Busts in a library

The B.A. in history will give you an invaluable perspective on world affairs and history as well as critical reading, organization, writing and analysis skills. They graduate prepared for graduate school, law school and for careers in business, civil service, government, research and teaching.

If you are interested in pre-law preparation, we provide a college pre-law advisor. If you wish to pursue secondary education teacher certification, with a concentration in history, visit the Secondary Education Program's website.

Information for History Majors

Download or view the Career Handbook for History Majors.

All liberal arts and secondary education history majors must submit a portfolio of their work to the History Department for the purpose of programmatic assessment. It is expected that portfolios will provide developmental rather than summary evidence of your performance and that portfolio artifacts will reflect the department's learning outcomes.

Portfolio Requirements

You will explain how an artifact from a required course addresses a particular standard. An artifact is considered to be a substantial piece of evidence (e.g. term papers, critical book reviews, critical essays, document analysis, reaction papers or exams) of your work in required courses. 

Your portfolio should include the following artifacts: 

  1. HIST 200 or HIST 282
  2. HIST 361 or HIST 389
  3. Select artifacts from two upper-level courses (200- and 300-level courses), with at least one from a 300-level course

Contents of Portfolio:

  1. Cover Sheet. The cover sheet provides an overview of the course artifacts you are submitting and their connection to the departmental outcomes. You should also include a personal assessment summary that explains your areas of strength and weakness in meeting the departmental outcomes.
  2. Introduction. Write a brief introduction to your portfolio that summarizes the content of the artifacts and how each addresses the Department’s learning outcomes 
  3. Common Artifact. All student portfolios will include two common artifacts. These artifacts are the main paper from: HIST 200 or HIST 282: The Nature of Historical Inquiry and HIST 361 or HIST 389: Seminar/ Research Project 
  4. Additional Artifacts. All student portfolios will include two additional artifacts from upper-level history courses. As you choose your artifacts, take care to see that all of the departmental outcomes are represented across the artifacts.

Note: A single artifact is not expected to address all, or even most, of the indicators of a particular standard or departmental outcome 

Procedure: Each student completing the portfolio has been assigned a shared folder. Check your email for shared link. 

  • For each artifact, create a single file that contains your cover page, Intro essay, and the artifact from the course. Please be sure that the professor’s name appears on the cover page. 
  • Upload the artifact into the appropriate folder. 
  • Share the folder with the course instructor. 

If you have any questions, please contact Professor Kiser at akiser@ric.edu.

Portfolio Requirements for Secondary Education Majors, with Concentration in History

All secondary education majors must submit a portfolio of their work to the History Department for the purpose of programmatic assessment. It is expected that portfolios will provide developmental rather than summary evidence of your performance and that portfolio artifacts will reflect the NCSS Thematic Standards and the department’s learning outcomes. 

You will document content knowledge for each of these standards by explaining how an artifact from a required course addresses a particular standard. An artifact is considered to be a substantial evidence (e.g. term papers, critical book reviews, critical essays, document analysis, reaction papers or exams) of your work in required courses. 

Your portfolio should include the following artifacts: 

  1. HIST 200 or HIST 282 
  2. HIST 362 or HIST 389 
  3. Select artifacts from two upper-level courses (200- and 300-level courses), with at least one from a 300 level course 

Contents of Portfolio:

  1. Cover Sheet. The cover sheet (see attached) provides an overview of the course artifacts you are submitting and their connection to the NCSS Thematic Standards. You should also include a personal assessment summary that explains your areas of strength and weakness in meeting both the departmental outcomes and the NCSS standards. 
  2. Introduction. Write a brief introduction to your portfolio that summarizes the content of the artifacts and how each addresses the Department’s learning outcomes and the NCSS Thematic Strands. 
  3. Common Artifacts. All student portfolios will include two common artifacts. These artifacts are the main paper from both: HIST 200 or HIST 282: The Nature of Historical Inquiry and HIST 362 or HIST 389: Reading Seminar/ Research Project 
  4. Additional Artifacts. All student portfolios will include two additional artifacts from upper-level history courses. As you choose your artifacts take care to see that all of the departmental outcomes and NCSS Thematic Strands are represented across the artifacts. 

Note: A single artifact is not expected to address all, or even most, of the indicators of a particular standard or departmental outcome.

Procedure: Each student completing the portfolio has been assigned a shared folder. Check your email for shared link. 

  • For each artifact, create a single file that contains your cover page, Intro essay, and the artifact from the course. Please be sure that the professor’s name appears on the cover page. 
  • Upload the artifact into the appropriate folder. 
  • Share the folder with the course instructor. 

If you have any questions, please contact Professor April Kiser at akiser@ric.edu.

