Proficiency Exams

Examination Policies for Spring 2017 (Fall 2017 policies TBA)

  1. Proficiency examinations are set in essay format and will be given on the dates listed below and as determined by the Department of History. What follows are details of registration, recommended reading, and information about the tests.
  2. Proficiency examinations will be given during the second week of instruction of fall and spring semesters. Students may register to take exams during the two weeks preceding the scheduled tests.
  3. For SPRING 2017, students must register to take proficiency examinations with the department no later than Friday, January 20, 2016, by 12:00 PM Noon. Failure to register by noon will delay such examinations until the next testing period. Please note: You may only take a maximum of two proficiency exams. If you sign up for two, you must take one on January 23 and the other on January 24. Please indicate which exam you wish to take on which date. You may begin registering for History Proficiency Examinations on Monday, January 9, 2017, at this link:
  4. Proficiency examinations will be read and graded promptly. A passing grade is 70%. The results will be available at the front desk in 309 Gregory Hall on Monday, January 30, 2017, after 2 pm. This will enable students who are successful to drop and add courses within the time allowed.
  5. The Student Code prohibits examination for credit in a subject of elementary character if more than one course has already been taken in the subject. The Department interprets this rule to exclude students from taking the examination for HIST 172 if more than three hours of 200-400 level work has been taken in American History, from taking those for HIST 141-142 if more than three hours at the 200-400 level have been completed in European History (including British and Russian). The Department prohibits the retaking of any proficiency examination which a student has failed.


  • Monday, January 23, 2017:  1:30 PM – 4:30 PM in room 309 Gregory Hall, 810 S. Wright St. (please be sure to arrive 15 min early to check-in)

  • Tuesday, January 24, 2017:  9:00 AM – 12:00 PM in room 309 Gregory Hall, 810 S. Wright St. (please be sure to arrive 15 min early to check-in)

Suggested Reading Lists

The proficiency examinations are intended to deal with the material of the course described in the university course catalog.  The list that follows is intended only as a series of suggestions for students who have some familiarity with the subject matter but may wish to brush up and learn what sorts of books have been assigned in the related courses at the University of Illinois in Spring 2017.

  • HIST 141 - Western Civ to 1660 (Professor Clare Crowston)
    • A HISTORY OF WESTERN SOCIETY SINCE 1300, 12th brief edition; McKay, Crowston, Wiesner-Hanks, Perry (ISBN: 9781319040406) Macmillan 2017
    • SOURCES OF WESTERN SOCIETY, 3rd edition; Vol. 1; McKay, Crowston, Wiesner-Hanks, Perry (ISBN: 9781457615191) Bedford Books 2014
  • HIST 142 - Western Civ Since 1660 (Professor Tamara Chaplin)
    • A DOLL'S HOUSE; Ibsen, Henrik (ISBN: 9780486270623) Dover, 1992
    • HEART OF DARKNESS, Thrift Study Edition; Conrad, Joseph (ISBN: 9780486475677) Dover, 2009
    • SURVIVAL IN AUSCHWITZ, Levi, Primo; (ISBN: 9780684826806) Touchstone/Simon & Schuster, 1996
    • HOW WE SURVIVED COMMUNISM AND EVEN LAUGHED, Drakulic, Slavenka; (ISBN: 9780060975401) Harper Collins, 1993
    • THE MAKING OF THE WEST: Peoples and Cultures, Vol II, Since 1340: A Concise History, 5th Revised Edition and Source Reader; (ISBN: 9781319066666), Bedford/ St. Martin's (MacMillan), 2016
    • CANDIDE, Voltaire, Francois (ISBN: 9780140440041), Random, 1950
  • HIST 172 - US Hist Since 1877 (Professor Leslie Reagan)
    • MARCH TRILOGY (SLIP), Lewis, John et al. (ISBN: 9781603093958) Top Shelf Productions, 2016
    • MARCH: Book One, Lewis, John et al. (ISBN: 9781603093002) Top Shelf Productions, 2013
    • MARCH: Book Two, Lewis, John et al. (ISBN: 9781603094009) Top Shelf Productions, 2015
    • MARCH: Book Three, Lewis, John et al. (ISBN: 9781603094023) Top Shelf Productions, 2016
    • 97 ORCHARD: An Edible History of Five Immigrant Families in One New York Tenement, Ziegelman, Jane (ISBN: 9780061288517) Harper Collins, 2011