• HIST 1307, 3 credits
  • Faculty Coordinator: Katharine Gerbner
  • Faculty Coordinator Assistant: Catherine Ulep
  • Sponsoring U of M Department: History
  • Fulfills U of M Requirement(s): Liberal Education—Historical Perspective Core
  • Teacher Applications: Check the Applicant Handbook for details.

Course Information

Issues, events, and ideas in the social, economic, political, and intellectual history of the United States, from the moment of earliest European contact through the Civil War and Reconstruction. Indigenous America before 1492, European conquest and colonization, revolution and nation-building, national expansion, political culture and reform movements, slavery, immigration, industrialization and labor, family and gender roles, religion and culture.

Class size limit: 30

Sample Syllabus

U of M Catalog Description

Conflict/change, from the colonial era through the Civil War. Colonization/resistance, slavery, nation-building, westward expansion, gender roles, religion, reform, race/ethnicity, immigration, industrialization, class relations. Students use primary sources, historical scholarship.

Student Qualifications

HIST 1307 is an intensive U of M course that requires substantial reading, writing, and critical thinking. Students enrolling in HIST 1307 must be juniors or seniors and meet at least ONE of the following additional qualifications:

  • Have a cumulative GPA in recent social science courses exceeding 3.25, OR 
  • Are in the top 30% of their high school class, OR 
  • Demonstrate sufficient strength in the necessary reading and writing skills to the CIS instructor. 

Instructor Qualifications

Instructors apply and are selected by faculty in accordance with the U of M policy governing Academic Appointments with Teaching Functions. Once approved, an instructor is appointed as a Teaching Specialist 9754 (University Job Title and Code) in the College of Continuing and Professional Studies. Instructor qualifications are determined by the sponsoring University department.

Teachers who teach this course every other year are required to attend U of M-sponsored professional development events for their cohort during their non-teaching years and in the summer, as well as during years when they teach the U of M course.

View the Instructor Applicant Handbook for course-specific qualifications and application steps. 


Recommended but not required: As recent an edition as possible of one of these general US history textbooks: David Henkin and Rebecca McLennan, Becoming America (McGraw-Hill Education); John Mack Faragher and Mari Jo Buhle, Out of Many: A History of the American People (Pearson); Jacquelyn Jones, et al., Created Equal: A History of the United States (Pearson); or Eric Foner, Give Me Liberty! An American History (Norton), Vol. 1 or 2 for the separate courses or combined edition if teaching both.

In addition to a textbook, students are assigned a range of supplemental books, scholarly articles, and primary sources (firsthand accounts and other contemporaneous evidence from the era under study) as selected by the individual instructor.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are all of the readings specified or mandated by the University of Minnesota? If not, what are some of the choices?
The selection of readings, including the textbook, is at the discretion of the instructor with the faculty coordinator’s guidance. The group of participating teachers also regularly reviews and identifies supplemental resources (e.g., scholarly books, articles, documentary films, online resources; firsthand historical documents, publications, videos, and images), from which instructors choose for their own students, either by ordering copies of the books for their classrooms or distributing photocopies or password-protected digital resources.

Do teachers have a choice in assignments? Are there required assignments?
There are two “common assignments” for each course, which are 3−5-page take-home essays. One common assignment is an historiographic essay in which students review and analyze differing historical interpretations of a given historical topic, such as antebellum slavery (HIST 1307) or U.S. Imperialism at the turn of the 20th century (HIST 1308). The second common assignment is an analysis of primary sources relating to the events at Lexington Green, MA, in 1775 (HIST 1307) or of an oral history relating to the Vietnam War-era (HIST 1308). Teachers are free to choose and design other assignments.

Who creates the exams?
Individual teachers prepare and administer their own assessments.

Is there a training and mentoring system for new CIS history teachers?
There is not a formal mentoring system. However, teachers generally share materials and ideas in workshops and are encouraged to contact the faculty coordinator or veteran CIS history teachers for support and advice. New teachers also benefit from workshop sessions that focus on course content and University processes, as well as an orientation to College in the Schools that will familiarize them with the support available and prepare them for tasks such as registering students and posting grades.

High school class schedules vary: can a teacher in the block system teach history?
All courses offered through CIS have the same minimum number of contact hours as the on-campus sections. Teachers adapt the University schedule to fit the schedules at their high schools.

What happens at typical teacher workshops?
Typical activities at CIS workshops include meeting University faculty and hearing about their recent research in the discipline; responding to and discussing assigned scholarly readings; reviewing and/or developing student assessment tools; sharing instructional materials; discussing particular content, pedagogy, or assessment of the University course; and receiving updates on CIS program policies and practices.

What happens at typical student field days?
There is no field day associated with HIST 1307. Students are encouraged to take the second course in the sequence, HIST 1308, and participate in the associated field day occurring in each spring semester. 

Students are assigned some short readings on a given topic (most recently, the history of US immigration policy from the 1880s to the 1950s) to complete in advance. On the field day, the students experience what it would be like to take the same History course on campus; they attend a large-group lecture by a History Department professor who provides an in-depth analysis of the selected topic, and they actively participate in small-group discussion sections led by graduate teaching assistants or by CIS-History instructors to deepen their understanding and reflect on what they have learned about the topic.

High Schools Offering This Course

  • Braham Area Schools
  • Burnsville High School
  • Cleveland High School
  • Eden Valley-Watkins High School
  • Hill-Murray High School (Maplewood)
  • Johnson Senior High School (Saint Paul)
  • New Prague High School
  • North Community High School (Minneapolis)
  • Pine City High School
  • Richfield High School
  • Russell-Tyler-Ruthton High School (Tyler)
  • Somerset High School
  • St. Charles High School
  • St. Clair High School
  • Watertown-Mayer High School