Learning Outcomes for History Majors at PLU

  1. Build historical knowledge.
  2. Develop historical methods.
  3. Recognize the provisional nature of knowledge, the disciplinary preference for complexity, and the comfort with ambiguity that history requires.
  4. Apply the range of skills it takes to decode the historical record because of its incomplete, complex, and contradictory nature.
  5. Create historical arguments and narratives.
  6. Use historical perspective as central to active citizenship.

Learning Outcomes for Lower-Division Courses

The History Department has structured all 100-200-level courses to create the following learning outcomes for students who complete them successfully. Students will:

1. Learn and practice the evaluation of historical evidence by identifying and explaining specific claims or ideas in primary and secondary sources.
2. Practice skills of oral expression and dialogue through interpreting and analyzing sources in class discussions and in-class presentations using appropriate technologies.
3. Develop the ability to write papers with critical analysis and historical inquiry, utilizing proper citation.
4. Use conflicting evidence in papers or in other learning activities to achieve historical accuracy and nuance.
5. Determine, within reasonable limits, the magnitude and significance of historical changes that take place within a society or culture.
6. Develop the capacity to recognize diversity, complexity, and the moral dilemmas inherent in the study of history.

Learning Outcomes for Upper-Division Courses

Students should be able to demonstrate and accomplish all the skills listed in History Learning Outcomes/Lower-Division Courses. In addition, in Upper-Division Courses (numbered 300-499) students will:

1. Interpret and analyze primary sources, and directly consider how to use the insights from such sources.
2. Explore historical debates to understand history as an interpretive scholarly endeavor.
3. Develop research skills and work on generating historical interpretations.
4. Create a research project with a clear, original thesis that engages an historical question or problem related to course content; locate appropriate primary and secondary sources to develop this project, and utilize proper citations.
5. Present research in class and engage in collaborative dialog around the historical problems the course considers.
6. Articulate and cultivate your own values through engaging selected ethical questions and issues in the context of deepening your understanding of history.

Learning Objectives for History 301 & Capstone

History 301 must be completed with a C- grade or better before a student can enroll in History 499 (Capstone). Each objective in History 301 is listed below. Many of these objectives ensure that students who pass History 301 will be able to successfully complete History 499 and achieve the objectives of the History major.
These objectives will also be helpful when determining outcomes for student-faculty fellowships, such as the Benson, Kurt Mayer, and Severtson research programs.

History 301: Research Methods & Research. (Typically offered during Fall term.) History 301 students will:

1. Compare and assess a range of historical methods and research techniques, including skills that historians use to locate, analyze, and contextualize primary and secondary source material.
2. Identify, summarize, and synthesize other scholars’ historical arguments (the practice of historiography).
3. Design and prepare a substantial research project (typically 15-pages in length) based on primary and secondary sources, written with a clear thesis, supporting evidence, and appropriate citations.
4. Practice ethical and responsible historical scholarship, including proper citations.
5. Prepare an oral presentation of the research project and deliver it to an audience of peers and faculty.
6. Review, critique, and provide helpful feedback on other students’ drafts and presentations.

History 499: Seminar. (Typically offered during the Spring term.) Students will:

1. Conduct research and formulate a coherent and significant argument for a capstone research project (typically 25-pages in length), using appropriate primary and secondary sources and related materials.
2. Read and synthesize works of historiography, in order to demonstrate contextual awareness of their project and how it engages historical debates.
3. Engage in exchange of ideas and feedback with peers at an advanced level.
4. Undertake significant revisions based on their own critical reflection and the feedback from peers and advisors.
5. Demonstrate historical storytelling skills; use appropriate technologies to gather and integrate information, and present it using appropriate media.
6. Apply historical knowledge and historical thinking to contemporary issues, including ethical reflection and an appreciation for diverse perspectives.

(Revised May 2024)