History majors are trained to think critically across a diverse range of sources and perspectives. This experience will help them go on to a variety of different careers, including fields such as teaching and heritage as well as policy and intelligence analysts, bankers, writers, artists and government administrators. This is achieved through the development of an Historical Thinking Skills in each individual student during their career at NUS.
Historical Thinking Skills are the reasoning skills that a student of history will develop though undergraduate modules at the National University of Singapore. These skills are varied and interconnected. They mainly involve the identification, comparison, and evaluation of multiple perspectives in order to develop nuanced understandings and conclusions about historical developments and events. A mastery of these skills will lead to an appreciation of chronology and context, comprehension, research, analysis and interpretation in order to make decisions and develop opinions. Through a variety of exercises, spread throughout various modules, each student will explore the past while also developing these skills, which will prepare them for a variety of careers in our ever changing world.
Students will be introduced to the study of the past. There will be an emphasis on the importance of a basic understanding of chronology and context, which will establish a deeper understanding of historical significance of events and developments that shape their world. This will be accomplished through tutorials, along with written assignments that focus on the interpretation of primary documents as well as an analysis of how existing heritage has a connection between the past and present.
As students begin studying modules at a higher level, there will be an increased focus on the connection between cause and consequence, along with analytical skills. There will be an emphasis on the consideration of multiple and varied sources, and how they can be placed within different interpretations of the past. To accomplish these goals, a variety of written assignments – such as book reviews, annotated bibliographies and thought pieces – will be used to allow students to develop their understanding of historical perspectives.
Students will further develop their writing, research and analytical skills through a more focused study of topics in which ethical and interpretative debates are emphasized. They will begin conducting their own research on unique topics, and place them into the larger historical and historiographical context.
In their last year of undergraduate study, students are expected to pursue their own research interests, and provide a thoughtful and considered analysis of unique historical topics. Written assignments and research will require a deeper understanding and active engagement with historical texts and documents, and provide a personal analysis and unique interpretation of events.