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Student Career Information & Learning Outcomes

Graduation Day


History as a field of study develops habits of mind, values of civic engagement and citizenship, and specific skills that have served our students well in their later avocations and endeavors. Recent graduates have found work in journalism, law, all levels of education, government service and the military, business, politics, curatorial and management roles in museums, cultural organizations, and other non-profits, and communications and public relations – reflecting nationwide trends identified recently by the American Historical Association. To these careers our students bring their passion for service to our communities, critical thinking skills to tackle perplexing and complicated problems to make creative solutions, and written and oral communication expertise and research abilities.

Please use this link to connect with UB Career Services. The department partners with Career Services to help students obtain internships, especially those that provide experiential learning but are not explicitly associated with history, like with our public history internships. Career Services can assist with developing internships and mentor relationships with local alumni in many fields.

Please see the American Historical Association for a general guide to careers for history majors.

Learning Outcomes

The undergraduate and graduate programs in History enable students to explore the past with open-mindedness, thoroughness, and rigor; interrogate explanations and interpretations of the past; pursue original research in order to develop a deeper understanding of past events, people, and societies; and develop critical thinking, writing, and reading skills vital to future studies and careers.

Over the course of the major, students will develop their historical knowledge, habits of thinking, and skills through the required courses, summarized in these learning outcomes.  Students take courses that are organized by “level” and by breadth requirements that are outlined in the curriculum maps.  Learning outcomes and assessments of individual courses draw on and the plan for assessment of student achievement corresponds to these outcomes.

Historical Knowledge

  • Develop a wide range of historical information
    • identify the key events which express/define change over time in a particular place or region
    • identify how change occurs over time
    • explain historical continuity and change
    • describe the influence of political ideologies, economic structures, social organization, 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

Historical Thinking

  • Recognize the past as distinct from the present
    • explain how people have existed, acted and thought in particular historical periods
    • explain what influence the past has on the present
  • Emphasize the complex nature of past experiences
    • interpret the complexity and diversity of situations, events and past mentalities
    • compare eras and regions in order to define enduring issues
  • Emphasize the complex and problematic nature of the historical record
    • recognize a range of viewpoints
    • compare competing historical narratives
    • challenge arguments of historical inevitability
    • analyze cause-and-effect relationships and multiple causation

Historical Skills

  • Develop skills in critical thinking and reading
    • evaluate debates among historians
    • differentiate between historical facts and historical interpretations
    • assess the credibility of primary and secondary sources
  • Develop research skills
    • formulate historical questions
    • obtain historical data from a variety of sources
    • identify gaps in available records
  • Develop the ability to construct reasonable historical arguments
    • write a well-organized historical argument
    • support an interpretation with historical evidence from a variety of primary and secondary sources
  • Develop oral communication skills
    • present research and findings in clear and compelling fashion
    • develop critical skills of analysis through discussion of primary and secondary sources

We have developed these outcomes using an example from Utah State University, the American Historical Association’s on-going project on assessment, and SUNY guidelines.