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Orientation guide

2022–2023 orientation for newly-admitted students 

Welcome to the Department of History!

Your letter of acceptance is the first important document you receive from Concordia. It contains:

  1. Your student ID number
  2. The number of credits needed to complete your degree (90, 108, or 120)
  3. The program you are in (e.g., Major in History, Specialization in English and History)
  4. Your exemptions, if any (such as HIST 203)
  5. Your advanced standing (transfer credits), if applicable

Degree requirements

Program vs. degree requirements

Your program may require 42 or 60 credits, but your degree can require anywhere from 90 to 120 credits, depending on the basis of your admission. You may take a minor (which can range from 24 to 30 credits) to consolidate some or most of your remaining credits into a discipline of interest; however, this is not required. 

The 24 elective credits rule

24 of your elective credits must be outside of your history program. If you take a minor in another department, this would satisfy that requirement. 

General education requirement

In order to satisfy the Arts and Science general education requirement, at least six of your elective credits must come from courses offered by the:

  • Faculty of Engineering and Computer Science;
  • Faculty of Fine Arts;
  • John Molson School of Business; or
  • Social Science* and Science** sectors of the Faculty of Arts and Science

*Social Science:

  • Applied Human Sciences;
  • Economics;
  • Education;
  • Geography, Planning and Environment;
  • Political Science;
  • Religion;
  • School of Community and Public Affairs;
  • Sociology and Anthropology;
  • Simone de Beauvoir Institute.


  • Biology;
  • Chemistry/Biochemistry;
  • Exercise Science;
  • Mathematics and Statistics;
  • Physics;
  • Psychology;
  • Science College

Courses from the following departments DO NOT count toward the general education requirement for History students:

  • Classics, Modern Languages and Linguistics
  • Communication Studies
  • English
  • Études françaises
  • History
  • Journalism
  • Liberal Arts College
  • Loyola International College
  • Philosophy
  • School of Canadian Irish Studies
  • Theological Studies


Concordia University has two campuses: Sir George Williams (SGW) downtown and Loyola in Notre-Dame-de-Grâce (NDG).

History courses are all held downtown, however, some of your elective courses may be offered at either campus.

You should always make sure that you have enough time to get from one campus to the next, especially during the winter months when snow can delay you. If you use the Concordia shuttle bus, you should leave a minimum of 30 minutes between courses — the travel time between both campuses is approximately 20 minutes. Always carry your Concordia ID card as the shuttle bus driver may ask for identification.

Course selection/registration

There are two references you will use throughout your studies at Concordia, particularly in terms of program requirements and registration. Both can be found under the Quick links then STUDY RESOURCES on the main web page.

  1. The first, and most important tool, is the Undergraduate Class Schedule. This is where you find the actual course offerings with the times, days and room numbers in which the courses will take place. 
  2. The second is the Undergraduate Calendar. Simply put, this is a reference tool for academic dates, university policies, program offerings and requirements, and brief course descriptions. You should not use the Calendar when selecting your courses as not all the courses listed therein are actually being offered during the academic year. Please refer to the course descriptions and offerings listed on the departmental website.

Registration tip: if you are unable to get a class you really want, register first for a back-up course and then use the Swap feature to put yourself on the Wait List. You are limited to two wait list courses per term, so please choose wisely. See the Student Hub for more registration tips.

Also important to note: the system will not tell you if there is a time conflict with another class when you put yourself on the Wait List; you must therefore pay close attention to your schedule or you will never move up the Wait List. 

About error messages: if you see that a class is open (green circle) but you are unable to register for it, chances are, it’s because you’re not in a program offered by the department offering the course. Most departments reserve a fairly large portion of seats in their courses for students enrolled in one of their programs so that they will be able to take the courses required by their program. The message will tell you to contact your department about this course; however, what you should do, if you don’t understand why you are unable to register, is contact the department that is offering the course. For example, if you are a History student and you are trying to register for a Political Science course (POLI) and run into an error, you must contact the Department of Political Science. 

Full-time vs. part-time status

In order to be considered a full-time student for the purpose of loans and bursaries, you must be registered in at least 12 credits per term — or four 3-credit courses. The maximum allowed is 15 credits per term.   

If you intend to study full-time, three of your courses each term should be in History

Although there is a selection of required courses you must take to meet your program requirements, you do not necessarily have to take them in a specific order.

Note: 300-level courses are restricted to students who have successfully completed at least 24 university credits.

A good schedule for your first year might look something like this (keep in mind that this is just a suggestion):

3 credits HIST 200 Introduction to History (This is a First Year Seminar on a focused topic)*
3 credits Chosen from History of Asia or Africa courses**
3 credits Chosen from History of the Americas courses**
3/6 credits Elective courses
3 credits Chosen from Global/Thematic/Public History** 
3 credits Chosen from History of Europe courses**
3/9 credits Elective courses

*HIST 200 Introduction to History: A new curriculum that comes into effect in the Fall 2022 term will include for all History program students the introductory HIST 200, a First Year Seminar that takes a “deep dive” into a historical subject. These small classes, each taught by one of the department’s professors, both explore the focused topic of the course and introduce students to historical skills: how historians make arguments, how they use historical evidence and other scholars’ writing, and how they communicate their ideas. There are several sections of HIST 200 offered in each of the Fall and Winter term, each with a different topic. The other History Major requirements ask students to take courses at introductory, intermediate, and advanced levels and to explore different fields of history through breadth requirements. 

**Please refer to your program guide for a detailed list of the courses that fall within this category. 

Tip: it’s best to take a maximum of four courses in the fall term to see how you do. You can register for five courses for the winter term, but then drop one if you find that, after your first semester, four is more than enough. Many students coming from college/CEGEP will have taken seven or eight courses each term, and will think that they can easily manage five courses; however, be advised that university courses are far more demanding and will require much more time. For each course, you should dedicate about 10 hours per week.

At all costs, protect your GPA — this will follow you throughout your academic career and may hinder future academic pursuits. If you feel overwhelmed, or don’t understand the expectations, please speak to your instructors before things get out of hand. Be aware of the DNE (Did Not Enter – dropping a class with a full refund) and the DISC (Discontinue a class with no academic repercussions, but no refund) deadlines. These dates can be found under the Quick Links then Important academic dates on the main web page.

The Student Success Centre provides many services to help new students navigate everything from finding your way around as well as providing learning support and everything in between. They can be reached at:

  • SGW: 514-848-2424, ext. 3921
  • Loyola: 514-848-2424, ext. 3555

As well, please feel free to come to us with any questions you might have about your progress, any difficulties you might be experiencing, etc. If we can’t help you, we’ll try to point you in the right direction so that you can get the assistance you need.

Contact us

Undergraduate Program Directors 

Specialization, Major, Minor in History

Dr. Shannon McSheffrey
Office: LB 1001.23

Honours (Seminar, Essay, Public History with Internship)

Dr. Wilson Jacob
Office: LB 1041.19

Undergraduate Program Assistant

Helene Medeiros
Office: LB-1001.03
Telephone: 514-848-2424, ext. 2435

Law and Society Enrolment Coordinator

Alycia Manning
Office: LB 1001.16
Telephone: 514-848-2424, ext. 5049

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