Carnegie Mellon University

Social & Political History Requirements

What is Social & Political History?

Social & Political History (SPH) is a research- and writing-intensive major that emphasizes analysis of change over time and in-depth understanding of the societies, cultures, economies, political systems and conflicts that have shaped our world.

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History 79-104

Global Histories (9 units)

Students are required to take 79-104 Global Histories, which is a general education requirement for students in the Dietrich College and Tepper School of business. Global Histories gives students an important global perspective to understand the broad trends in the development of the modern world. Students have the ability to choose between several compelling versions of Global Histories.

History 79-200

Intro to Historical Research and Writing (9 units)

History 79-420

Historical Research Seminar (12 units)

The core of the major consists of two research courses, each which help students develop top-flight analytic thinking and writing skills. It is recommended that students take 79-200 Intro to Historical Research and Writing during their Junior year (it is offered every semester) and 79-420 Historical Research Seminar, in the Fall of their Senior Year. The Historical Research Seminar is a fantastic springboard for launching a Senior Honors Thesis, preparing a writing sample for graduate or professional school, or simply pursuing a passionate interest in particular topic.

Students are required to complete 18 units (typically two 9-unit classes) of Historical Survey Courses. Survey courses allow students to see the “big picture” of historical drama as it unfolds across major regions of the world. Students can choose -200 level courses on the United States, Russia, Africa, Europe, the Middle East, Latin America, China, and more to complete their Historical Survey Course requirement.

Students are required to complete 45 units of elective courses. Electives allow SPH majors to pursue their intellectual curiosity across a broad range of topics, places, and times. Electives may be satisfied through either full semester (9 unit) or mini (6 unit) courses. Additional historical survey courses also count towards fulfilling the elective requirement.

Students may also satisfy their SPH elective requirement by taking up to 27 units from courses outside the Department of History that have sufficient historical content. A full list of pre-approved courses is available in the course catalog.