The department believes that students must become more broadly educated in order to be prepared to live in an increasingly complex society. By gaining awareness of historical traditions as well as the critical thinking skills of the historian’s craft, students will be better prepared to confront this complex society as informed citizens. The purpose of the major is to bring together both the factual background and the analytical tools necessary to understand and interpret historical events.
Upon graduation, students majoring in history will be able to demonstrate a basic knowledge
of key themes, issues and trends that have shaped the history of humankind by taking
required courses in American, European and non-western history. Their knowledge in
this area will be assessed by the individual courses that we require through exams and other
Students will develop skills of written and verbal expression. Opportunities to develop
these skills will be available throughout the educational process through oral presentations
and reflective and research papers. Our senior project requires students to write a substantial
research paper, to present their findings and to defend their assertions. As such, this
capstone course will assess their oral and written communication skills.
Students will develop skills of critical thinking and analysis. In both their classes and their
senior project, they will need to weigh competing historical interpretations. This skill will be
assessed both in their class papers and in their senior project.
Students will demonstrate knowledge of methods of the historical craft including both conceptual approaches to history and research methodologies. As part of their capstone
sequence, they will examine different historical approaches in the seminar on the intellectual
history and the fundamentals of research in the methods course. Their success will be
assessed both in these classes through written assignments and class participation and in
their senior project.