Undergraduate Curriculum

The study of history fosters a knowledge, understanding, and appreciation for the world and its peoples, past and present, as well as the kind of personal attributes and responsibilities that have helped to set the humanities at the core of education for many centuries. Equally, coursework in the discipline of history cultivates skills that continue as ever to be well suited for jobs across the spectrum of specializations and therefore remain in great demand by employers. To that end, faculty members of the Department of History recently met on several occasions to discuss and affirm the standards for the various levels of undergraduate courses offered. Students enrolled in them will gain the following:


1000-/2000-level: Basic surveys and skills

Courses at these levels:

  1. provide a broad introductory survey of U.S. or World history within parameters established by official course descriptions and the university’s core curriculum
  2. impart basic skills, including critical thinking and reading as well as effective note taking
  3. impart the value of contextualization and of seeing the past “on its own terms”
  4. introduce basic modes of historical analysis and the distinction of “primary” and “secondary” sources
  5. provide training in basic academic writing, e.g. through essay-driven examinations and/or stand-alone papers
  6. ideally incorporate discussion and/or other interactive exercises
  7. encourage the use of student resources at SHSU, including the Reading and Writing Center and SAM Center


3000-level: Advanced investigations and the historian’s craft

Courses at this level:

  1. build directly upon the foundation laid in 1000-/2000-level surveys
  2. provide in-depth coverage of particular themes, areas, time periods, events, peoples, and/or institutions
  3. emphasize critical thinking, reading, and writing
  4. train students in historical methodologies, including the critical assessment of historical sources; the distinction and analysis of “primary” and/or “secondary” evidence; and the value of multiple perspectives and interpretations
  5. require at least one substantial original paper or its equivalent, e.g. critical book reviews or annotated bibliography. Formal writing assignments may emphasize “primary” and/or “secondary” evidence
  6. as appropriate, stress the value of interdisciplinary approaches
  7. may incorporate cooperative learning techniques, e.g. group discussions and/or individual presentations


4000-level: Research seminars

Courses at this level:

  1. are the culmination of skills acquired in 1000-/2000- and 3000-level coursework
  2. are limited to “capstone” offerings (research seminars), one of which is required for all majors
  3. require students to apply advanced historical methodologies in their original, critical analyses of “primary” sources and to have a command of the relevant scholarly literature.
  4. result in the production of a polished, original research paper. The finished project should be presentable at a regional academic conference and/or publishable in a regional academic journal
  5. feature cooperative learning techniques, e.g. group discussion and/or individual presentations