I am a new student enrolling in 2018

What will you get out of a major in History?

  • You’ll develop a deep understanding of more than one period, place or culture of the past.
  • You’ll become conversant with variety of approaches to interpreting the past, including political, economic, social, cultural, intellectual, biographical, and transnational history.
  • You will learn how to set evidence in context and analyze it critically.
  • You’ll be able to articulate a complex problem and devise a research strategy to solve it.
  • You’ll develop the skills needed to construct an evidence-based argument or narrative in written, oral, visual, or digital form.

Requirements for the major

For students beginning in 2018 or later, a major in History consists of two 1000-level units in History, two 2000-level units in History, and four 3000-level units in History. One of the 3000-level units must be a ‘capstone’ unit (HSTY3901, HSTY3902, or HSTY3903). Although 1000-, 2000-, and 3000-level units are sometimes called ‘first-year’, ‘second-year’, and ‘third-year’, you have a lot of flexibility about when you complete each level. If you complete two 1000-level units in the first year of your degree, you can do your two 2000-level units the first semester of your second year and be on to 3000-level units in the second half of your second year.

For students who started in 2017 or earlier, the requirements are different. Those students have to complete two 1000-level units in History or Ancient History, one of the 3000-level capstone units, and five other 2000 or 3000 units in History.

The minor in History

A minor in History follows a similar pathway to the major, the main difference being that the minor doesn’t require such a broad range of subjects at 3000-level. For students beginning in 2018 or later, a minor in History consists of two 1000-level units in History, two 2000-level units in History, and two 3000-level units in History. You don’t have to complete one of the 3000-level ‘capstone’ units (HSTY3901, HSTY3902, or HSTY3903), but you can.

Fourth Year: Honours and Advanced Coursework

Students who start their undergraduate degrees in 2018 will be able to extend them by one year to earn a Bachelor of Advanced Studies (BAS). There are two options for your fourth year– Honours and Advanced Coursework.

For further information, see the Department of History’s 2018 Undergraduate Student Guide


Honours is a year-long program of advanced study entirely devoted to History. The Honours year dramatically extends what you have learned in your Bachelor’s degree. Honours in History at the University of Sydney is a valuable qualification–many of our Honours graduates go on to rewarding careers in the federal and state government, others in the private sector–because it nurtures both originality and discipline. You take two advanced seminars, one tackling methodological questions and one exploring a particular field (e.g. Australian history, American history) in depth, and you write a thesis on a historical question that you devise and research yourself, with the guidance of a supervisor. For some of you, the Honours year will be a critical step on the path to further study – a first-class Honours degree will equip you to undertake a PhD here or anywhere in the world. For others, it will be the culmination of your formal education, an experience that helps you refine your skills in research, analysis and writing, extend your intellectual range and develop the body of personal and professional skills you need to see a major project through to completion.

To be eligible to undertake Honours you'll need a major in History and a second major in your bachelor’s degree. Your second major might complement your History major–a relevant language, literary study, or a social science discipline, for instance–or it could have no direct connection with your historical studies. To do Honours you'll also need an average mark of 70% or higher in your 2000- and 3000-level History units.

Advanced Coursework

The Advanced Coursework program in History consists of 24 credit points of 4000-level History units: two 6-credit-point seminars an industry or community project worth 12 credit points. As well as these 24 credit points in in History, to you take 24 credit points of your choice of electives–including the rest of your second major, if you did not complete it by the end of your third year. The Advanced Coursework option will be offered for the first time in 2021.