History Minor

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History is the foundation discipline of the Liberal Arts, those disciplines that encourage us to maintain open minds and be independent thinkers. A History Minor offers students the opportunity to study the past in greater depth, improve critical thinking, and enhance career options.

The History Minor is a 30-unit program that focuses on reading, research, and writing skills. It is also flexible enough so that students can follow their own particular interests. 

Advantages of the History Minor

Students pursue a History Minor for various reasons: to strengthen their undergraduate program; to increase their skills and, consequently, their career opportunities; and to broaden their intellectual perspectives.

National studies in recent years have pointed with alarm to the tendency in higher education to train students too narrowly. This phenomenon is no more apparent than in fields without sufficient exposure to the humanities. The study of history contributes to cultural literacy and develops critical thinking. Students gain a sense of perspective that comes from examining their own historical tradition and the traditions of other societies. It is this broad perspective that characterizes the students who receive a minor in History.

  • In technical fields, the History Minor will help to hone a student's skills in communication and critical thinking. Courses in history will train students to gather and weigh evidence, to understand multiple truths, and to arrive at conclusions based on independent thinking. Students can choose their own upper division courses. All will emphasize various methodologies and ways of thinking about the past. For Majors in the technical fields, studying for a History Minor will sharpen abilities to analyze and explain.
  • For students planning to teach, the History Minor will provide the specific training necessary to understand effectively the study of history and therefore teach it. In particular, it is an excellent program addition for non-history majors who hope to teach secondary social sciences. Courses included in the minor have been chosen so that the historical methodologies, the ways of thinking about the past, and the factual content can all be brought to bear in classroom instruction. New legislation mandates more exacting preparation in the teaching area for our public school instructors; the History minor will provide that training.
  • For majors in the business and professional world, the History Minor will address the complaints of company CEOs that students: display little skill in communicating that which they do know; show ignorance of the major cultural and political trends that have shaped modern history; and cannot define a problem, much less solve it. The History minor will remedy each of these educational shortcomings. American society is in desperate need of literate, imaginative, and resourceful people. The History Minor will help produce more graduates who can express conclusions in logical, clear language, who can evaluate alternative courses of action, and who are culturally literate.

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Who can apply for a minor in History?

The History Minor is open to all Cal Poly undergraduates. 

Students can "double-count" courses that are already part of their major requirements or electives they have taken at Cal Poly or at other universities. It is worthwhile for a prospective student to look over the requirements for the History Minor to see if some of the coursework has already been completed or will be completed as a part of fulfilling the requirements for their major.

Please visit the Cal Poly Catalog for the History Minor curriculum and course requirements.


Please visit the Cal Poly Catalog for the History Minor curriculum and course requirements.

How to Apply:

  1. Complete the application for 2022-26 here. After the form is completed the minor adviser will review it before approval and may contact you with further questions. If you have questions about the form or coursers, please contact Dr. Joel Orth, the history Minor adviser.
  2. Make sure you maintain a "C" average in the courses you take for the Minor. Students should be aware of current policy regarding CR/NCR. At least two-thirds of courses must be completed in residence at Cal Poly.
  3. The catalog in effect when the student declares or changes a Minor governs the requirements to be satisfied for the Minor. This protects students from possible changes in the Minor.

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