The history curriculum is designed to produce men and women educated in the responsibilities of citizenship. It prepares cadets for graduate schools of history or government, and for occupations in which the ability to understand backgrounds, grasp issues, and manage affairs is essential, e.g., law, business, politics, government service, and the armed forces.
The curriculum, with proper electives, fully meets the requirements for admission to outstanding schools of law and graduate programs in business administration and management, as well as history. By concentrating electives in a specific subject area, cadets can acquire both the broad outlook offered by history and the specific outlook of other disciplines.
The cadet majoring in history receives, first of all, training in the natural sciences, mathematics, and the English language as an instrument of written and oral communication. Additionally the cadet learns a foreign language. History courses cover the principal fields of modern European, Middle Eastern, East Asian, Latin American, African, and American history. Rather than merely cataloguing events of the past, these courses emphasize an understanding of developments and problems, and they give attention to social, economic, and cultural phenomena, as well as political and constitutional problems.
As history majors advance through the curriculum, they apply the lessons of previous courses to challenging new subjects. Students in 100-level World History comprehend fundamental themes, issues, and trends in global history. Students in 200-level United States history explore and analyze increasingly complex themes, issues, and trends in U.S. history. Students in 300-level courses develop a detailed knowledge of a specific field’s major historical events and themes, and where appropriate acquire a functional understanding of relevant historical geography. Each level of the history curriculum is associated with a set of essential skills. Students in 100-level World History sharpen essential college-level skills such as note-taking, critical reading, and studying for both objective and analytical exams. Students in 200-level United States history interpret primary sources and base an argument on them, evaluate secondary sources, and cite sources. Students in 300-level courses evaluate the thesis and evidence in essential historical essays or books, and identify significant historiographical trends. In HI 200 and those 300-level courses designated as methodologically intensive, students learn the basic techniques of historical research, analysis and documentation. They employ common library and electronic research tools, and use book reviews or review essays to assess a field’s major literature. In 400-level courses, students frame a research topic, locate and evaluate relevant primary and secondary evidence, and discuss relevant historiography.
The capstone course requirement ensures that all majors gain experience in historical methodology and writing. An Honors Program, open to majors who have demonstrated excellence in the study of history, and a Directed Study course offer opportunities to engage in more extensive research and write a paper under the close supervision of a faculty sponsor.