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History 102 or 103: What's the Difference? Which should I take?

History is not a useless major

An excellent analysis of extensive survey data show that history majors end up working in a diverse range of fields, and making a decent living.

SPRING 2021 History Course Descriptions

Click on the course title to see a list of open sections.

HIST 102 Political & Social History of the United States, to 1877

A study of United States history tracing the development of American ideals and actions from the Pre-Revolutionary Period through the Civil War Era. Major political, social, economic, and cultural factors will be presented focusing on the roles played by the diverse peoples and cultures who shared in the development of United States history. An emphasis may be placed on one or more of these factors.

HIST 103 Political & Social History of the United States, since 1877

A survey of cultural, diplomatic, economic, ethnic, political and social trends in recent United States history from 1877 to the present, focusing on the roles played by the diverse peoples and cultures who shared in the development of the United States. An emphasis may be placed on one or more of these factors.

HIST 110 African/American History

This course is a survey of the political, legal, economic, and social position and role of African-Americans in the history of the United States. Special emphasis will be given to the contributions of African-Americans in all aspects of American culture.

HIST 120 History of California

This course is an historical examination of the cultural, political, and economic forces that have shaped contemporary California. It focuses on the roles played by the diverse people who shared in its development from early Native American societies through the Spanish and Mexican periods and U.S. conquest to the present.

HIST 210 Post World War II United States History

This lecture/discussion course examines and analyzes the development of the United States from 1945 to the present. Attention is given to the political, social, intellectual, cultural, and economic changes in American society. Included as areas of inquiry will be the impact of the Cold War on foreign and domestic policies and society; the effect of social protest movements on society; the interconnected influence of economic, demographic, and cultural changes on policy and society; the expansion and contraction of the social welfare state; the ways that the Vietnam conflict, emergence of multiculturalism, and the new environmentalism have shaped contemporary policy and attitudes, and the pervasive and lasting influence of mass culture, technology and media.

HIST 230 History of Mexico

This course is an examination of the origins and evolution of the cultural, social, economic and political institutions, trends, events, issues, and leading personalities of Mexican History from the Pre-Columbian period to contemporary society.

HIST 235 History of Latin America

This course is a study of the history of Latin America from the development of pre-Columbian cultures to the present. The experiences of individual countries are studied as an integrated whole focusing on the roles played by the diverse peoples and cultures who shaped their development. Major political, economic, social and cultural factors and issues are presented.

HIST 242 Western Civilization

History 242 is a survey course in the history of modern Europe and the Western world from the mid-seventeenth century to the present. It emphasizes broad economic, social and changing political trends, with special attention given to the role of science, the arts and technology in creating the modern world.

HIST 245 World Civilization, Antiquity to 1500

This is a survey course of the roots and development of civilizations in Africa, the Americas, Asia, and Europe from the Neolithic Revolution until the age of European exploration of the Americas (1500). The civilizations of Ancient, Classical, Postclassical, and Early European periods will be studies, emphasizing interaction between civilizations and major cultures.

HIST 246 World Civilization 1500 to Present

This is a survey course of the origin of the modern world, tracing both regional histories and global interactions. The root and development of civilizations in Africa, the Americas, Asia, and Europe from the 1500’s to the present day will be chronicled. Topics will include: the origins and the role of universal religions; the examination of political, social, and gender structures in relation to economic and demographic development; and the diffusion of culture and technology via migration, commerce and the expanse of empire.

HIST 250 History of England, Britain, and the Commonwealth

History 250 is a survey of the history and institutions of Britain, the British Empire and The Commonwealth from the Norman Conquest to the present. It will focus upon medieval and early modern England, the creation of the first and second British Empires, and upon the development of Britain's economic, political and social institutions since the Glorious Revolution. The evolution of The Commonwealth and developing relations with the United States will also be studied.

HIST 275 Global Studies

In this course students study the patterns and processes of global change and international institutions in the post-World War II period. Students are introduced to an array of concepts and theoretical perspectives to understand the global conditions that act as catalysts to world problems and challenges. This course examines how the world community organizes its responses to serious international problems.

History 102 or 103: What's the Difference? Which Should I Take?

Most academic programs at Cerritos College, whether for the AA degree or to transfer to a four-year university, require students to take one course in United States history. You have your choice of two courses to fulfill this requirement: History 102 or History 103.

Both courses introduce the history of the United States, and are intended for first- or second-year college students. For non-history majors, either one of the three will be the only American history course you need for your requirements. You don't have to (and most students won't) take History 102 before History 103. The prerequisites are the same for both classes: readiness for college-level reading and writing, as demonstrated by classes (Reading 54 and English 52) or placement tests. None of the three classes require, or expect, prior knowledge of United States history.

So what's the difference?

  • History 102 covers the first half of American History, from colonization to after the Civil War.
  • History 103 covers the second half of American History, from 1877 to the present.

So choose one based on what's most interesting to you. If you're interested in American Indian life before colonization, or in George Washington and Abigail Adams and the other founders, or in African American slavery, or in the Revolutionary War or the Civil War, then History 102 is the course for you.

If you'd rather learn about Teddy Roosevelt and Jane Addams, World Wars I and II, the Great Depression, the Civil Rights Movement and the Women's Movement, Ronald Reagan and Hillary Clinton, then History 103 is the course for you.

If you are planning to major in History or Political Science at a four year university, you will likely be required to take both parts of a two-part United States history survey, either before you transfer or after. (Check the requirements for your major at the institution you plan to attend.) If you are in the Teacher TRAC program or planning to become a K-5 teacher, you will need History 102.

Note: Cerritos used to have a course called History 101, which covered all of American history. If you have been a student for more than a few years, or are coming back to Cerritos after time away, you may have taken History 101. It is not offered at Cerritos College anymore, but if you took it already, it should meet the same general education requirements as History 102 or History 103.

 If you have any questions, feel free to contact any of the History faculty.

--George Jarrett, Professor, History

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