Course Levels for Undergrads

Jump to levels 100 | 200 | 300 | 400

100 Level

The 100-level classes provide survey coverage of the broad fields of history (e.g., United States, European, and world history and civilization). They are often the first exposure that undergraduates have to the general problems of interpreting texts and developing historical arguments. Most 100-level classes draw large enrollments, and can either employ teaching assistants to conduct small discussion sections, or graders, whose primary duty is to evaluate student work by marking papers, but who can be asked to do more as agreed upon by the professor and the grader(s). Typically classes on this level are suitable for general education listing. They have no prerequisites and should be accessible to both non-majors and majors. Such courses may serve faculty as a means of recruiting students for further coursework in their particular fields.

READING: Most instructors of 100-level courses assign readings from textbooks (if a suitable text is available) as well as a range of supplementary readings that may include both primary and secondary source material. Weekly assignments consist typically of approximately 100 pages divided among texts, secondary readings, and primary source materials.

STUDENT WRITING: At least 8-10 pages (standard font, double-spaced, with references), excluding exams.

EXAMS: Typically a midterm and a final exam.

PARTICIPATION: In the hope of promoting active learning, the Undergraduate Curriculum Committee recommends that section participation count at least 10% toward the final grade.


200 Level

Like l00-level classes, 200-level classes provide survey coverage, but their subjects are more specific in their geographical, chronological, or thematic coverage. They are usually limited to at least two of these dimensions (e.g., Premodern Japanese History, or Science in Western Civilization). 200-level courses should expose students to historical scholarship of a more specific nature than is presented in textbooks. With some exceptions, these classes consist of large lectures. Besides acquiring familiarity with the particular topic of a course, students should develop competency in the craft of writing historical papers; they should learn to interpret texts and marshal evidence in support of a historical argument. Suitable for general education listing, these courses should have no prerequisites and should be accessible to non-majors as well as to majors. Because 200-level courses often draw large enrollments, they can employ graders, whose primary duty is to evaluate student work but who can do more than simply mark papers.

READING: Most instructors of 200-level courses combine textbooks (if suitable ones are available) with supplemental primary, and secondary readings. As on the 100 level, about 100 pages are typically assigned weekly.

WRITING: Typically 8-15 pages (standard font, double-spaced, with references), excluding exams. Because the department often employs graduate student graders in large 200-level courses, writing assignments should be spread out and spaced with exams in such a way as to avoid burdening graders with workloads that make it difficult for them to pursue their own studies.

EXAMS: Typically a midterm and final exam

PARTICIPATION: These are usually large courses without discussion sections; therefore, there is little opportunity for discussion by students. Should the course be structured to allow for student participation, it should make up part of the grade.


300 Level

Like 200-level courses, the subjects of 300-level courses are usually limited to two of the major dimensions of geography, period, and theme (e.g., Medieval European Civilization). However, unlike 200-level courses, they are usually limited to 35 students and taught by an instructor without graders or teaching assistants. Such courses should give students a sense of the professional concerns, methodologies, and standards of historians. Courses on this level have prerequisites, stipulated at the instructor's discretion, typically a college-level history course or other courses relevant to the particular topic. Certain 300-level courses may be suitable for satisfying the general education requirement.

READING: Weekly assignments typically include at least 120 pages divided between primary source readings and scholarly treatments.

WRITING: Student papers should develop well-supported historical arguments on the basis of research in primary sources and on the interpretation of texts. Most courses require a paper or papers totaling at least 10-15 pages.

EXAMS: Typically a midterm and final exam.

PARTICIPATION: Should count at least 10% of grade.


400 Level

The subjects of 400-level courses are typically limited in all three of the major dimensions: geography, period, and theme (e.g., U.S. 19th-Century Biology, or Social History of Modern China). Their standard format is lecture-discussion, with enrollments limited to 35 students to preserve the discussion format. Typically such courses are open to students who have taken a specific prerequisite course, a year of college history, or secured the permission of the instructor. The assigned readings consist of primary sources or secondary publications in the subject area. Graduate students may take 400-level courses for graduate credit; requirements for graduate credit will differ from those for undergraduate credit at the discretion of the instructor.

WRITING: Typically a research or historiography paper of at least 10-20 pages.

READING: Weekly assignments are typically at least 120 pages divided between secondary and primary sources.

EXAMS: Typically, a midterm and a final.

PARTICIPATION: Minimum 10'% of grade.