The Honors Program is a two-semester sequence of courses that prepares and leads students through the process of writing an honors thesis: a substantial piece of historical research based on sustained and intensive work in original sources. The final thesis must be completed no later than December 15. Application to the program is open to all History Majors, but all those who wish to apply must have the approval of a faculty member from the History Department who will serve as the student's main advisor. The seminar begins in the spring of the junior year, during which students build skills for historical research and develop a feasible research project. During the Fall semester of the senior year, each student writes a thesis under the supervision of the student's thesis advisor and the professor directing the seminar.
In order to graduate with honors in History, a student must complete the Honors seminar successfully and write a thesis of honors quality (as judged by faculty). Students who decide after taking the junior honors seminar that they do not wish to continue in the program are free to drop out without penalty and will receive regular course credit for the junior Honors Seminar. Similarly, at the conclusion of the junior year, the honors instructor has discretion to determine whether a student should continue in the Honors Program in the senior year.
If you are considering honors, you should make every effort to plan your program of study early. Consider two kinds of background: knowledge of your subject and knowledge of its languages. The first will require history coursework in your chosen area. The second means you need to plan your language studies so that you are able to work with primary sources. You should address both areas in your application to the Honors Program. Those who wish to study abroad during their junior year should plan ahead so as to ensure that the term abroad is fall term.
All honors students receive one course credit (seminar) for each semester of honors work undertaken, for a total of two. If the honors research is in the area of concentration, honors courses will fulfill seminar requirements for the concentration and the major. If the thesis is written in an area of pre-modern history, they may also satisfy the pre-1800 requirements.
Admission to the Honors Program is by application (available through the program link below) and students are selected according to the procedure determined by the instructors.
To be considered students must possess a minimum overall GPA of 3.0 and a GPA of 3.5 in major-related courses. However, meeting these minimums does not guarantee admission to the program.
If you would like to participate in this program, you should apply during the fall semester of your junior year, even if you are abroad.
Students with double majors who are writing a senior thesis in history may not submit the same thesis for honors in both majors. They must write separate theses for each department. History will not accept as an honors thesis any work written for and submitted to another department. In rare cases, exceptions may be determined by the honors instructor and the faculty advisors in each major.
Students interested in additional research opportunities may also want to review research funding opportunities.
For students not enrolled in the Honors Program, the Department of History also offers the Undergraduate Program in Historical Research.