Registering for HIS courses: General Information


1)  Register as soon as you are allowed to

We reserve a substantial proportion of our seats for HIS students. If some of those seats are unclaimed after a few weeks, non-history students can then take them. So, the longer you wait, the lower your chances of getting what you want.

2)  For students entering FOURTH year

Please note of difference between 4000 courses and 4000 seminars. If you are in honours, you need four seminars. If you are a major, you need one seminar and one course.

4000 courses and seminars are reserved for majors and honours-specialisation students. We unfortunately rarely have extra spots for non-majors, or for students who would like to take more than the number required to graduate. If somehow the system allows you to register in more seminars than you need, we may have no choice but to remove you from one of your extra seminars. (Otherwise, some students will not be able to graduate.)  But see question 3 of the FAQ below.

3)  For students entering SECOND year:

You need to take the methodology course by the end of your second year, since it is a prerequisite for 3000-level courses.

4) If you entered the program before the program changes (ie 2017 or earlier):

You do not need to fulfill the new methodology prerequisite (mentioned in point 3). Thus is you took any of the methodology courses (HIS2100, HIS2197, or HIS4390), you have fulfilled the requirement.  If you change program (from a major to honours BA, for instance), you likewise are under the old methodology requirements. 

5)  Inform us as soon as possible if you are having registration problems.

If you are a history student and are not able to register in a course you require to graduate, please contact or go in person to the Undergraduate office of the Faculty of Arts, Simard Building, Room 128 (phone : 613-562-5134 or 1-877-UOTTAWA (868-8292), ext. 5134).



1. How can I find more detailed course descriptions?  

You can find course titles and descriptions in the Undergraduate Course Guide Fall-Winter 2019-20 here.

2. I need one more seminar [or 3000-level or 4000-level course] to graduate, but they are all full. What can I do?

Send a request to with your student number, the program you are in (major, honours, etc.), the stage you will be at in your studies and the seminar information. 

For example:

 1. student number 1234567

                    2. honours history

        3. first semester, fourth year

        4. need one more seminar; could only register in three

        5. list of seminars that fit in your schedule, in order of preference 


3. I am pursuing a major in history and I would like to take more than one seminar because... I am doing a minor and I would like to take a seminar because... It is possible?

Send a request to the to the History department’s undergraduate program chair ( with your student number and your program (specialization, major, etc.) and briefly explain why you want to take the course. If there are seats remaining after students needing the course to complete their studies have enrolled, we can give you permission to register.


4. I am in third year and I would like to take a seminar or 4000 level course. Is this possible?

If there is space.  See question 3.


5. I cannot register a seminar or course that I really want. Can I do something?

There is a waiting list, so be patient. There is considerable movement in and out of courses in late August and early September, so if you are high on the list, your chances are good. The Faculty monitors waiting lists, and sometimes it is possible to increase class size.


6. I cannot take a particular course this year. Will it be given again next year?

Not always: 1000-level courses are given every year; courses at the 2000 level on 20th century history are generally offered every year; other 2000-level courses are generally given every two years; 3000-level courses are offered every two or three years (depending on availability of teaching staff). Course topics for most courses designated as “selected topics” change from year to year. 


 7.  How to identify seminars vs. 4000-courses?

If the title says “Seminar in…” it is a seminar. If it says “Selected topics in…” it is a course.


8. What is the difference between the major and the honours programs?

The most obvious difference is that the major requires 14 history courses, while the specialisation requires 20. This means that you can combine Honours with a Minor, but not with a Major. 
Specialisation will give you access to seminars in fourth year. Majors can (and must) take one seminar; honours specialisation can (and must) take four. Seminars are small discussion-oriented classes capped at 15 students. This is where you will be able to pursue a topic in depth (through research, presentations, discussion), and will work more closely with professors and fellow students. The Honours programs is more demanding, especially in fourth-year.  If you are thinking that you might one day be interested in pursuing a graduate degree, the Honours program provides the best preparation.


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