Objectives and Outcomes

Academic Plan

Program Coordinators


Andrew Culp, '13

History major
Altoona, PA

"There are so many career paths with a history degree, from teaching to research and beyond. Our professors are engaging and teach us to apply what we learn. And we have opportunities to learn through travel—like to D.C. and Gettysburg. It’s a great major and has taught me so much."

Program Mission Statement

The Bachelor of Arts degree in History at Penn State Altoona serves the university mission by introducing students to the study of the human past. This study involves not only knowledge about historical events but also an understanding of the causes and processes involved in the growth and development of cultures over time, an awareness of the function of change and continuities in past societies, and an appreciation of and respect for the many varieties of historical experience across cultures and over time. The craft of the historian includes the critical analysis of texts and arguments, the interpretation of evidence, research conducted in a variety of media, and clear and effective written and oral communication. These skills prepare students for vocational and professional opportunities in a variety of fields and also enable them to be life-long learners. In addition, a major in History helps them to become thoughtful and effective citizens of an increasingly interconnected world.

Program Goals

  1. To present basic information on the main stages of human historical development.
  2. To illustrate the interrelationships among history events through an understanding of the processes of change, continuity, and causation over time.
  3. To offer opportunities to analyze the implications of a broad range of social, economic, political, and culture problems and developments over time.
  4. To improve student mastery of critical reading, writing, and thinking skills.

Student Learning Objectives: Each of the above program goals will be realized through meeting specific student learning objectives which will be assessed in different appropriate manners in specific class settings and activities.

Assessment of Student Learning Objectives
Student Learning ObjectivesHow AssessedWhen Assessed
Master Chronological ThinkingWritten assignments and examsSurvey Courses
100- Level Courses
Master Historical ComprehensionWritten assignments and examsSurvey Courses
100- Level Courses
Master Historical and Historiographical Analysis and InterpretationWritten assignments and exams400- Level Courses
Senior Capstone
Demonstrate Historical Research Capabilities built upon the Analysis of Primary and Secondary SourcesResearch Projects400-Level Courses
Senior Capstone
Demonstrate Skills in Analyzing Historical Decision MakingWritten assignments and exams400- Level Courses
Senior Capstone
Demonstrate Values Associated with the Study of HistoryWritten assignments and examsSurvey Courses
100- Level Courses
Senior Capstone
Compete Successfully in Appropriate Educational and Professional MarketsExit interview and alumni surveysPost-graduation, periodic

Faculty Goals to Advance Student Learning Objectives

  1. Be knowledgeable about the history assessment program.
  2. Incorporate student learning objectives into their pedagogy.
  3. Include in course syllabi measurable means of assessing student learning objectives.

Criteria for Evaluation of Student Exams and Essays: Rising levels of mastery will be expected as students move from survey and 100-level courses to 400-level courses and the senior capstone.

  1. Student includes accurate and relevant information.
  2. Student shows an awareness of historical context.
  3. Student shows an awareness of the interrelatedness of events.
  4. Student articulates and organizes ideas in coherent argument.

Exit Interview of History Graduates

  1. Student Self-Assessment
  2. Student Assessment of the Major