Submission Dates

Submit your portfolios upon the conclusion of your programmatic requirements in history. For most of you, this will occur in your senior year following completion of your HIST 361 seminar paper. The submission is required for completion of the course. Secondary education students submit their portfolios in a two-stage process. All artifacts, except the seminar paper, must be submitted prior to taking SED 410, the history/social studies practicum. The seminar paper must be submitted upon completion of the practicum. Remember, the portfolio is an admission requirement for student teaching. Secondary education students must also take the Praxis II Content Exam as part of the admission process for student teaching.
 

Please observe the following guidelines in submitting papers for all courses in the History Department. Individual instructors may note certain exceptions, so pay attention as well to the requirements for each paper assigned.

MS Word Style Sheet

PDF Style Sheet

Program Details

Course Information

Click below for information on course requirements, course descriptions and the Academic Rhode Map, which lists all the courses you will need to complete this program and graduate in a timely fashion.

Course Requirements

Course Descriptions

Academic Rhode Map

Program/Learning Goals

Upon completion of this program, students will be able to:

  1. Understand how historians gather, interpret and analyze a wide range of primary and secondary source data/material (including literary, geographical, political and socioeconomic material) and how historians construct a coherent narrative from this information.
  2. Demonstrate the skills of historical analysis and interpretation, such as compare and contrast, differentiate between historical facts and interpretation, consider multiple perspectives, analyze cause and effect relationships, compare competing historical narratives, recognize the tentative nature of historical interpretation and analyze the influence of the past.
  3. Think chronologically and comprehensively, identifying temporal structures of historical narratives and comprehending the meanings of historical texts, monographs and documents, including their audiences, goals, perspectives and biases.
  4. Develop research capabilities that enable them to formulate historical questions and themes, obtain and question historical data, identify the gaps in available records, place sources in context and construct reliable historical interpretations.
  5. Demonstrate their knowledge of the history, culture and values of diverse peoples and traditions throughout the world and compare patterns of continuity and change.
  6. Understand the historical context for the interaction and interdependence of politics, society, science and technology in a variety of cultural settings.
  7. Formulate and explain their own interpretations of the past by examining and communicating them with clarity and precision in a variety of oral and written assignments.
  8. Demonstrate research skills utilizing the full range of available materials, including those found in libraries, archives, museums and electronic resources.
  9. Demonstrate the skills necessary to be an independent and lifelong learner.
     

Writing in the Discipline

1. Why or in what ways is writing important to your discipline/field/profession?

Writing is fundamental to the study of history. Without writing, there is no history. In order to learn from the past, historians are dependent upon writing and fully engaged with it at all times. The analysis of written documents and the clear communication of what is found in them are essential to the discipline. We make full use of other sources (the oral tradition, the remains of material culture), but writing is the only medium through which those who can no longer speak can still impart to us their thoughts, feelings and the facts of their time as they were aware of them.

Writing is not only fundamental to historical research, it is also the means by which we communicate with professional colleagues, students and members of the public. Effective and clear writing is basic to historical studies.

Simon Schama, the noted art historian, said that historians deal with “the past in all its splendid messiness.” It is up to historians to study that messy past and present in written form a more ordered and understandable view of historical events and peoples.

2. Which courses are designated as satisfying the Writing in the Discipline (WID) requirement by your department? Why these courses?

The History Department has designated HIST 281, 282 and 389 as its WID courses.

HIST 281 introduces students to the history of history as a profession, the sub-fields of history such as social, political, economic etc. while at the same time having them write various assignments typical of a history course: synopses, precis and book reviews to name a few.

HIST 282 introduces students to a historical topic and then each student chooses a theme within that topic on which to conduct research and write a paper. The first two courses provide the building blocks for the kind of writing the History Department expects at the 200 and 300 level.

HIST 389 allows students to build on the skills they’ve learned in earlier courses in order to self-design a research project.

3. What forms or genres of writing will students learn and practice in your department’s WID courses? Why these genres?

History students will learn to write narratives, analyses and interpretations of historical sources – the essential building blocks of the discipline.

4. What kinds of teaching practices will students encounter in your department’s WID courses?

History department WID courses are conducted as workshop/seminars. There will be virtually no lecturing by professors. Rather, students will be assigned readings and/or short written materials that will serve as discussion points during class meetings. (In preparation for such meetings, students are asked to bring in worksheets relevant to the day’s assignment – low stakes writing). Students will also do group work, for example the interpretation/dissection of a historical source (e.g. The Petition of Right from 1628).

5. When they’ve satisfied your department’s WID requirement, what should students know and be able to do with writing?

Students who have completed the History Department’s WID courses should be able to analyze and interpret historical materials, whether they are historians’ writings, articles, monographs, textbooks or primary sources (material from the historical period under study). They should be able to formulate research questions and then research and write a history essay that has a strong thesis statement and that provides evidence that supports the paper’s thesis.

Minor in History

Declaring a minor allows you to explore other areas of interest and make interdisciplinary connections. Minor areas at RIC complement and reinforce all major areas of study. By declaring a minor, you can set yourself apart as a candidate for job, internship and volunteer opportunities. Click below for information on the minor in history.

Minor in History