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Portfolio Option

Requirements: 500, 501, 12 elective credits minimum in their major field, 6 elective credits minimum in their minor field, up to 6 additional elective credits, and 3 portfolio credits for 33 credits total.  Elective credits may include independent studies, readings and conference classes, workshops, internships, or classes in other disciplines, in addition to regular catalogued history courses.  Students in the MA program may count up to 9 total credits from courses numbered 590, 594-598 toward their degree.  Portfolio option students may not include thesis (HIST 593) or project (HIST 591) credits among their electives. They must take three portfolio credits (HIST 592) to allow time to assemble portfolio pieces, prepare for their defense and receive a grade for this culminating activity. Secondary education teachers who plan to do a history curriculum project as part of their portfolio may take ED-CIFS 536: Curriculum Planning and Implementation, and/or ED-CIFS 537: Instructional Theory, and count these credits toward their degree. One year of a single foreign language at the collegiate level is also required to graduate, but these credits will not be counted toward the 33 required to graduate. Someone who is fluent in a second language might be allowed to test out of the language requirement.

Students who wish to do the portfolio option as a culminating activity should declare this intent during the application process, but must do so officially no later than the end of their second semester, or before completing 18 graduate credits. (Students waiting longer than this will be required to make a special appeal to switch from the thesis to portfolio option. They may also need to take additional courses to meet portfolio requirements.) In conjunction with their adviser, students will draft a short written prospectus in which they select a major and a minor field in history, draft a plan of course work, and describe how these will come together around particular intellectual interests or areas of expertise sought by the student. The plan should exhibit a sense of cohesion rooted in thoughtful learning objectives and/or career goals. The student will create a supervisory committee of (usually) three faculty members to approve the prospectus, assess the student’s portfolio, and administer and evaluate an oral exam on the student’s body of work. Examples of possible major and minor fields include: U.S. history, Latin American history, European history, ancient and medieval history, Asian and Middle Eastern history, religious history, environmental history, gender history, 20th century global history, military history, the history of social movements, and public and digital history; fields must comprise a cluster of related classes designed to provide some specialization for the student and be available within the Boise State curriculum.

The portfolio must contain the following: 1) a historiographical paper of at least 10 pages; 2) an analytical research paper of 25 or more pages in the student’s major area; 3) a curriculum project that integrates content knowledge and skill development from the student’s major/minor areas of study into curricular materials that align with Common Core or other established standards, OR an analytical research paper of 25 or more pages in the student’s minor area. Each of these portfolio items must have earned grades of a B or better to be included, and they may be produced either in the process of taking catalogue-listed classes or via independent studies with a single professor. (Independent studies may be 1 to 3 credits, with 45 hours minimum of work equaling one credit.) The portfolio should also include an annotated list of all books and articles the student has read fully as part of studying their major and minor, along with an appendix of additional papers or projects produced as part of their graduate education in the history department. The adviser will insert a copy of the student’s transcripts. Finally, the student should write a short 5-7 page cover essay explaining the overall aim of the student’s graduate plan, how the portfolio’s contents and student’s coursework fulfilled it, and what the student has accomplished and learned in the process.

Upon completion of the portfolio, the student will take part in an oral exam conducted by their supervisory committee. The committee will examine and grade the portfolio (P/F) and then engage the student in an analytical discussion related to their specializations and body of work, similar to that conducted at a thesis or project defense. The student will present orally (generally 10-20 minutes) a summary or synthesis of their work and its impact upon their thinking and learning, and then will answer a series of analytical questions about it.