What do we teach?
The curriculum for our undergraduate students covers all periods in the history of Poland and the world; the students can also choose courses in other humanistic disciplines and social sciences. As they embark on their MA programmes, they choose a period, block of specialist classes and the topics in which they want to specialise. In addition, they can, but do not have to, acquire professional qualifications in one or more of the following fields: teaching, editing, archiving, promotion.
What matters most, however, are practical skills which the students acquire primarily during workshop-like classes. The skills include searching, gathering, selecting and critically analysing information of various kinds and value; finding cause-and-effect links and hidden relations between facts and phenomena; and, finally, presentation skills, ability to clearly formulate one’s thoughts and defend one’s arguments, to argue logically and present one’s arguments in writing, and, no less importantly – independence in organising one’s work, asking questions and solving problems.
And this is the best thing about the studies: after graduation, you know how to look for and how to find what others are unable to find. Then – to assess how useful this find can be. Historians are like detectives – as some proudly say. If they indeed are, they are the most irritating kind of detectives: inquiring and inquisitive, ready to get into the bed of people from the past, to look under this bed and wonder what these people meant when they said what they said, or even when they eloquently said nothing.
At the end we have to warn everyone that studying history might be disappointing – unfortunately, we do not teach dates (well, perhaps just a few...).