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Capstone courses are intended to draw together and strengthen all the skills which have been developed by a given major. All VCU students are required to take a capstone in their major, and to pass that course with a grade of “C” or better, in order to graduate. In the case of History, they also serve as opportunities for career development. History majors must take at least one of the two following capstone courses:
HIST490 undertakes intensive study in seminar format, and is intended for students in their final two or three semesters in the program. Students in History 490 typically write an independent research paper of substantial length. Enrollment in HIST 490 is limited to no more than fifteen students per section.
The topic of HIST 490 varies according to the instructor, and do not necessarily repeat on a yearly or biennial basis. As such, Students who plan to take HIST 490 as their capstone should watch the offerings carefully, and if they find a topic or instructor they feel particularly excited about, they should opt to take it that semester rather than waiting. Recent sections of HIST 490 have covered the following topics: The American Revolution, The US in the 1960s, The Age of Piracy, Latin American Indigenes, Sexuality in America, The Soviet City, and The Medieval Cult of the Saints.
The research- and writing-intensive nature of HIST 490 is of particular value for students who wish to go into careers where writing skills are central. Papers produced in these seminars have the potential to serve as writing samples for applications to graduate programs in many fields, including the humanities, education, law, library science, museum studies, and so on.
HIST 490. Seminar in History. 3 Hours.
Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. May be repeated for a maximum of 9 credits. Prerequisite: HIST 300 with a minimum grade of C. Research and analysis of a selected historical topic in a seminar setting. See the Schedule of Classes for each semester's offerings.
VCU was one of the first schools in the nation to offer formal internships in history. Since the program started in 1977, more than 360 students have received academic credit and job experience by working on projects of an historical nature with approved museums and agencies. Internships help students to develop a wide variety of professional skills, and serve as professional experience that can become a significant step in building a career in areas as diverse as public history, communications, education and business and entrepreneurship.
HIST 493 places students in a field internship, and students receive credit for work on historical projects with approved agencies. Internships are generally for students of senior standing, and student interns will register for Hist 493. Students may receive 2, 3, or 4 credit hours for work per semester, for a maximum total of 6 internship credits. The work of the internship varies according to the placement, and our Director of Internships takes particular care to place students in internships which match their interests and career goals. Interns have written research papers and mini-histories, developed interpretive programs, participated in archaeological projects, conducted oral history interviews, prepared exhibitions, catalogued manuscript collections, and discharged a variety of administrative duties.
Placements to date include:
HIST 493. Internship. 2-4 Hours.
Semester course; 2-4 hours; 2-4 credits. May be repeated for a maximum total of 6 credits. Prerequisite: HIST 300 with a minimum grade of C. Enrollment generally open to students with senior standing. Students receive credit for work on historical projects with approved agencies. Determination of the amount of credit and permission of departmental internship coordinator must be procured prior to registration for the course.