The basic requirement is 32 credits of work in history with a grade of C or higher, 20 of which must be earned within the History Department of Grinnell College, with at least two 300-level history seminars taken at Grinnell (each taught by a different professor). All students must take HIS 100, as well as courses at the 200-level in at least three different geographic regions. With permission, four of the 32 credits may be taken in related studies, and/or up to eight credits in off-campus study. The department strongly recommends that students complete a history curriculum that embraces chronological diversity by including at least one course that focuses on history before 1850 and at least one course on history after 1850. Since knowledge of mathematics and foreign languages is essential for serious study of history, the department also recommends that students take at least one course in quantitative analysis and the equivalent of at least three semesters of a modern foreign language or two semesters of a classical language. To be considered for honors in history, graduating seniors, in addition to meeting the College's general requirements for honors, must have achieved a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.6 and a major GPA of 3.7 by the end of their seventh semester, and completed both recommended and required work listed above by the end of their final semester.

Planning the Major Form