What Is American History and Institutions Requirement?

If you’re planning to study in the United States, you may have come across the term “American History and Institutions Requirement” or AH&I. This requirement is a mandatory course that undergraduate students must take to earn their degree from a university in California.

The American History and Institutions Requirement is designed to ensure that all students have a foundational understanding of American history, politics, and government. The course covers key events in American history, such as the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, and the Civil Rights Movement, as well as the structure of American government at both the state and federal levels.

Why is this requirement important?

The AH&I requirement serves several important purposes. First and foremost, it helps students develop a deeper understanding of American society and culture. This knowledge can be invaluable when it comes to navigating life in the United States, whether you’re studying abroad or planning to live here permanently.

Additionally, the AH&I requirement helps promote civic engagement among students. By learning about how American democracy works and how political power is distributed within our system of government, students are better equipped to participate in civic life themselves.

How do I fulfill this requirement?

There are several ways to fulfill the American History and Institutions Requirement. One option is to take an approved course at your university. These courses are typically offered through departments such as history or political science.

Another option is to take an exam that covers the material covered by the AH&I requirement. Two exams are currently accepted: The College Board’s Advanced Placement (AP) US History Exam or an equivalent exam administered by your university.

What topics does this requirement cover?

The topics covered by the AH&I requirement vary depending on which course or exam you take. However, some common themes include:

  • The founding of America
  • The Constitution
  • The Bill of Rights
  • The Civil War and Reconstruction
  • The Civil Rights Movement
  • American political institutions, such as Congress, the Supreme Court, and the presidency


In conclusion, the American History and Institutions Requirement is a crucial component of undergraduate education in California. By requiring students to learn about American history and government, this requirement helps promote civic engagement and cultural understanding among students. Whether you fulfill this requirement through a course or an exam, you’ll emerge from the experience with a deeper appreciation for America’s past and present.