Learning Outcomes for the History Major

History majors will acquire skills that have been identified as ones needed in the 21st century:  creativity, critical thinking, problem solving, and communication.  The outcomes below are scaffolded across all levels of the undergraduate curriculum.  The intent is to show how history students might develop their skills over time but also, given the various ways our students enter the major, how they may begin to acquire key skills at any level and how they can begin to transfer knowledge across all areas of the curriculum.  HST 206, Historical Inquiry, is treated as a particularly important class that all HST students take and where vital skills are stressed; it also serves as the bridge class that meets the College of Arts and Science Writing Requirements.

The four skills we identified as most significant to the History Major and therefore outcomes that should be developed across our curriculum are:

  1. Develop the ability to use historical sources.  A student should be able to locate primary sources, analyze evidence, and situate them in historical context.  Can be accomplished through oral and written assignments.  Locating and using historical sources should also emphasize research skills and information literacy.
  2. Develop the ability to examine other societies in a global context and to look at one's own society in the context of other societies.  Students are required in the curriculum to take a range of courses, including two 100-200 level courses in a region other than the USA and Europe and two 300-400 level courses in a region other than the USA and Europe.  Students also have to take four classes in pre-modern history (pre-1500) to acquire deeper historical perspectives.  Also through oral and written assignments that ask for comparative perspectives.
  3. Develop an ability to engage with the discipline of history.  Students will learn to ask historical questions, make historical arguments, and engage in historical debates.  Students will meet this goal through oral and written work, debating with each other and on paper.  Engaging with historiography should also emphasize research and information literacy.
  4. Develop the ability to write historical essays.  In writing them, students will demonstrate a mastery of concepts and skills such as comparison and contrast, change over time, and historicizing ideas and categories such as nationhood.