Understanding Modules


History modules are designed to give you a broad base of historical knowledge and skills in Years 1 and 2, and the flexibility to study topics in depth that interest you most in Years 3 and 4.

There are three kinds of requirements to keep in mind:

    • Geographic Breadth (United States, Europe, World, as well as Canadian history) – see I. below
    • Chronological Depth (pre-modern as well as modern history) – see II. below
    • Level (Introductory to Advanced) – see III. below

You will need a certain number of courses in each of these categories, but how many depends on whether you are specializing, majoring, or minoring in History. Students earn 1.0 credit for a year-long course, 0.5 credit for a half-year course. All modules begin with a 1.0 first-year course (with a course grade of 60% or better for admission to all modules). After that:

  • The History Minor requires an additional 4.0 courses
  • The History Major requires an additional 6.0 courses
  • The History Specialization and the Honours Specialization require an additional 9.0 courses


Helpful Tips!

  • History course numbers indicate both the level and geographic area of each course, so you can use them to be sure you’re meeting those requirements.
    • The first number refers to how advanced the course is – a 1000-level course is Introductory and designed for first year students. A 4000-level course is very advanced, usually specialized, and aimed at students in Year 4.
    • The second number (in the hundreds place) refers to the geographic focus of each course (for all courses except those at the 2100 level). Courses that focus on the history of Canada, for example, have a two (2) in the hundreds place (for example, History 2201E). Here’s a list of all these geographic/topical numbers:
  • 2 = Canada
  • 3  = USA
  • 4 = Europe
  • 5 = Latin America
  • 6 = Asia, Middle East, and Africa
  • 7 = International/Comparative
  • 8 = historiographical, methodological, or thematic approaches
  • At the 2100 level, the third number (in the tens place) designates the geographic focus of the class, so for example History 2131 is a 2100-level U.S. history course.


I. Geographic Distribution Requirement

The History Department requires all students majoring or specializing in history to take at least 1.0 History courses that must be drawn from two different geographic and/or thematic and international areas.

US: History 2300-2399; History 3300-3399; History 4300-4399
Europe: History 2400-2499; History 3400-3499; History 4400-4499
World: History 2500-2699; History 3500-3699; History 4500-4699
Thematic and International: History 2700-2899; History 3700-3899; History 4700-4899

II. Chronological Depth Requirement

The History Department requires all students majoring or specializing in history to take at least a 0.5 course that focuses on the pre-1800 period.  Unfortunately, there is no number code for pre-1800 courses.  The module descriptions in the Academic Calendar list all courses that focus on the period before 1800 except for those offered on a purely temporary basis, called Special Topics classes.  Special Topics classes that satisfy the pre-1800 distribution requirement are listed on the Department website, in the Course Information Section of the part of the website labelled “Undergraduate.”

III. Courses at Different Levels

First and Second Year Courses - Courses in Years 1 and 2 are typically lectures with enrollment generally larger than 25 students (up to 250 students). In most of these courses, except for those offered at the 2100 level, students meet weekly in small tutorials to analyze documents and debate historical arguments.  Most third and fourth year courses are seminars.

A. Introductory Courses – Year 1 (Courses numbered 1000)

All students who plan to pursue any module in History must take one of these courses and earn a 60% or higher in the course.

B. 2100-level courses – Open to Students from across the Campus, with no priority given to students in History modules

All students, including those from other departments and faculties at Western, may enroll in 2100-level classes without seeking any form of special permission.  They are aimed at students who are not enrolled in a History module, but majors, specialization, honours specializations, and minors may take them.  All History 2100 courses are non-essay courses.  Students in History major, specialization, or honours specialization should keep in mind that they can count a maximum of 1.0 non-essay course towards their module.  2100 level classes do not satisfy the Geographic Distribution Requirement.

C. More Advanced or Focused Courses – Open to Students from across the Campus, in the case of 3000 and 4000 classes, a requirement that students have taken History classes at the 2200-2999 level

The History Department offers a broad range of upper level lectures and seminars to permit students to pursue their interests in a more intensive fashion. All students, including those from other departments and faculties at Western, may enroll in classes number from 2200 to 2999 without seeking any form of special permission or having taken the Department’s introductory classes.  Most 3000-level classes and all 4000-level classes are seminars (capped at 22 and 18 students respectively) that require active engagement by all participants.  In these classes professors grade all student assignments. The coursework is generally more demanding than at the 2000 level. These classes can also be used to satisfy the Geographic and Pre-1800 Requirements.  Classes at the 3000 level generally require that students have taken one history course at the 2200 level and above, and courses at the 4000 level require students to have taken two classes at the 2200 level or above.  These prerequisites may be waived for students from other departments and faculties who are able to demonstrate to the instructor that they have the skills necessary to succeed. Students must obtain a Special Permissions form to permit enrollment when this is the case. Students in all modules are encouraged to consider taking both 3000- and 4000-level classes.