What is the Honors Program in History?
The Honors Program in History is a captivating intellectual adventure, and
will be the high point of your undergraduate education at Rhode Island College.
Honors provides you an experience that cannot be duplicated in a classroom, and
will play a significant role in maximizing your professional life after
graduation in whatever career you choose.
Honors is a unique opportunity to pursue independent study one-on-one with the
history professor (Honors Advisor) of your choice. In consultation with your
Honors Advisor, you select a topic of special interest, and study it in depth
for two semesters.
You will have the freedom to immerse yourself in independent research and to
develop your own ideas. Frequent meetings with your Honors Advisor will give you
unparalleled opportunity to engage in meaningful intellectual dialogue with
him/her. As you share your discoveries with your Honors Advisor and hear his/her
seasoned advice, you will experience the gratification that comes with
discovering and creating on your own in the company of professional
The high point of Honors is writing an Honors Thesis and defending it before
an Honors Committee of selected members of the Department of History, who are
particularly knowledgeable about your area. Your defense before the Honors
Committee is really a dialogue among like-minded scholars--yourself and the
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What are the requirements for entering the Honors Program in History?
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- Major in History.
- 3.25 GPA in your History Major.
- Sophomore or Junior class rank.
- Completion of History 200, "The Nature of Historical Inquiry."
- Successful completion of H361 by end of Junior year at grade of B or better.
- Consultation with the Chair of the Department of History, Chair of the Honors Committee, or a particular faculty member about intent to do Honors.
- Honors topic selection and the submission of a written proposal.
What is the program of study for Honors?
- 1st semester of Honors: History 390, "Directed Study" (4 units).
- 2nd semester of Honors: History 391, "Directed Study" (4 units).
History 390 and 391 must be taken in successive semesters, and you must maintain
a 3.25 average both in History 390 and 391 and in your History Major overall.
Before you start History 390, you will have selected a topic agreed upon with
your Honors Advisor. It can be from any period (Antiquity, the Medieval world,
the Modern era), deal with any geographical area (the non-western world, the
western world, or the U.S.), and concern, for example, political history,
ethnicity, women's history, foreign policy, religion, labor history, or any one
of many other fields in history.
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History 390 is for directed reading; History 391 is for writing the Honors
Thesis and submitting it to an honors committee that will be established for the
During History 390, you will meet with your Honors Advisor in a series of
tutorial conferences. They are designed to instruct you in areas such as
historiography, discovery and analysis of source materials, and the advanced
mechanics of independent research. Depending upon your topic, you may wish to
consult with other members of the Department of History.
Towards the end of this semester, you will submit a complete chapter outline or
precis of your topic. Your grade for History 390 will be based upon your Honors
Advisor's assessment of your cumulative oral conference performance. If you fail
to achieve at least a "B" in History 390, you will be dropped from the program,
but will be awarded four credits as long as the grade is passing.
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History 391 is the final phase of Honors, for during this semester you will
complete both your research and the writing of your Honors Thesis. The length of
the text should range between 40 and 70 double-spaced pages, not including the
bibliography and other parts of the apparatus. You will meet frequently with
your Honors Advisor for his/her supervision of the writing of your thesis.
When you and your Honors Advisor have agreed upon an acceptable version, you
will submit two copies of your Honors Thesis to him/her. Thereupon, the Chair of
the Honors Committee will appoint an Examining Committee composed of your Honors
Advisor, at least two other members of the Department of History, and if
appropriate, one outside reader.
You will submit in timely fashion your two copies in the same semester in which
you wish to defend your thesis before the Examining Committee in case the
Examining Committee, during the oral defense, recommends revision.
All candidates completing the Honors Program in History satisfactorily shall be
granted "Honors in History," and have this information inscribed on their
permanent college record.
Honors candidates taking History 391 but who fail to complete the Honors Thesis
or its oral defense shall be granted 4 credits in history at the discretion of
the Honors Advisor.
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