More About the Program
We believe that the History major is essential to Briar Cliff University's stated mission of "quality education, combining broad intellectual background with career development." History represents the cornerstone of liberal arts curriculum in that it shares characteristics with the physical sciences, social sciences and the arts. Interpretations of history reflect the issues of the present as well as the past. Therefore, the study of history works in complementary fashion with the minor in our department, political science.
Due to its emphasis on critical thinking, writing, and speaking skills, History is a popular major for students pursuing a career in law. For those who also seek targeted coursework in legal studies, the department offers a History-Law track designed specifically for those who intend to apply for law school.
The department believes that students must become more broadly educated in order to be prepared to live in an increasingly complex society. By gaining awareness of historical traditions as well as the critical thinking skills of the historian's craft, students will be better prepared to confront this complex society as informed citizens. The purpose of the History major is to bring together both the factual background and the analytical tools necessary to understand and interpret historical events.
Upon graduation, students majoring in History will be able to demonstrate a basic knowledge of key themes, issues and trends that have shaped the history of humankind by taking required courses in American, European and World history. This program outcome represents the foundation of historical knowledge. Students engage the past to better understand the present, develop tolerance and open-mindedness, recognize the tendencies of humankind, and learn a sense of identity. Their knowledge in this area will be assessed regularly in individual courses through exams and other assignments. A benchmark assignment assessing this outcome takes place in HIST 110 World Civilizations, a required course for our History majors.
Students will be able to compose and defend an historical argument. Unlike the hard sciences, History is an interpretive enterprise. Historians must use the skills of the craft to create and defend their own interpretations. All BCU History courses provide opportunity to develop these skills through oral presentations, reflective essays, and research papers. A benchmark assignment assessing this program outcome takes place in History 470 Senior Thesis, the capstone course for History majors. Through their coursework in History at BCU, students will also learn to employ critical thinking skills in analyzing the past. A major research paper, their Senior Thesis, again serves as the benchmark assignment to assess this program outcome.
History majors will be able to explain and examine key conceptual approaches and methodologies of the historian’s craft. All courses, particularly upper division offerings, include lessons on methodology and historiography. HIST 203 Historical Inquiry, a required course for History majors, addresses this program outcome directly. A simulation project and paper on who shot first at Lexington Green serves as the benchmark assignment for this program outcome.
Finally, students who choose the History-Law Track will also develop knowledge and skills specifically targeted for a career in law. At a program level this outcome will be assessed by LSAT scores and law school admission.
- Secondary School Teacher
- Education Director
- Museum Curator
- Information Broker
- Marketing Research Analyst
- Research Assistant
- Law Clerk
- Political Scientist
- Congressional Aid
- Local, State, or Federal Official
- FBI Agent
- Foreign Correspondent/Service Officer
- Intelligence Officer