Petitions for Credit in Related Fields

History is inherently an interdisciplinary form of inquiry, and historians routinely use the kinds of methodologies and insights taught in other departments’ courses. Therefore, the Department recently reduced course requirements to encourage students to take courses in other departments. History concentrators may also petition to receive History credit for non-departmental coursework in a "Related Field," which takes the place of one of the four elective courses in History. Normally, no more than one non-departmental course will be approved for Related Field credit during a student's time in the concentration. Courses in Related Fields are typically of three kinds: 1) non-Departmental courses of a historical nature for which the History Department offers no equivalent; 2) non-Departmental courses in the social sciences (literature, anthropology, sociology, economics, statistics, government, etc.) providing content or context that complements the student’s plan of study; or 3) non-Departmental courses that provide auxiliary skills (such as foreign languages or facility with statistical methods) that are crucial to the pursuit of their historical interests.

Concentrators who wish to submit a Related Fields Petition should use the form available at the link below (also available in hard copy from the Undergraduate Office): Related Fields Petition

In most cases, students will be required to submit a course syllabus with their petition, and provide a detailed explanation of the course’s relevance to their plan of study.

Students should complete the petition, attach a copy of the course syllabus (if required), and obtain the signature of their History House Advisor before bringing the petition to the History Undergraduate Office. The Director of Undergraduate Studies (DUS) reviews petitions on a rolling basis twice each academic year: during the four weeks surrounding Study Card day in the fall, and then again during the four weeks surrounding Study Card day in the spring. Petitions submitted outside of those windows will be put on file until the following term.


In determining whether or not to approve a Related Fields Petition, the DUS will consider the following guidelines:

  • Related Fields courses may not replace History 97 or the Reading and Research Seminar requirements.  
  • Courses not providing background knowledge or auxiliary skills directly relevant to a focused plan of study must meet a high standard of historical perspective—not only in their subject matter, but in the nature of the assignments. Students and their House Advisers should ask themselves, “Does this course require the kinds of readings and assignments that are typically found in History Department courses?” Students should be able to demonstrate that it would not be possible to take an equivalent course within the History Department.
  • All petitions are approved at the discretion of the DUS, in light of the Department’s objectives in providing an undergraduate education in History.