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Northwestern University

Area IV: Historical Studies

NOTE: Students who start taking classes at Northwestern after Spring 2023 should refer to the FD-HS: Historical Studies page. The information below pertains to students who started at Northwestern Spring 2023 or earlier.

The area of historical studies introduces the chronological development of cultural, social, political, economic, and military affairs, and their historical relationships, in a broad temporal perspective. Courses in historical studies offer a wide choice of cultures and eras. Some deal with major national or continental civilizations, some focus on smaller geographic areas, and some look at cultures that transcend traditional geopolitical boundaries.

Why take courses in historical studies?

Current issues and institutions, ideas and social relations, and problems and policies all have their origins in the past. By learning about the past, you become able to make better judgments about the present. By studying what motivated people in the past, you can broaden your experience, gain a deeper understanding of human behavior, and bring a more mature assessment to your own life and the society in which you live.

Choosing courses

Review the list of courses approved in historical studies. The choices are broad. Your two courses in this area can both be chosen from the same department, or they can be in two different departments or programs. You may opt to gain a deeper understanding of a single region or era--the Middle East, the twentieth century--by taking two relevant courses, or to choose courses that address more divergent topics.

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