(subject to change)
The Laurier History Department offers a well-structured program designed to assure a breadth and depth of learning that should help students adapt to the rapidly changing modern world. The undergraduate offerings of the History Department are organized according to the student's year of study. Each year has its own academic objectives, and each year builds on the preceding year and advances the student toward the knowledge and skills required for the succeeding year.
FIRST YEAR (100-LEVEL) COURSES focus on topics designed to appeal to students new to the university setting. The instructor selects topics which are thought to be most interesting and most necessary for the beginning student of history. Courses rely mainly on lectures, but most courses include class discussion in tutorials. The underlying idea in a first-year course is to introduce the student to the persons, events, ideas and forces which have shaped history and which should form part of the cultural literacy of every educated person. The instructor will introduce the student to methods of historical analysis through readings and assignments which will engage students in the assessment of primary sources, journal articles, and significant and engaging books. The assignments in a first-year course typically include an analysis of primary documents, short and narrowly defined essays, and book reviews. The instructor will normally provide considerable guidance as to how these assignments should be approached. There is often a mid-term in 100-level classes and always a final exam (worth at least 30% of the final grade). First-year courses vary in size but usually have 100 to 200 students.
SECOND YEAR (200-LEVEL) COURSES build the foundation for upper-level courses by improving the student's understanding of the process of change over time. This aim is accomplished through surveys which cover long time periods or broad geographical expanses. These survey courses vary in size from smaller classes of 50 students, to larger ones of more than 150 students. The main method of instruction is the lecture, though some courses include discussion classes on significant themes and readings from assigned texts. Second-year courses are intended to provide students with the chronological and thematic frameworks on which they can build more specialized knowledge of particular issues.
THIRD YEAR (300-LEVEL) COURSES permit greater specialization and depth. In comparison to second-year courses, 300-level offerings facilitate a more intense study of specialized themes or more narrowly defined historical periods. Most third-year courses combine both lecture and discussion components. The classes tend to be much smaller than second-year classes and rarely exceed the limit of 40 students. Honours students intending to opt for a B.A. thesis or graduate school are encouraged to take HI 398, which is designed to explore questions of historical method and to survey recent trends in historical scholarship.
FOURTH YEAR (400-LEVEL) COURSES are seminars and represent the crowning experience of the Honours history program. These courses promote discussion of historical literature and research on specific historical periods and themes. These classes are relatively small and have an optimal size of about fifteen students. The seminars give students an opportunity to engage in their own research projects (usually based on primary sources), and provide a forum for the presentation and discussion of each student's research paper. Single Honours History majors are required to take TWO reading seminars and ONE research seminar which is on the same topic as one of the two reading seminars. Combined Honours History majors are required to take ONE reading seminar and ONE research seminar on the same topic. The Department monitors seminar enrollments carefully to ensure that all requirements and rules are being followed. Also note that 400-level seminars MUST be completed at WLU; no courses completed at another institution can stand in for a WLU 400-level seminar. In addition to the seminar, students with exceptional standing and the permission of the Department may also take HI499, the B.A. thesis.
Area (Breadth) Requirements: All History students are required to fulfill area requirements. These are designed to ensure that students gain a familiarity with the history of different geographical regions as well as with different historical themes and time periods. For specific area requirements, see "Undergraduate Program Requirements" and "History Program Checklists".
Other History Course Offerings
ONLINE (DISTANCE EDUCATION) HISTORY COURSES: Distance Education courses in History are offered at the 100, 200, and 300-levels, and allow students greater flexibility in terms of scheduling their classes and permit students to take history courses over the Spring and Summer terms (although DE courses are also offered during the Fall and Winter terms).