These guidelines are provided to students and faculty in order to broadly define the expectations for the different types of courses offered by the History Department. Decisions about readings, assignments, and other course-related material ultimately rest with the individual instructor.
1000 – As general introductions to a particular area of historical study, these courses serve as gateways to the discipline of history. They provide a basic knowledge of events, historic figures, groups, and ideas and put some emphasis on recall of information. They also provide students with opportunities to develop their analytical skills. Assessment of student work can be a combination of examinations, quizzes, short writing assignments, class presentations, and other evaluative tools or activities. These courses are always appropriate for students at all levels, and for both majors and non-majors.
2000 – These courses provide overviews of more narrowly defined areas of historical study, serving as introductions not only to the discipline of history but also to particular fields and subfields. They assume some familiarity with a basic historical narrative (e.g., ancient civilization and Europe, early America and the United States, etc.) as well as some experience with analytical thinking and expository writing. Assessment of student work can include essay exams, short writing assignments, class presentations, and other evaluative tools or activities. These courses are usually appropriate for students at all levels, and for both majors and non-majors.
3000 – Designed for specialized study of a particular field, period, or topic, these courses expect a substantial amount of prior knowledge as well as experience with reading monographs or scholarly articles, and with writing history papers. The courses carry a substantial reading load and there is an expectation that students will verbalize their thoughts on this reading as part of class discussions. Writing assignments can include book reviews, essay responses to set questions, and research papers based on primary and/or secondary sources, as well as appropriate in-class exams and activities. These courses are designed for students at the junior level or above, although highly-motivated and prepared underclassmen may well succeed in them.
4000 – These courses fit a seminar model. They are meant to provide in-depth examination of a field, subfield, period, or topic of historical study. Students meet as a class once or twice during a week, read key secondary works, and research related primary and secondary sources. Some familiarity with textual analysis and basic research methods is assumed. Students will be evaluated based on their contribution to class discussions, completion of various stages of an original research paper or project, and other assignments made by the instructor. These courses are intended primarily for seniors within the major.
5000 - Graduate-level courses at the 5000-level and above are intended to provide advanced instruction in specific historical topics. The reading load will be heavy, and students are expected to do some independent work, such as library or archival research, as well as to contribute actively to class discussion. Familiarity with historical research methods, citations, and historiography is assumed.