Proficiency Exams

Examination Policies for Fall 2017

  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 Fall 2017, students must register to take proficiency examinations with the department no later than Friday, September 1, 2017, 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 September 5 and the other on September 6. Please indicate which exam you wish to take on which date. You may begin registering for History Proficiency Examinations on Monday, August 21, 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, September 11, 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.


  • Tuesday, September 5, 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)

  • Wednesday, September 6, 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 Fall 2017.

  • HIST 141 - Western Civ to 1660 (Professor Ralph Mathisen)
    • ANCIENT MEDITERRANEAN CIVILIZATIONS: FROM PREHISTORY TO 640 CE, Mathisen, Ralph, (ISBN 9780199384457) Oxford, 2014
  • HIST 142 - Western Civ Since 1660 (Professor Mark Micale)
    • THE CONDITION OF THE WORKING CLASS IN ENGLAND, Engels, Friedrich, (ISBN 9780140444865), Penguin Classics, 1987.
    • ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT, Remarque, Erich Maria, (ISBN 100449213943), Ballantine Books Mass Market Edition, 1987.
    • WE, INTRODUCTION BY GEORGE ORWELL, Zamyatin, Yevgeny, (ISBN 101515240347), Create Space Independent Publishing, 2015.
    • EUROPEAN CIVILIZATION: 1750 TO THE PRESENT, second edition, Micale, Mark S. (ISBN 10160904312X), Stipes Publishing, 2014.
  • HIST 171 - US Hist To 1877 (Professor Kristin Hoganson)
    • BATTLE LINES: A GRAPHIC HISTORY OF THE CIVIL WAR, Kelman, Ari (ISBN 9780809094745)  Hill and Wang, 2015.
    • EXPLORING AMERICAN HISTORIES: A BRIEF SURVEY WITH SOURCES Vol 1, Hewitt, Nancy A. and Lawson, Steven F. (ISBN 9781457694622), Bedford, 2017.
    • NARRATIVE OF THE LIFE OF FREDERICK DOUGLASS (1845), Blight, David  (ISBN 9780312257378) Bedford.
    • Other major readings may include: COMMON SENSE, Paine, Thomas (1776) - avail. digitally on UIUC library website; THE US CONSTITUTION; THE FEDERALIST PAPERS; MARY STILLMAN'S WAR AND LIBERTY! THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION - avail. in library's DVD collection
  • HIST 172 - US Hist Since 1877 (Professor Kathy Oberdeck)
    • COMING OF AGE IN MISSISSIPPI, Moody, Anne (ISBN 9780440314882) Dell, 1992.
    • EXPLORING AMERICAN HISTORIES 2nd Ed, Vol 2, Hewitt, Nancy A and Lawson, Steven F. (ISBN 9781319146221) MacMillan, 2017.