Student Learning Outcomes

These learning objectives are envisioned as a series of cumulative measures of student success in (1) the consumption of historical knowledge, (2) production of original historical narratives and interpretations, and (3) appreciation of the relevance of historical thinking to public and civic discourse. A History Major will advance through the three levels of these objectives over the course of her or his progress through the program. These levels can also be considered to correspond roughly to 1000, 2000, and 3000 course levels.


Introductory Objectives


  1. Students will identify and explain major historical events, including their sequence and causes. In doing so, they will recognize the diversity and interconnectivity of human experiences across both geography and time.
  2. Students will narrate change over time, both orally and in writing. In doing so, they will accurately interpret both primary and secondary sources to substantiate their accounts of the past.
  3. Students will recognize the value of historicization and identify its use in historical scholarship. In other words, they will recognize that historians interpret current issues by evaluating their relationships to past events.


Intermediate Objectives


  1. Students will demonstrate intellectual empathy when assessing the values and choices of past peoples. Intellectual empathy is the recognition that although past peoples held cultural ideals with which we may disagree, the diversity of historical human perspectives is worthy of respect and of being studied.
  2. Students will demonstrate the ability to think historically. They will evaluate causation, appraise historical significance, analyze contested interpretations of the past, and defend arguments using historical evidence.
  3. Students will exhibit the ability to historicize. In other words, they will interpret present-day issues by evaluating their relationships to both past events and the choices of historical actors.


Advanced Objectives


  1. Students will critically engage with historical discourse. Students will evaluate the evidence, theories, assumptions, and methods underlying historians’ arguments.  In doing so, students will recognize that historians’ interpretations have changed over time because they were shaped by the cultures and societies in which historians have lived.
  2. Students will author original research, both by effectively investigating and interpreting primary and second-source evidence and by appropriately situating their work within pertinent historiographical debates.
  3. Students will analyze and investigate the applications of historical thinking to multiple careers located either within the field of history education and research or beyond it. Careers that utilize historical thinking include museum and archival curation, cultural resource management, creative writing, publication, law, public policy and advocacy, and other fields that are based on informational research, analysis, and synthesis.