George Washington University Removes U.S. History as a Requirement for History Majors

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By Andrew Stiles | 2:58 pm, December 22, 2016
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George Washington University has changed its course requirements for history major to no longer include U.S. history, the College Fix reports.

The university’s history department recently introduced new requirements with the stated aim of giving students greater flexibility to pursue their interests, and to “better reflect a globalizing world,” according to faculty.

Requirements in U.S., North American, and European history were eliminated, along with foreign language. Incoming history major will be required to take at least one introductory course, and may choose U.S. history as option. However, like many other universities, GWU allows incoming students to place out of the introductory courses by scoring well on Advanced Placement exams in high school.

It is therefore possible for a student to major in history at GWU without taking a single course on U.S. history. According to a report from the American Council of Trustees and Alumni, the same is true of about two-thirds of the leading universities in the country.

The GW Hatchet reported last month that the changes were motivated in part by a desire to attract more students to the history department, which has experienced a steady decline in enrollment since 2011.

“The main gain for students is that they have a great deal more flexibility than they had before, and they can adapt it to whatever their plans are for the future,” said Katrin Schultheiss, the department chair. “Whatever they want to do, there’s a way to make the history department work for them.”