Types of Undergraduate Courses

The Undergraduate Record contains a list, with a brief description, of all departmental courses. This list is current to within about one year of the nominal date of the Record. Not all courses listed in the Record are taught in any given year; some are taught rarely.

See detailed descriptions of current courses here.

The following types of courses are available to undergraduate students.

  • 1500-LEVEL INTRODUCTORY SEMINARS are small classes for first- and second-year students. Enrollment is limited to 15 students per seminar. The purpose of these seminars is to introduce students to the study of history at the University level. Five to ten of these seminars, on a wide range of topics, are offered each term. These courses, which emphasize reading, writing, and discussion, automatically fulfill the College’s Second Writing Requirement. They meet once a week for 2.5 hours and are usually taught by regular department faculty.
  • 2000-LEVEL SURVEY LECTURE COURSES are offered every semester in many areas of history.  These courses cover a long period of time over an extensive geographic area.  They are as intensive and demanding as 3000-level courses.  Overall enrollment in these courses ranges from 40 to 180 students. These courses often feature two 50-minute lectures and a small 50-minute discussion section (maximum of 20 students) per week. In some cases, however, these courses meet twice a week in a combined 75-minute lecture/discussion format. Survey courses are offered by regular faculty, and discussion sections -- when offered as part of such a course -- are typically led by advanced graduate students.
  • 3000-LEVEL SPECIALIZED LECTURE COURSES are offered every semester in many areas of history. These are specialized courses that allow for deeper investigation of a topic or period than would be possible in a 2000-level survey. Overall enrollment in these courses ranges from 30 to 180 students. These courses often feature two 50-minute lectures and a small 50-minute discussion section (maximum of 20 students) per week. In some cases, however, these courses meet twice a week in a combined 75-minute lecture/discussion format. These courses are offered by regular faculty, and discussion sections -- when offered as part of such a course -- are led by advanced graduate students and/or faculty.
  • MAJOR (4501/4502) SEMINARS AND MAJOR (4511/4512) COLLOQUIA Every history major must take either a Major Seminar or a Major Colloquium. Over a dozen of these courses are offered each semester on a wide range of specialized topics. Students should have completed at least two History courses that are related in a fairly direct way to the topic of their Major Seminar or Colloquium. For this reason, majors typically take the Major Seminar or Colloquium in the third or fourth year. Enrollment in each of these courses is limited to 12 students, and is by instructor permission. (Non-majors may enroll if space is available and with instructor permission.) These courses meet once a week for 2.5 hours and are taught by regular faculty or by advanced graduate students who are completing dissertations in the subject area of the course. These courses automatically fulfill the College’s Second Writing Requirement.
  • Because all history majors are required to take a Major Seminar or Major Colloquium, the department has special policies in place for registration.
  • REGISTRATION FOR MAJOR SEMINARS AND COLLOQUIA

    Admission to Major Seminars (4501/4502) and Colloquia (4511/4512) is by instructor permission. Registration will take place through the electronic online permission list.  In the available comment box, indicate the courses that have prepared you for the seminar and your interest in the topic.  State if you are in the History Distinguished Majors Program (DMP) or are a fourth-year History major in the Masters of Teaching (MAT) program in order to obtain the necessary priority enrollment.  Each semester prior to the registration period students are sent an email with instructions, including the deadline for adding your name to the permission list.  History students are given enrollment priority. 

  • What is the difference between a Major (4501/4502) Seminar and a Major (4511/4512) Colloquium? Major Seminars are typically offered in areas of history that feature an abundance of English-language primary sources. The goal of the Major Seminar is for each student to produce a ca. 25-page research paper based on primary sources. Major Colloquia, by contrast, tend to be offered in areas of history in which there are few English-language primary sources available. As in a Major Seminar, students in a Major Colloquium are expected to produce ca. 25 pages of written work, although this written work is usually divided among several assignments of roughly equal length. Another difference between Major Seminars and Major Colloquia is that students in the latter often rely more on secondary sources (i.e., scholarly interpretations of the past) rather than on primary sources (e.g., diaries, memoirs, diplomatic papers) in their written work.

    There is no foreign language requirement for any of the Major Seminars or Major Colloquia. As in all undergraduate-level history courses, all readings are in English.

    NOTE: Only courses numbered 4501, 4502, 4511, or 4512 meet the Major Seminar/Major Colloquium requirement of the history major.

    4591 SEMINARS are small classes (maximum of 15 students) that focus on a particular area or topic of history. They are usually taught by regular faculty and emphasize reading, writing, and discussion. These courses meet once a week for 2.5 hours and are open to all undergraduates. They do NOT fulfill the Major Seminar or Major Colloquium requirement of the History major. Some, though not all, of these courses meet the College’s Second Writing Requirement.

  • 5000-LEVEL SEMINARS are small classes (maximum of 15 students) that focus on a particular area or topic of history. They are usually taught by regular faculty and emphasize reading, writing, and discussion. These courses, which are intended for upper-level undergraduates and beginning graduate students, meet once a week for 2.5 hours. While lower-level undergraduates may enroll in a 5000-level seminar, they are strongly advised to consult with their faculty adviser and the course instructor before doing so. Some, though not all, of these courses meet the College’s Second Writing Requirement.

Corcoran Department of History
University of Virginia
Nau Hall - South Lawn
Charlottesville, VA 22904

  

Contact:
(434) 924-7147
(434) 924-7891
M-F 8am to 4:30pm
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