Students can minor in history as of winter 2017, the UCLA Department of History announced last week.
The minor will require seven courses: two lower division and five upper division courses. The history department will be hosting an open house to introduce the minor to students on Feb. 14 in Bunche 6275 from 1 to 3 p.m.
“This (history minor) really targets a broad cohort of students,” said Andrea Goldman, associate professor and vice chair for undergraduate affairs. “It’s designed for students who don’t have time to double major but really want to take courses in history.”
Previously, students could only minor in history of science and medicine, which describes the history and culture behind scientific disciplines such as physics, biology, chemistry and mathematics.
In 2011, a College of Letters and Science initiative decreased the number of units students were required to complete by graduation to 45 upper division units, Goldman said. The initiative, called Challenge 45, aimed to reduce the teaching workload for professors and refocus curricula on core courses while offering undergraduates reasonable flexibility in choosing courses.
Goldman said that though Challenge 45 had good intentions, it required the curricula of all majors to scale back the number of required electives. As a result, students from the social sciences drifted away from history courses that were no longer mandatory.
The department drafted a proposal to start the minor and faculty in the department unanimously voted to pass the proposal. The proposal then went through academic senate committees that decided on the minor’s curriculum. After two or three vetting stages, the committee approved the minor.
“I think it will be a popular minor,” Goldman said. “One of the reasons we created the minor was because it was student-driven.”
Goldman thinks students who find themselves in need of history courses to supplement their major, such as sociology students, will find the minor useful.
Goldman said the minor also allows students who may not need history courses for their major – but love the subject matter – to take such courses and have something to show for it on their transcripts.
“Especially in this day and age, it’s important to have a sense of history to understand where we are in the present,” Goldman said.
Adrienne Johnson, a first-year biology student, said she likes the idea of minoring in history.
“I actually applied as a history major and am very interested in history,” Johnson said. “I think it’s cool that they’re adding something so that if you’re interested in history you can take courses, but you don’t have to study it (extensively).”
Matthew Quesada, a fourth-year bioengineering student, said he isn’t interested in the minor, but thinks it offers another option for interested students.
Yuting Zhou, a first-year economics student, said she really wanted a minor in history and will definitely consider it now that she has the option.