Directed Studies in History: Comparative and Thematic

Humanities & Social Sciences
Course Code
HIST 3390
Semester Length
15 Weeks
Max Class Size
N/A; independent study
Method(s) Of Instruction
Typically Offered
To be determined


Course Description
HIST 3390, Directed Studies in History: Comparative and Thematic, provides students with an opportunity to pursue a specific research interest through a structured and rigorous process of historical inquiry designed to refine critical reading and writing skills.
Directed studies projects are supervised and evaluated by a faculty member in the History department. Students must first meet with the faculty supervisor and receive written approval of the proposed directed studies project. Students must also provide a list of courses completed and in progress in History as part of the application process. Permission from the Department Chair and the approval of the Dean of Humanities and Social Sciences is required before registration can be completed. NOTE: Students cannot take HIST 3390 and HIST 4490 in the same term.
Course Content

The topic of the directed studies research project will be developed collaboratively by the student and the faculty supervisor. The research project does not need to be substantially original but must represent a new approach to a historical research question. Students will engage in the practice of historical inquiry and analysis, incorporate critical perspectives, and apply historical reasoning through a process of selection and interpretation of historical evidence.

Learning Activities

Independent study, with supervision on a regular planned schedule throughout the semester.

Means of Assessment

Assessment will be in accordance with the Douglas College Evaluation Policy. Students may conduct research with human participants as part of their coursework in this class. The faculty supervisor is responsible for ensuring that the research project complies with College policies on ethical conduct for research involving humans.

Students will have opportunities to build and refine their research capacity and historical thinking skills through assessments appropriate to the level of the course. There will be at least three separate assessments.

The value of each assessment and evaluation, expressed as a percentage of the final grade, will be listed in the course outline provided to the directed studies student at the beginning of the term. Specific evaluation criteria will vary according to the instructor’s assessment of appropriate evaluation methods.

An example of one evaluation scheme:

Two primary source essays, or one primary source essay and a historiographic essay 20%

Discussion of readings and written reading journal 30%

A multi-stage research project comprised of the following assignments, 50% in total

  • Research proposal 5%
  • Annotated bibliography of primary and secondary sources 15%
  • Research presentation 5%
  • Research paper 25%
Learning Outcomes

1. Locating, examining, assessing, and evaluating a range of primary sources and secondary scholarly literature critically and analytically (reading history).

  • Students will develop the ability to analyse and interpret complex historical documents.
  • Students may be introduced to archival research

2. Constructing historical arguments, taking historical perspectives, and interpreting historical problems through different types of writing assignments of varying lengths (writing history).

  • Students will gain increased familiarity with the variety of scholarly methodologies used to interpret the historical record.
  • Students will complete assignments that explore historiographic issues, trends and debates.
  • Students will gain the ability to plan and complete more complex writing assignments.
  • Students will refine their citation practice and gain increased familiarity with documentation of sources.

 3. Participating in active and informed historical debate through discussion and presentation (discussing history).

  • Students will engage in regular, structured, and extended discussion and debate of their course reading.
  • Students will regularly discuss their progress on the research project with the faculty supervisor.
  • Students will develop familiarity with a formal research presentation.

4. Investigating the ways that history is created, preserved and disseminated through public memory and commemoration, oral history, community engagement, and other forms of popular visual and written expressions about the past (applying history)

  • Students will be introduced to ethical research practices.
  • Students may be introduced to the theory and practice of oral history, public history, and/or digital humanities projects.


Textbook Materials

The faculty supervisor will assign a selection of primary documents and scholarly journal articles, and at least one academic monograph on the broad theme of the research topic. Where appropriate, students may be assigned a survey textbook as supplementary reading. 

Students will develop reading lists of primary and secondary literature and/or annotated bibliographies on their chosen topic or theme in consultation with the faculty supervisor as part of the research project.



A minimum of 12 credits in History, including 6 credits at the second year or higher level. The student must be in good academic standing.


No corequisite courses.


No equivalent courses.

Course Guidelines

Course Guidelines for previous years are viewable by selecting the version desired. If you took this course and do not see a listing for the starting semester / year of the course, consider the previous version as the applicable version.

Course Transfers

These are for current course guidelines only. For a full list of archived courses please see

Institution Transfer Details for HIST 3390
Athabasca University (AU) AU HIST 4XX (3)
Camosun College (CAMO) CAMO HIST 290 (3)
College of the Rockies (COTR) COTR HIST 3XX (3)
Emily Carr University of Art & Design (EC) EC HUMN 300 lev (3)
Northern Lights College (NLC) NLC HIST 2XX (3)
Okanagan College (OC) OC HIST 2XX (3)
Quest University (QU) QU TRN 1XXX (3)
Simon Fraser University (SFU) SFU HIST 3XX (3)
University Canada West (UCW) UCW HIST 3XX (3)
University of Northern BC (UNBC) UNBC HIST 3XX (3)
University of the Fraser Valley (UFV) UFV HIST 490 (3)
Yorkville University (YVU) YVU GES 3XXX (3)

Course Offerings

Summer 2023