Major in History

History is the study of human experience, characterized by its attention to the local and global contexts in which people live and work, travel and exchange, love, fight, and create. Students of history enter into an exciting world of debates about how best to understand past human experience—cultural, social, economic, and political—and the implications of different historical understandings for the present. Rethinking and revising accepted historical conclusions is one of the most important and compelling tasks of the historian.

The History major at NYUAD is designed to rethink and revise conventional features of the discipline. The program emphasizes global connections and organizes its curriculum around four expansive and interconnected zones: the Atlantic, Asia-Pacific, Indian Ocean, and Mediterranean Worlds. All history courses address topics and questions applicable to contemporary problems and concerns, from a variety of global perspectives, including: processes of environmental change and efforts at conservation and sustainability; the development of capitalism and its alternatives; the innovation and travel of novel ideas, designs and artistic and literary forms; changing understandings of the body and approaches to public health and medicine; the dynamism and complexity of cities; the origins of war and peace; and more.

Students wishing to develop regional expertise with regard to the history of Abu Dhabi, the United Arab Emirates, and the Gulf will find find ample opportunity to do so in History classes, many of which include experiential learning opportunities in the form of class trips.

History majors develop a foundation of knowledge that is both genuinely globally comparative and regionally grounded. They acquire the theoretical and methodological tools necessary to undertake their own historical research, using primary documents in ways that meet the highest intellectual standards. They learn to find, analyze, and interpret many different kinds of evidence; to organize it into a coherent whole; and to present it clearly in written or oral form. Having mastered historical methods of research and thinking, majors graduate well prepared for advanced study and teaching in history, and for the pursuit of many professions including policymaking, law, public health, teaching, politics, diplomacy, and business.

History majors are required to take History and Globalization as well as Writing History (both courses must ideally be completed by the fall of junior year) and a minimum of six additional elective courses that meet the following distributive requirements: at least one global thematic course; at least two courses in two different regional areas (Indian Ocean, Asia-Pacific, Atlantic, and Mediterranean); and at least one course that primarily covers a period before 1800.

The Capstone project, also required for majors, is a two-semester sequence during senior year. Double majors writing their Capstone project in a different program are required to take two additional history electives.



10 courses, distributed as follows:

  • 2 Required Courses: History and Globalization; Writing History
  • 6 Electives: including 1 Gobal Thematic course; 2 courses in two different regional areas (one of them must be a pre-1800 course)
  • 2 Capstone: Seminar and Project

Capstone in History

The Capstone project in History represents the culmination of your work in the History major. It is a substantial piece of written scholarship that enables you to explore an historical topic that is of particular interest to you and to make a scholarly contribution to ongoing discussions surrounding that topic. You are expected to work on your Capstone project throughout your senior year and, ideally, to conduct research on it during the previous summer. Your completed project should be a polished and professional example of scholarly research and writing.

On the basis of your proposal (submitted in the spring of your junior year), you will be assigned a faculty adviser. He or she will work with you as a supervisor and consultant throughout the process of researching and writing your Capstone project.

While you are expected to display a great deal of independence in the construction and execution of your project, your adviser can provide invaluable guidance and feedback. You should expect to meet with your adviser on a weekly basis once your senior year begins. (You are free to work out an alternative schedule in consultation with your adviser.)

History majors participate in the year-long Humanities Capstone Seminar, which is designed to complement the individual advising relationship. The seminar is a faculty-led work-in-progress group, in which Capstone writers will discuss research methods and problems across the humanities and learn to communicate their ideas to non-specialists. The seminars will keep students on a common schedule designed to allow sufficient time for revision of a complete draft before the final due date.