round proved popular in 2019 and will return in 2020 to give students a chance to present their research. Submissions will be accepted later this summer until October 15 and November 15, respectively. Along with these opportunities, there will be an Undergraduate Orientation and an Undergraduate Reception to welcome students and help them make the most of participating in the meeting.

For information on undergraduate events and resources, visit our undergraduate annual meeting page.