History Courses

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Foundations of Modern History [Full Year]
This is an introductory course structured to accommodate students with varying degrees of proficiency in historical skills and the social sciences. Emphasis is placed on classroom discussions, note-taking, active reading, developing and defending arguments, researching, and writing. Students will start the year with an introduction to historiography, focusing on three questions: What is history? Why study history? How do historians work? The remainder of the year will expose students to the cultural, political, and economic forces that have shaped the world from 1500 to the present day.

U.S. History [Full Year]
This course is designed to introduce sophomores to the major political, economic, and cultural themes that have shaped the “American character” from the colonial period to the present. Emphasis is placed on classroom discussions, critical reading, and close examination and interpretation of primary and secondary sources. Students will learn to pay particular attention to detecting bias, thinking independently, and formulating and defending arguments with appropriate evidence. They will also write essays of various lengths, including an independent research paper.

U.S. History for International Students [Full Year]
U.S. History for International Students is designed to provide sophomore and junior international students with a general background in the history of the United States. The political, economic, and social development of the United States is traced from colonial times to the present day. Students are responsible for outside reading assignments, class handouts, and following current events. Particular attention is paid to building note-taking skills, writing techniques, and research skills. Prerequisite: Permission of the dean of academics and faculty.

U.S. History Honors [Full Year]
This course is designed to add depth to the regular survey of U.S. History. Emphasis is placed on developing skills related to the understanding and use of different scholarly works and primary sources, including the detection of bias in those sources. Students in this course may participate in an historical essay contest conducted annually among independent schools in the Hartford area. Prerequisite: Permission of the dean of academics and faculty.

AP U.S. History [Full Year]
This course is designed to add depth to the regular survey of U.S. history. The fall term will start in 1945 and will examine the major themes of post-World War II America. In the Winter / Spring, students will examine the major themes from exploration of Colonial America up to the start of World War II. Emphasis is placed on the use and analysis of primary and secondary sources, critical thinking, and thoughtful class participation. Students are required to write a substantive research paper and can participate in a Constitutional essay contest conducted annually among independent schools in the Hartford area. Students develop the necessary skills that will help them to prepare for the AP Exam in U.S. history. Prerequisite: Permission of the department chair.

Area studies [Full Year]
Unique in a secondary school curriculum, Suffield offers students the choice of four courses to fully investigate a region outside of the United States. With the flexibility of a full-year course, students undergo deep intellectual dives into a regions’s history, political and economic structures, philosophical and religious traditions, expressions in art, musical, and literature, evolving social norms, and the connection between past and present. Additionally, students will continually analyze the development of the region’s cultural identity, on its own terms and in relation to the outside world. In the spring term, the capstone project invites students to fully engage with a topic of their choice and present it to the wider school community. Students select one of the following courses: African Studies, Asian Studies [China, Japan, and India], European Studies, or Latin American Studies. A student enrolled in an area studies course may be invited to honors designation at the midterm in fall term if he or she is earning honors-level grades and is willing to do additional work, including a rigorous research project. Honor placement will be determined by the classroom teacher.