Department of History Courses
Course descriptions listed on this page for the Department of History are from the College Catalog. For more information on the courses offered during the fall and spring semesters, please log in to the course schedule through STAR.
100-level introductory surveys and topical courses are suitable for majors and non-majors. Survey courses offer students a broad overview of a continent, region, country, or people over several generations. Through lectures, discussions, reading, and writing, students learn to consider continuity and change over time by assessing and interpreting evidence. Whereas survey courses adopt a panoramic perspective, topical courses — labeled “Historical Themes” and some Montserrat courses — zoom in for a closer view. Instead of a single large textbook, students might read parts of several monographs and sources from the actual time period. Short writing assignments are augmented by considerable oral work, with discussions generally predominating over lectures.
200-level intermediate courses are suitable for majors and in many, but not all cases, non-majors. They place greater emphasis on concepts such as colonialism, nationalism, feminism, and post-modernism, or on the role of ideology, gender, race, ethnicity and class in history. They may also incorporate approaches that are more global, transnational, and comparative. Readings emphasize monographs, journal articles and primary sources. Some lectures, discussions, student-led oral presentations and debates consider questions of historical interpretation, theory and methodology. Writing assignments are fewer in number but of greater length and complexity than those at the introductory level.
300 and 400-level advanced courses are open to third- and fourth-year history majors who have taken HIST 200 The Historian's Craft. Non-majors with appropriate background may also enroll with the permission of the instructor. Admission to all 400-level courses is by permission only. 300-level courses delve deeply into a topic or area of history that students may have encountered previously in an introductory or intermediate course. Enrollment is limited to 16 students, in order to facilitate student engagement with the topic and active participation in class discussions, group research projects, and presentations of their research. Students have more opportunity for independence and initiative in shaping their papers and projects, including both historiographical papers and longer research papers that may employ primary sources. Courses at the 400 level include seminars (limited to 12 students), tutorials, and thesis preparation. Students are expected to produce a substantial paper as a final project and some form of oral presentation of the project at the end of the term. Success in 400-level courses relies on the student’s ability to take initiative in the research process by consulting regularly and meeting with the professor or thesis advisor