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Learning Framework, Course Objectives, Program Learning Outcomes

 Learning Framework

 The University of Utah wants every undergraduate student to obtain a well-rounded educational experience during their time at our school. The History Department supports and fulfills this mission by engaging the University’s Learning Framework that focuses on Community, Transformation, Knowledge and Skills, and Impact.


We build learning communities through the small stable groups that are central to the educational experience of our required course, The Historian’s Craft. In their capstone course, History majors then take advantage of the small class size of the Senior Seminar to engage with other students in a supportive and challenging intellectual environment. In both classes students learn how to provide and receive constructive feedback and how to incorporate the growth mindset into their learning experience. The History Department also fosters a dynamic community of undergraduate majors and minors who participate in our student organizations: the undergraduate History Student Association and Phi Alpha Theta, the professional society for undergraduate students of History.


Our History majors and minors learn the critical thinking skills necessary to transform information into knowledge. At the same time they develop intellectual self-confidence and experience their own transformation. The History Department offers self-directed majors and minors that allow students to choose their own pathways through the program, exploring the diversity of human experience and generating connections between the past, the present, and the future. Our students pursue an independent research project that allows them to develop autonomy and express their intellectual and personal engagements with historical subjects of their own choosing. We encourage our students to broaden their horizons and connect to a range of communities through Learning Abroad programs and local, national, and international internships.

Knowledge & Skills

History teaches transferable skills to all of our students. Our Learning Outcomes focus on formulating research questions and projects; evaluating debates; identifying, analyzing, and assessing a range of information and interpretations; using evidence to construct and support arguments; and understanding the complexity and diversity of historical subjects by exploring the ways they have lived, acted, and thought in a range of time periods and geographical spaces. We encourage our students to seek out a wide variety of different perspectives, to develop global expertise, and to enhance their language skills through the Cultures and Languages Across the Curriculum (CLAC) program. A History major thus provides students with widely applicable knowledge and skills that they can bring to a range of professional careers and voluntary opportunities.


Students who major or minor in History are provided with multiple opportunities to apply their knowledge and skills in ways that make an impact. The Senior Seminar capstone research paper teaches students both to produce knowledge and to manage a long-term project. Many students use this research to develop Honors theses, as the basis of further research through the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP), and to apply to graduate and professional schools in order to further their education. We offer the opportunity for undergraduates to present their research at the annual Department Conference and the statewide Phi Alpha Theta Conference, and support their participation at similar events on and off campus such as the UROP symposium. In addition, we provide occasions within and beyond the classroom for students to pursue public history and community-engaged learning and service projects. The History Department thus encourages all of our undergraduates to use their academic achievements to make a difference locally, nationally, and globally.


Course Objectives

Content Knowledge

  • Identify key events that express change over time
  • Identify and explain the causes of both continuity and change
  • Describe the influence of political ideologies, economic structures, social organizations, cultural perceptions, and natural environments on historical events 
  • Discuss the ways in which factors such as race, gender, class, ethnicity, region, and religion influence historical narratives

Habits of Mind

  • Explain how people have existed, acted, and thought in particular historical periods
  • Explain what influence the past has on the present
  • Develop an international perspective on the past that addresses the cumulative effect of global exchange, engagement, and interdependence
  • Interpret the complexity and diversity of situations, events, and past mentalities
  • Compare eras and regions in order to define enduring issues
  • Recognize and understand a range of viewpoints
  • Compare competing historical narratives
  • Challenge arguments of historical inevitability
  • Analyze cause-and-effect relationships and multiple causation
  • Identify and address the problem of evidentiary ambiguity

Practical Skills

  • Evaluate competing claims
  • Differentiate between historical facts and historical interpretations
  • Assess the credibility of primary and secondary sources
  • Formulate historical questions
  • Obtain historical data from a variety of sources
  • Recognize the discipline's standards for accurate and ethical research
  • Construct and support a coherent and compelling historical argument


Program Learning Outcomes

  • Evaluate debates among historians by identifying the ways in which questions about race, gender, class, ethnicity, region, religion, and other factors influence the historical narratives we write. 
  •  Formulate historical questions and articulate a viable research project using historical methodologies.
  •  Explain the influence of political ideologies, economic structures, social organizations, culture, and/or environments on the ways historical subjects have lived, acted, and/or thought in particular periods and places.
  •  Identify, critically analyze, and assess information and interpretations drawn from a range of sources and perspectives.
  •  Construct and support an historical argument with evidence from a variety of primary and secondary sources.
Last Updated: 8/21/19