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Student Learning Goals

Student Learning Goals for Undergraduate History Majors & Minors

The Department of History strives to:

1. Provide students with the historical knowledge and analytical ability required to interrogate the past, comprehend the dynamics of historical change, and understand the forces that have shaped the contemporary world. In addition to fostering the disciplinary skills needed to asses evidence drawn from primary sources and historiography, the pursuit of this goal will promote advanced abilities in critical thinking, effective writing, and oral argument.

2. Provide students with an understanding of the diversity of human experience across space and time as well as a greater degree of knowledge in specific areas of historic inquiry.

3. Enable students to examine historical knowledge critically, allowing them to evaluate competing interpretations and to develop their own, reasoned perspectives about the past and its meaning for the present. By investigating human agency in history, students will also consider how individuals and groups bear responsibility for shaping the world in which they live.

These discipline-specific goals must be accompanied by several skill-based objectives. In particular, the Department emphasizes four areas that it deems crucial to fulfilling its goals:

1. Critical reading
2. Using of original materials
3. Research skills
4. Analytical writing

The Department therefore expects its students to be able to:

1. Read works of historical interpretation critically and to compare the arguments of differing authors
2. Read original documents in the context of the time and place in which they are created, as well as in the light of secondary literature
3. Use libraries and research tools to locate crucial information
4. Employ evidence from multiple sources to sustain arguments
5. Apply knowledge of broad historical trends and narrower historical areas to specific cases