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Our Mission and Goals

The Department of History at UMD is devoted to understanding the past in global perspective. The aim of the department is to assist students in becoming:

  1. Better equipped to effectively do research on their own using various historical sources
  2. More effective citizens of the global community and more able to think critically and analytically by using the past as a model.

The department offers a major and minor by integrating categories of historical thought, diverse in both their geographic as well as chronological breadth.

The history major and minor provide a foundation for the liberal arts curriculum. They also contribute to a broad range of programs within education, business, social sciences, humanities and the fine arts. Our mission is to instruct students in the historical discipline in order to prepare them for citizenship in the future and to facilitate not only their university education but to make them life-long learners of the social and historical process and equip them with the tools they need to succeed after graduation. To this end, the History Department has identified four Program Learning Outcomes (PLOs) that map to the Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs) identified as the core components of UMD's Assessment of Student Learning program. They are:

Program Learning Outcome (PLO)

PLO Description

Student Learning Outcome (SLO)

Assignments used to measure PLO

Assessment Cycle

1: Arguments

Students will accurately explain the causes and consequences of historical change and continuity.

SLO 2: Construct, implement, and apply knowledge from instruction and experience

Essay-based exams


3-year cycle

2: Evidence

Students will analyze and interpret primary sources in their historical context.

SLO 3: Think critically and creatively in seeking solutions to practical and theoretical problems

Primary Source Assessments (quizzes, discussion board posts, response papers, etc.)

3-year cycle

3: Historiography

Students will know and apply current historical methods and theories in secondary scholarship.

SLO 1: Demonstrate competency in a major field.

Book Reviews, Historiography Papers, Annotated Bibliographies

3-year cycle

4: Research and Method

The culmination of development in historical argument and practice. This PLO is intended as a holistic measure of student proficiency in arguments, evidence, and historiography, especially in the HIST 5905 capstone seminar course.

SLO 6: Communicate effectively through writing, speaking, and interpersonal and group interactions

Research Projects and Presentations in capstone class (HIST 5905)

Research Projects in 1xxx-4xxx courses

3-year cycle for 1xxx-4xxx, Annually for HIST 5905

Students awarded a Bachelor of Arts in the Department of History will have therefore attained competencies in the following areas as a result of successful completion of our program:

  1. A knowledge base in all five areas of specialization within the historical discipline which include Africa, E Asia, Europe and Russia, The Middle East and The U.S.
  2. A skill set to facilitate oral and written expression and independent research which includes the ability to: Utilize evidence and sources, construct a bibliography, develop a thesis, organize oral and written presentations and, employ correct grammar in all communications.
  3. Analytic skills of the historical discipline which include the ability to: Employ proper historical methodology, formulate a research question in the discipline, develop a narrative from oral and written primary and secondary sources, and to understand different historiographical perspectives and use them as a tool of analysis.

In order to maintain and further enhance the quality of our instruction, the Department will compile, discuss, and assess data each year for the purposes of:

  • Modifications to the program
  • Position and funding requests
  • Faculty and programmatic development by utilizing the following direct and indirect measures