DePaul University Catalog > Student Handbooks > Undergraduate Student Handbook > University Information > Liberal Studies Program > Liberal Studies Learning Domains > Understanding the Past

Understanding the Past

Courses in the Understanding the Past domain study human life in past societies (primarily pre-1945) as a process of continuity and change over time. Many of the documents that mediate the past to us have considerable aesthetic or intellectual value in and of themselves. However, courses in this learning domain examine texts, art works, and other forms of evidence less for their aesthetic or intellectual value than for their usefulness as tools for reconstructing aspects of the past and building sensible, defensible, and well-informed historical interpretations about the past and about causation in the past. Students generally take two courses in the UP Domain Area.

Learning Outcomes

​Students will be able to:

  • Explain historical developments in terms of continuity and change.
  • Describe the relevant political, economic, social or cultural contexts of historical events and developments.
  • Explain how people have lived, acted and thought in one or more particular historical periods.
  • Analyze and evaluate primary and secondary sources.
  • Differentiate between historical facts and historical interpretations.
  • Articulate an historical argument.
  • Support an interpretation with evidence from primary and secondary sources.
  • Articulate how geography and regional differences affect the past.
  • Interpret the complexity and diversity among issues, events, and ideas of the past.
  • Distinguish among multiple perspectives that shape interpretations of the past.
  • Use the categories of race, gender, class, ethnicity, region, and religion to analyze historical events and developments.


Below please find examples of courses previously offered for understanding the past domain credit. For information on current offerings, please consult Campus Connection.

African and Black Diaspora Studies
American Studies


Asian American Studies

Catholic Studies

Comparative Literature

Computer Games Development



Graphic Design


History of Art and Architecture
Intercultural Communication


Latin American and Latino Studies

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer Studies

Media and Cinema Studies

School for New Learning