College of Arts and Letters2021-2022

Department of History

History, Bachelor of Arts

Learning Outcomes

Purpose Statement

A Bachelor of Arts in History provides students with the knowledge, skills, and abilities to succeed in civic life, in graduate study, and in a variety of careers.  Our program emphasizes the complex tensions and synergies between human agency and larger historical forces in order to inform honest debate on past and current events as members of engaged, critical, and dynamic communities.  Historical perspective is an essential component of responsible and informed citizenship and provides significant advantages to students in a multicultural world and workplace. Our graduates attain the writing skills, research methods, and critical and analytical thinking necessary not only for history professions, but for a wide variety of career paths, such as management, law, and education in both academic and public settings.
Our curriculum trains students to find, evaluate, and employ primary and secondary sources as evidence to frame and answer questions through analysis, interpretation, and critical engagement. Students therefore learn to reach sound judgments and construct persuasive arguments through research rather than by relying on hearsay or presumptions. Students further develop appreciation for the diversity of the human experience and consciousness of how local and global histories inform one another in both past and present, and how historical research can transform those relations. To this end, students also acquire proficiency in a language other than English to facilitate interaction with communities different from their own.

Student Learning Outcomes

Historians portray the past with all its complexity, illuminating the tensions and synergies between human agency and larger historical and environmental forces in order to inform honest debate on past and current events by engaged, critical, and dynamic communities.

The Tools of a Historian’s Discipline
  • Doing History – finding, evaluating, and using primary and secondary sources.  BA/BS in History Candidates will:
    • Interpret and extract meaning from a variety of primary sources;
    • Gain knowledge literacy and research skills to locate, uncover, evaluate, and use evidence for the purpose of the historian;
    • Recognize the underlying assumptions, methodologies, and theories in other historians’ work in order to critique and build on this work with their own research;
    • Historicize assumptions of factual authenticity or universal truth by showing them to be historical, social and cultural constructs;
    • Apply theory and evaluate scholarship to frame historical questions;
    • Recognize how historians position themselves in the historiographies related to their topic.
  • Producing History – communicating historical analyses, interpretations, and narratives.  BA/BS in History Candidates will:
    • Articulate historical findings and interpretations through writing and oral expression;
    • Contextualize those findings using additional sources and evidence from the time period;
    • Produce and/or deconstruct historical narratives organized around patterns and themes of causality, chronologies, and paradigms identified by professional historians;
    • Position their research in pertinent historiographies;
    • Address conflicting evidence, alternative perspectives, and multiple viewpoints;
    • Comply with the professional conventions of the historical discipline by using and citing primary source evidence and the work of other scholars;
    • Acknowledge subjective and societal concerns that inform their own descriptions and evaluations of the past.
  • Local/Global Connections -  BA/BS in History Candidates will
    • Develop historical consciousness of how local and global histories inform one another;
    • Recognize the diversity of human experience as seen in the interconnections and relationships among individuals, communities, social groups, cultures, nations, humans and environments;
    • Explore the connections between power and knowledge in order to understand how scholarship can transform those relations;
    • Use local histories to challenge “universals” even as global narratives challenge parochialisms.
  • Foreign Language (BA) - BA in History Candidates will
    • Acquire proficiency in at least one language other than English in order to engage original sources, facilitate interaction and communication with diverse communities and pursue graduate research in history.

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