Honors Program in History

Krystal Gladu Honors Thesis Defense

Krystal Gladu's Honors Thesis Defense, December 2019.

Independent Research with an Honors Advisor

The Departmental Honors Program in history gives you the unique opportunity to pursue independent research one-on-one with a history professor (honors advisor) of your choice, with the freedom to immerse yourself in the research and develop your own ideas.

What to Expect from the Research Process

First you will select a topic of special interest in consultation with your honors advisor and study it in depth for two semesters. Frequent meetings with your honors advisor will give you an unparalleled opportunity to engage in meaningful intellectual dialogue. As you share your discoveries with your honors advisor and listen to their seasoned advice, you will experience the gratification that comes with discovery in the company of professional scholars.

Writing and Defending Your Thesis

The high point of the honors program involves writing an honors thesis and defending it before an Honors Committee made up of selected members of the Department of History, often those with knowledge about your topic. Your defense mirrors a dialogue among like-minded scholars.

Program Details

Admission Requirements

  1. enrollment in a major in history
  2. 3.50 GPA in your history coursework 
  3. sophomore or junior class rank
  4. completion of HIST 281 (History Matters I: Methods and Skills) and HIST 282 (History Matters II: Historical Research)
  5. completion of at least two 300-level history courses and/or two 200-level history courses that count toward the history major (200-level Connections courses do not count) at the time of application with at least one more 300-level or 200-level history course, as defined above, being taken during the semester in which the application is made

    Please Note: It is recommended but not required that these three courses be distributed amongst the three regional categories of the Department of History 200- and 300-level curriculum.
  6. for all history courses through the semester in which the candidate is applying, candidate  must maintain a 3.5 GPA

    Please Note: Acceptance into the Honors Program in History prior to the end of the semester in which the candidate is applying is tentative, pending the end of that semester when tentative acceptance will become permanent, which is contingent on the maintenance of the History GPA requirement.
  7. consultation with the Chair of the History Department, Chair of the Honors Committee, or a particular faculty member about intent to do the Honors Program in History
  8. history honors topic selection and submission of a written proposal

Course Requirements

  1. first semester: HIST 491 (Directed Study), 4 credit units
  2. second semester: HIST 492 (Directed Study), 4 credit units
  3. HIST 491 and 492 must be taken in successive semesters and you must maintain a 3.50 GPA in both, and in your history major overall. Before you start HIST 491 you will have selected a topic agreed upon with your Honors Advisor. It can be from any period, deal with any geographical area and focus on any sub-field, such as politics, ethnicity, gender, foreign policy, religion, labor, class, or any one of many other possibilities.
  4. HIST 491 is for directed reading and research; HIST 492 is primarily for the completion of a History Honors Thesis and submission of it to an Examining Committee established for that purpose.

First Semester

During HIST 491 you will meet with your Honors Advisor in a series of regularly scheduled tutorial conferences. They are designed to instruct you in areas such as historiography, the discovery and analysis of source materials, and the advanced mechanics of independent research. Depending on your topic, you may wish to consult with other members of the Department of History.

Toward the end of this semester, you will submit a written assignment (at least a complete chapter outline or precis of your topic). Your grade for HIST 491 will be based upon your Honors Advisor's assessment of your cumulative oral and written performance. Students who fail to achieve at least a B in HIST 491 will be dropped from the program, but will be awarded 4 credits as long as the grade is passing.

Should you fail to complete HIST 491 or elect to drop out of the Honors Program after completion of HIST 491, you will be required to take HIST 389 to complete the major's graduation requirement.

Second Semester

HIST 492 is the final phase Honors. During this semester you will complete the research and 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 apparatus. You will meet frequently with your Honors Advisor for supervision of the writing of the thesis.

When you and your Honors Advisor have agreed upon an acceptable version, you will submit 3 copies to them. 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, an outside reader. If the Examining Committee gives your Honors Thesis defense a passing mark, you then may be asked to make revisions. Once these have been made, you will send the newly-revised version to your Honors Advisor. 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. Students successfully achieving Honors in History are exempted from the HIST 389 graduation requirement.

Please Note: Honors candidates taking HIST 492, 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 Thesis advisor. If you have produced sufficient written work that can become a research paper identical to the requirements for HIST 389, you shall proceed to write up your work and receive a grade in HIST 492 for it, but cannot receive honors. If, when taking HIST 492, you generate either no or insufficient written work you will be required to take HIST 389 in order to graduate with a history degree.