Year Level Course Definitions

Below you will find Year Level Course Definitions offered by the Department of History beginning in 2013-14. These are intended as a general guide to what students can expect in terms of general content, focus, and assessment in courses offered at the second, third, and fourth years of our programs.

 First year: All students take History 1100: Making of the Modern World. It explores how historians attempt to explain developments in the modern world during the last six or seven centuries. With no more that 60 students in each class, each section revolves around the question “How did we get here from there? Students will develop basic research and writing skills and learn how to read, analyze, and integrate both primary and secondary sources in their work. Assessment is based on small to medium writing assignments, in-class quizzes, mid-term and final exams. 

Second year: Second-year history courses cover broad historical themes and content centred on geographical regions (e.g. continents, nation-states, political entities). Open to any student who has completed History 1100, courses are delivered in a lecture format, with no more than 40 students. Student will continue to develop basic research and writing skills and learn how to read, analyze, and integrate both primary and secondary sources into their work. Particular attention is given to how to frame research questions, develop arguments, and to effectively argue from various perspectives. Students will also be introduced to major historiographical debates in the field. Assessment in second-year courses ranges from short article analysis, book reviews, in-class tests, to mini-research papers. All second year courses contain a formal final examination. 

Third year: Third-year history courses provide students the opportunity to build upon the survey knowledge and skills developed in second year. They are open to all students who have successfully completed two FCEs in history. Courses at this year level are centred on detailed and conceptual knowledge of more specialized subjects and, upon completion, students will be able to situate, analyze, and assess historical works in their historiographical context and traditions. Students will be exposed to both primary and secondary sources, learning how to understand and analyze both and situate them in relation to each other. Courses are delivered primarily in a lecture or seminar format, with no more than 35 students, and often contain student-led presentations and/or in-class or online discussions focused on assigned readings. Written assignments become longer, and are expected to integrate a wide variety of secondary materials (and in some cases primary ones). Courses may contain formal final examinations.

Fourth year: Fourth-year history courses provide students the opportunity to draw upon the knowledge and skills developed in years one through three to produce historical work that is original to the student. Open only to Honours History Majors who have completed five FCEs and achieved a 70% average in those courses, they are centred on the study of a historical theme or issue in a History faculty member's area of research expertise and are delivered in a seminar format, with no more than 15 students in a class. Assessment for fourth-year courses largely centres on student-led presentations and in-class discussions focused on assigned readings and their own research. Written assignments typically include article analysis, book reviews, and research papers.

Revised: 18 January 2013