General Education History Requirements

The General Education history requirement is designed to help provide the foundation of a liberal arts education.


Beginning Fall 2016, the general education requirement in History can be met by 4 hours of any of our HIST 102 and HIST 103 courses.  As a 100-level course, it should be taken during the freshman or sophomore year. Students should design their schedules to meet this requirement early in their college careers. 

HIST 102 & HIST 103.  Exploring the Past.  An introduction to the discipline of history for non majors that equips students for life-long learning by helping them to understand why Christians value study of the past and by giving them the tools to investigate it.  Though in-depth exploration of a critical period, concept, source, or event in the past--analyzed within an explicitly comparative or cross-cultural framework--the course demonstrates history's ability to explain human interaction in an increasingly complex world and to promote thoughtful study of cultural and geographical difference.  Students will learn to appreciate historical knowledge, engage in historical reasoning, develop historical consciousness and practice historical reflection.

HIST 102 courses explore global topics.  HIST 103 course explore topics in U.S. History.

Students with special situations not addressed below should contact the History Department Chair, Dr. Tracy McKenzie.

Entering Freshmen - The History General Education requirement may be met by any of the above courses or by:

  • Advanced Placement Test in World History
  1. A score of 4 or 5 meets the requirement.
  2. A score of 3 satisfies 2 hours of credit; student must enroll in HIST 131 to satisfy the remaining 2 hours of needed credit.
  3. Scores below 3 must enroll in HIST 105 or 115.
  • Students with International Baccalaureate exam credit in history should contact the registrar's office for information about equivalency. (A minimum IB score of 5 is required for consideration.)

Transfer Students - The History General Education requirement should be met as follows:

  • Transfers with no history should enroll in History 101, 105, 111 or 115.
  • Transfers who have 3 or 4 hours or more in approved World History courses have met the requirement. Approved courses are of a general character, with broad chronological scope. Advanced courses of limited chronology and cultural scope are not approved, e.g. Modern German History.
  • Transfer students submitting credits in U.S. History only have not met the requirement and should enroll in HIST 101, 105, 111 or 115.

Education Students - Students seeking teacher certification meet the History General Education requirement differently, as part of their Social Science requirement:

Students seeking certification for public school teaching must take 8 hours of history, 4 hours in United States history (HIST 351 or 352) and 4 hours in world history (HIST 334 Asia, HIST 331 Africa, or HIST 292 Latin America) to meet the general education requirement in history. If a student clearly intended to pursue teacher certification but did not complete the process, these courses will still meet the general education requirement. To fulfill the Social Science requirement, the student also must take PSCI 135 American Politics and Government.

Transfer Credit Policy for current Wheaton Students - Students currently enrolled in Wheaton College who wish to satisfy the History General Education requirement must follow the guidelines below before enrolling in a course they wish to transfer. These policies do not affect classes transferred as elective credit in history; they only apply to general education.

Any course to be transferred for history general education credit must be approved by the History Department.

  • A list of approved courses can be obtained here or from the History Department Office Coordinator Nancy Underwood.
  • Students wishing to take a course not already on the approved list, should submit a syllabus and a Department “Application for Transfer Credit” to the department for approval prior to enrolling in the course . Approval should be secured during the academic year since department faculty may not be available during the summer months. Syllabi will be evaluated based on the following criteria:
  • The breadth of chronology, geography, and culture is suitable for a foundational liberal arts course in world history. Courses in western or European history are no longer accepted. The course should also reflect a concern for diversity, e.g. gender diversity, ethnic diversity, or the interaction between the West/Europe and the world.
  • Requirements meet basic standards for a lower-division, 3- or-4-credit, college-level course. These standards include:
  1. Reading : 1,200-page minimum, including both standard textbooks and supplemental primary and secondary sources. Usually this would entail a textbook, a selection of primary sources, and at least one additional text (monograph).
  2. Writing: Six typed pages minimum.
  3. Discussion: Eight scheduled discussion periods or equivalent minimum.
  4. Exams: Two exams (mid-term and final) minimum.
  5. Contact hours: 40 minimum (generally refers to on-campus courses).
  6. Duration of course: 4 weeks minimum. (generally on-line courses).

The department will exercise discretion in accepting syllabi that reflect a workload equivalent to the minimum standards listed above, even if the assignments did not correspond precisely. For example, a clearly defined group project might satisfy the discussion requirement. Or, a significantly increased writing requirement might replace one exam. Our purpose is to maintain standards of equivalency, not to insist on the letter of the law. Eventually we hope to assess syllabi on outcomes rather than course requirements.

How to request History Department approval of transfer courses to satisfy the History General Education requirement:

Complete the “Application for Transfer Credit” PDF form (also available in the History Department). Submit the form plus a syllabus for the proposed class. You usually can obtain a syllabus online or by e-mailing the professor or department. The syllabus you provide must be current and correspond to the specific course you wish to have approved. For example, if you intend to take an online course, the syllabus submitted should be from the online course, not a syllabus from the college's on-campus program. A representative syllabus from the previous year will be accepted as long as the course material corresponds to current course content. If your request is approved, we will notify you via e-mail, and you may stop by for Dr. McKenzie to sign the Registrar's transfer credit form (not the same at the History Department form)

Courses in U.S. history do not satisfy the history GE requirement, nor do specialized upper division history courses. Students should satisfy the general education requirement during their first or second year at Wheaton , as appropriate for a lower division course.

For questions concerning history general education transfer credit or the history general education program in general, contact the History Department Office Coordinator, Nancy Underwood.

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