Top Ranked Colleges Don’t Require History Majors to Study U.S. History

College students

College students / Blend Images via AP


Several elite colleges do not require students pursuing a history degree to take U.S. history courses, according to a new American Council of Trustees and Alumni report.

Only 23 of the 76 institutions ranked as "the best" by U.S. News & World Report’s 2016 rankings mandate that history majors take at least one course in U.S. history, the Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday.

The chairman of the history department at Carleton College, a private liberal arts school in Minnesota, said that history majors are not required to take a single U.S. history course because the university is "committed to the idea that all histories are important and valuable in the cultivation of a robust civic consciousness."

He noted that many students had already received high scores on the Advanced Placement U.S. history exam.

History students at the University of Pennsylvania meanwhile only have to take a course in four of five geographic areas, leaving the opportunity that history students could avoid the United States, though spokesman Ron Ozio told the Wall Street Journal "that almost never occurs."

At the University of Texas at Austin, history students can partially complete their U.S. history requirement by taking a course called "Jews in American Entertainment."

According to the Wall Street Journal:

The association said in its report that the absence of mandates that history majors take U.S. history classes with chronological and thematic breadth is "a truly breathtaking abandonment of intellectual standards and professional judgment."

Natalie Johnson

Natalie Johnson   Email Natalie | Full Bio | RSS
Natalie Johnson is a staff writer at the Washington Free Beacon. Prior to joining the Free Beacon, she was a news reporter at the Daily Signal. Johnson’s work has been featured in outlets such as Newsweek, Fox News and Drudge Report. She graduated from James Madison University in 2015 with a B.A. in political science and journalism. She can be reached at Her twitter handle is @nataliejohnsonn.

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