This information pertains only to students currently in their fourth year of the History Major or Medial Plan (i.e. graduating in Spring 2013)
Our curricular reform:
This year, the history department undertook a reform of our curriculum, prompted by a change in the way the Faculty of Arts and Science assesses course weight. Previously, course weight (the number of units you receive for a course) was determined by the number of classroom (or contact) hours. Seminars thus counted for the same number of units as lectures. Beginning this summer, course weight will be a function of the work a student is required to put into the class rather than the classroom time. As many of you have told us, and as we ourselves are well aware, our upper level seminars are substantially more work than our lecture classes. Starting next year, we will be able to recognize the higher workload required in our seminars by crediting students with more units in upper level seminar classes (HIST 333-499). Henceforth, upper level seminars will count for 9.0 units if they are full year, and 4.5 units if they are half year. All other courses in the department including core seminars will remain at the previous weighting (3.0 units for a half year course, 6.0 units for a full year course). Please note that upper level seminars taken this year (or in previous years) will not be reweighted. Those same seminars offered next year will be accorded more units, but the expectations will also be higher. As you receive more units for the seminars, and have more time to devote to them (because they effectively count for a course and a half), we will expect higher levels of preparation for in class discussion, and more polished final work.
We opted to make this change both to ensure that students are credited for the work they do, and to preserve our seminar system. We will continue to require students to take the same number of seminars. The number of seminar units required, however, will go up, as the seminars will now be worth more, and will be even more central to our program. Because we cannot change the total number of units required for the major or medial plan, there will be a corresponding reduction in the number of units students are required to fulfill through option courses (generally our 200 level lecture courses). Please note that henceforth HIST 515 will not count as a seminar course: it will help satisfy your lecture units (in 2A) rather than your seminar units (in 1C) on your advisement report on Solus). This reflects current practice, as most students who take the 515 take it in addition to, rather than instead of, upper level seminar.
What this means for you:
This change will come into effect in the summer of 2012, when you are in the middle of fulfilling your plan requirements. We have come up with a plan to "grandfather" students who are currently in third year to ensure that you are not disadvantaged as we move to the new system.