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Course Materials

What You Should Already Know

This course deals with U.S. history from the Constitutional Convention to the Civil War and Reconstruction. Though there are no prerequisites in terms of the course, it is helpful to have a general background in United States history before this time period.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, you should be able to do the following:

  1. Describe historical events that led to the development of America, its people, and its government.
  2. Describe history from a variety of viewpoints.
  3. Use skills that will help you in other areas of your education and life.

Course Materials

The units contain all of the material that you will need to successfully complete the unit quizzes and the final examination. You will need access to a library or online collection of historical documents or information to complete your instructor-graded project. An atlas will also be helpful as we refer to places around the world and in the United States.

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Course Organization


There are six units and one instructor-graded assignment in the course. The units are set up to follow each other, so try to go in order. However, please read Appendix A first, because it will familiarize you with many of the terms that are used throughout the course.

Also, pay close attention to the “What Do You Think?” questions. They are designed to analyze the information that has been presented. Although they do not count toward your grade, these questions are helpful to study for the unit quiz questions and course final exam.  

Unit Quizzes

Each unit contains a unit quiz. To study for the unit quiz questions, go back and make sure that you understand all of the big ideas in the “What Do You Think?” questions. Unit quizzes do count toward your grade, so you should do your best on them.

Instructor-graded Assignment

Your course project will be submitted as an instructor-graded assignment. See the instructions in the Instructor-Graded Assignment folder for submission details.

It is recommended that you review the instructor-graded assignment information before beginning your studies so that you will have an idea of what project you might like to work on. Then, as you go through each unit, you may find a subject that is very interesting to you and you can begin to do your research for your project at that point. Don’t leave the project to the very last minute and expect to do well on it. The project will probably take you anywhere from ten to twenty hours to complete depending on the project you choose. Start thinking about it early in your course and leave yourself plenty of time to complete it.

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The practice exam is only worth 2 percent of your grade so that you will take the opportunity to see how well prepared you are for the actual final exam. If you do well on the practice final exam without using any notes or books or other resources, you should be ready for the final exam.

The final exam has 48 multiple-choice questions and is closed book and closed notes. Review the “What Do You Think?” questions, unit quizzes, and practice exam to study for the final.

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The following chart shows the grading weights for the entire course.

Assignment Percentage
Unit 1 Quiz 9%
Unit 2 Quiz 9%
Unit 3 Quiz 9%
Unit 4 Quiz 9%
Unit 5 Quiz 9%
Unit 6 Quiz 9%
Instructor-Graded Assignment 10%
Practice Exam 2%
Final Exam (Comprehensive) 34%
Grading Scale
A 100-93
A- 92-90
B+ 89-86
B 85-83
B- 82-80
C+ 79-76
C 75-73
C- 72-70
D+ 69-66
D 65-63
D- 62-60
E (fail) 59-0

Copyright Notice

The materials used in connection with this online course are only for the use of students enrolled in this course for purposes associated with this course and may not be retained or further disseminated. Any copying or further dissemination of these materials may be subject to applicable U.S. Copyright Laws. For questions or more information, please visit the BYU Copyright Licensing Office website.

“Members of the BYU community who willfully disregard this Copyright Policy or the BYU Copyright Guidelines place themselves individually at risk of legal action and may incur personal liability for their conduct. The unauthorized use or distribution of copyrighted material, including unauthorized peer-to-peer file sharing, may subject individuals to civil and criminal liabilities, including actual and statutory damages, costs and fees of litigation, fines, and imprisonment

Violations of the Copyright Policy may result in university disciplinary action including termination of university enrollment or employment.” (Emphasis added. Excerpt taken from the BYU Copyright Policy)

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Accessibility Notice

BYU is committed to providing a working and learning atmosphere which reasonably accommodates persons with disabilities who are otherwise qualified to participate in BYU's programs and activities. In this spirit, BYU Independent Study aspires to improve web accessibility for users. While not required by law, the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 Levels A and AA provide a wide range of helpful recommendations to make Web content more accessible. BYU Independent Study strives to apply WCAG 2.0 recommendations where feasible, but may deviate from any recommendations that would result in an undue hardship to BYU Independent Study or alterations to program and course content and objectives. If you have questions about accessibility, or if you need to report problems with any accessibility features please see our Accessibilities and Accommodations Web Page.

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Course Policies

These policies are specific to this course. For additional information about general policies, please refer to Independent Study Course Policies page.


6 computer-graded unit quizzes, 1 instructor-graded assignments, 1 practice exam, may be resubmitted for a fee.


1 proctored, computer-graded exam, may retake once for a fee, must pass in order to pass the course.

Course Duration

You have 1 year to complete this course, but if you need more than a year, you may purchase one 3-month extension. Because of the nature of some assignments, you will not be able to complete this course in less than 2 months.

Getting Help

You can find a list of free tutors available to BYU Independent Study students on the Free Tutoring Services website.

University Policy - Title IX Statement

Preventing & Responding to Sexual Misconduct

In accordance with Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Brigham Young University prohibits unlawful sex discrimination against any participant in its education programs or activities. The university also prohibits sexual harassment—including sexual violence—committed by or against students, university employees, and visitors to campus. As outlined in university policy, sexual harassment, dating violence, domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking are considered forms of "Sexual Misconduct" prohibited by the university.

University policy requires all university employees in a teaching, managerial, or supervisory role to report all incidents of Sexual Misconduct that come to their attention in any way, including but not limited to face-to-face conversations, a written class assignment or paper, class discussion, email, text, or social media post. Incidents of Sexual Misconduct should be reported to the Title IX Coordinator at t9coordinator@byu.edu or (801) 422-8692. Reports may also be submitted through EthicsPoint at https://titleix.byu.edu/report or 1-888-238-1062 (24-hours a day).

BYU offers confidential resources for those affected by Sexual Misconduct, including the university’s Victim Advocate, as well as a number of non-confidential resources and services that may be helpful. Additional information about Title IX, the university’s Sexual Misconduct Policy, reporting requirements, and resources can be found at http://titleix.byu.edu or by contacting the university’s Title IX Coordinator.

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