The discipline of history is central to the liberal arts; it draws on and contributes to neighboring fields, such as political science, literature, philosophy and the arts, to name but a few. History is essential to an understanding of the evolutionary nature of the institutions and values that have not only shaped the past but inform the present. The study of history prepares students for a wide range of professions, including law, government, archival and museum work, professions in travel and teaching.
The major in History is designed to provide the student with a broad range of offerings in various fields of history. Through these studies, the department seeks to teach its majors to conduct creative and comprehensive research projects, to read historical materials with understanding, to engage in critical analysis from an historian’s perspective and to write polished communicative prose.
The curriculum established by the History major leads the student from broad-based survey classes that cover the U.S., Europe, South America, Islamic Middle East and Asia to more narrowly defined upper-division classes in the specialty of the student’s choice. Students encounter the scholarly methodology employed by historians that contributes to the development of verbal, analytical and reading skills. More specifically, throughout the curriculum, history courses require students to produce written work that emphasizes focused analysis supported by historical evidence. In addition, at the lower-division level, students become familiar with basic historical narratives. At the upper-division level, students use primary sources in pursuit of questions of an increasingly thematic nature. Their research capitalizes on the electronic resources currently available. As juniors, History majors participate in a seminar emphasizing historical perspectives, methodological techniques, and a variety of interpretive historical models. History majors complete a thesis in the last semester of their senior year that demonstrates competence with historical theory and methods.
Program Learning Outcomes
- Provide students with a broad range of offerings in various fields of history
- Teach majors to conduct creative and comprehensive research projects
- Read historical materials with discernment
- Engage in critical analysis from a historical perspective
- Write polished communicative prose