History Major degrees are for students interested in investigation of the past across a wide range of periods and themes.  Students learn research methods and ways to analyze historical sources.  They also learn to engage diverse points of view, to create arguments from many types of sources and to present their arguments effectively both orally and in writing.


  • GPA of 2.0 in 6 units of introductory History (of those 3 units must be chosen from the following: HSTR 112, 112A, 112B, 210A, 210B, 220A, 220B, 230A, 230B, 236, 240A, 240B, 265A, 265B, 267A, 267B)
  • 15 units of History courses numbered 300 and above. Of these 15 units, a minimum of 6 and a maximum of 12 units should be selected from one area of interest (American, British, Canadian, European, Asian and World/Comparative). You are strongly advised to select 9 units of non-History courses in consultation with the Majors' Adviser.
  • Early History and Geographical breadth requirements (see below)
  • All Major students must also complete at least one seminar course (400-level). This course can qualify as meeting either breadth requirement 1 or 2 below.

If you are interested in pursuing a Major in History you should consult the Majors Advisor in your first year if possible. Students are required to declare a major by the end of their second year.

Contact your adviser

General and Minor

History may be taken as one field of concentration in a General Program, or as a Minor.

Normally, you should complete 6 units of introductory History courses at the 100 or 200 level and 9 units of History courses at the 300 or 400 level.

A maximum of 1.5 units taken from GRS 331, 332, 333, 341, 342, 345, 346, 347, 480A and 480C, and MEST 308 may be accepted in lieu of a course in history. Other than these, courses in the various studies programs (CS, ES, EUS, GERS, GRS, IS, MEDI, MEST, PACI, RS, RUSS, WS) cannot be counted towards the General and Minor, the Major or the Honours degrees (exception: Special Topics courses may be considered on an ad hoc basis).

History Students may also be interested in a Minor in Museum Studies


Honours students study history more independently and intensively than is possible in the Major and General Programs. They are encouraged to think critically and to deepen their understanding of both the content and craft of history.

The Honours Seminar (HSTR 496) explores historical methodology and the Honours Thesis (HSTR499) is a research project normally based on primary sources. A Third-Year Honours Essay (HSTR 497) is optional.

The Honours Program is for any interested and talented student of history wanting to achieve an excellent education in the liberal arts, and is especially useful for students contemplating graduate work in history or careers in senior secondary teaching, journalism, law, library science or government service.


Admission to the Honours Program normally requires a minimum overall GPA of 6.0 as well as a minimum of 6.0 in 6 units of History courses, of which at least 3 units should be at the 100 or 200 level. These 6 units are not counted towards the 18 units of upper-level History required within the Honours Program. Application for admission to the Honours Program can be made as early as the spring of second year. Applications as late as the summer after third year will also be considered.


  • HSTR 496 and HSTR 499
  • 12.0 units of 300 and 400 level History courses* (a minimum of 3.0 units must be from outside the students are aof interest).
  • Early History and Geographical Breadth requirements

*May include HSTR 497

An Honours degree requires a graduating GPA of at least 5.0 and a GPA of at least 5.0 in Honours courses (HSTR 497 if taken, 499, 496). Candidates whose performance is unsatisfactory may be required to transfer from the Honours Program to the Major Program. Admission to the fourth-year Honours Program is conditional upon satisfactory performance in the third year.

Students are also required to demonstrate a reading knowledge of a language other than English by passing, with a grade of C or higher in each course, 3.0 units of 200-level language courses (FRAN 180 is also acceptable), or by passing a special translation examination administered by the Department of History.

*Note: The requirements for Majors, Minor and Honours are for students admitted to UVic in May 2014 or later. Students admitted prior to that should consult the 2019 -20 calendar for requirements.

Course structure

Introductory courses are at the 100 and 200 levels. The 100-level courses are global and thematic histories. The 200-level courses are surveys of national and regional histories.

Advanced courses are at the 300 and 400 level. The 300-level courses are lectures or lectures/discussion combinations. The 400-level courses are discussion seminars.

Students should complete introductory courses in a given area before taking advanced courses in the same area. History courses require substantial written and reading assignments.

Breadth requirements

To ensure sufficient breadth in their programs of study, all Honours and Major students are required to take:

  1. at least one 1.5-unit course at any level which meets the Early History breadth requirement;
  2. at least one 1.5-unit course at any level which meets the Geographical breadth requirement by having a focus outside of Britain, Europe, or North America, and at least 1.5-unit course at any level with a focus within Britain, Europe, or North America.
  3. at least one 1.5-unit course at any level with a focus within Britain, Europe, or North America.
Breadth requirements 1, 2 and 3 must be met by taking 3 separate courses.
Seminar Requirement: All Major students must also complete at least one seminar course (400-level). This course can qualify as meeting any of the breadth requirements above.

Courses that meet the Early History breadth requirement

Courses that meet the Geographical breadth requirement with focus outside of Britain, Europe or North America

Courses meeting the Geographical breadth requirement by having a focus within Britain, Europe, or North America


For Major and Honours programs a maximum of 3.0 units, and for all General and Minor programs a maximum of 1.5 units, may be substituted from GRS 314, 315, 331, 332, 333, 335, 336, 337, 341, 342, 344, 348, 349, 350, 376, 381, 442, 443, 461, 480A, 480C and MEST 308 for a course in European history. (Special topics courses in the various studies programs [Canadian Studies, Environmental Studies, European Studies, Gender Studies, Germanic Studies, Greek and Roman Studies, Indigenous Studies, Medieval Studies, Mediterranean Studies, Pacific and Asian Studies, Religion, Culture and Society, Slavic Studies] may only be considered on an ad hoc basis.)