Skip to main content


About the major

All human happenings are embedded in particular times and places, and to understand the events you have to understand the context. Many of the units in our major concentrate on particular periods, places and cultures, from the medieval through to the present day, from Australia and China to the United States and Europe. Others take a thematic or transnational approach, encouraging you to think comparatively across different societies in relation to one another. All of them teach you how to interpret evidence critically and constructively, how to apply different historical approaches and methods to a particular question or problem, and how to shape an argument.

You begin with 1000-level units that teach you skills in interpreting evidence and placing events and trends in context. The core unit, History Workshop, takes you into a specific time and place, working closely with an expert in the field. Expansive survey units encourage you to think about change over long spans of time and across the globe.

After you’ve completed two 1000-level units, you can enrol in 2000-level units. At 2000 level you may study the histories of particular cities, nations or regions, or choose to explore specific issues (such as genocide, war, migration, or scandal) across different times and places. The 3000-level units challenge you with more specialised disciplinary training and expert understanding in a field or approach of your choice. The core unit, History and Historians, will introduce you to new methodologies and approaches to the past, and guide you through the stages of identifying an issue or debate, researching and understanding its different aspects, and shaping your own argument in response.

Requirements for completion

The History major and minor requirements are listed in the History unit of study table.

Advanced coursework

Requirements and units of study for advanced coursework can be found on the advanced coursework units of study page.


The honours year may be the most testing, but also the most rewarding, year of your studies. In your two seminars, you’ll grapple with problems in the theory and practice of history; for the thesis, you’ll formulate a significant historical problem and write a substantial piece of original research. An honours degree from Sydney will open doors to many careers, while giving you a taste of history as a vocation.

Each seminar requires approximately 6,000 words of written work and is worth 20% of the final honours mark. The thesis, 18,000-20,000 words in length, is worth 60% of the final honours mark.

Honours admission requirements

Admission into honours is via the Bachelor of Advanced Studies or Bachelor of Arts (Honours) and requires the completion of a major in History with an average of 70 percent or above and, where undertaking the Bachelor of Advanced Studies, completion of a second major. 
Prior to commencing honours, you will need to ensure you have completed all other requirements of the Bachelor of Arts or other bachelor degree, including Open Learning Environment (OLE) units.

Is it worth it? Yes. Honours is still the summit of experience in an undergraduate degree. You’ll find yourself in seminars with other students who, like you, are keen to discover and discuss new concepts, new material, new ways of thinking about the world we have lost and the world we have made. You get to work independently on a project of your own devising, but you also get the concentrated attention and support of your seminar leaders and supervisor, who will help you to achieve everything you imagine you are capable of, and often more. It is university education at its best – worth waiting for, planning for and working for.

Requirements and units of study for honours can be found on the History honours units of study page.

Contacts and further information