New requirements at George Washington University in Washington, D.C. have taken away the U.S. history requirement for history majors.
As a result of a change in department requirements, history majors at George Washington University are no longer required to take a U.S. history course in order to graduate. Although professors claim that most student opt to take a U.S. history course voluntarily, it is now possible to receive a history degree from George Washington University without studying United States history.
The change was made to “recruit students” to the major in the increasingly “globalized” world. Denver Brunsman, an associate professor of history at George Washington claimed that the change allows students to study history from an increasingly globalized perspective.
“I think an important change in the history major has been to make our major actually reflect the field of history the way that historians study it now,” Brunsman said. “In the past – and I think our old standards reflected this – it was very common to have students take a class in American history, in European history and maybe, just maybe, something else, another part of the world.”
The changes also allow students to set a specific concentration such as military history or women’s history. Students seeking an expertise in a specific geographic region are also able to further specialize in their area of focus by foregoing the U.S. history requirement.
“If you are interested in international affairs, in foreign affairs, and you want to do an East Asian concentration at the Elliott School and you can specialize in East Asian history, you are going to be better qualified than the run-of-the-mill graduate when you get out of here,” explained Thomas Long, an assistant professor of history.