Department of History

Departmental Honors Program

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Through its Honors Program, the Department of History offers you the opportunity to engage in more advanced research and writing than the regular major program requires, if you have demonstrated very strong academic ability. The program can be of particular benefit to you if you intend to undertake graduate study or pursue a career in history, but Honors is not limited to only those students.

If you complete the requirements described below, you will graduate “With Honors in History.” If you complete these requirements and also take the requisite courses prescribed by the University Honors Program, you will graduate as a “University Honors Scholar.”

Requirements for Honors Degree in History

  1. Complete all Department of History major requirements except History 4900 (Research Seminar).
  2. Complete History 4980 (History Honors Project), for 6-9 credit hours, with a grade of “A” or “B.” This replaces History 4900.
  3. Complete University Honors 4000 (interdisciplinary University Honors Seminar on varying topics), with a grade of “A” or “B.”
  4. Maintain a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 in all courses and 3.5 in history courses.

Eligibility for Admission

  • Cumulative grade point average of 3.0 in all courses and 3.5 in history courses.
  • Completion of at least 12 credit hours in advanced courses in history.
  • Preparation and approval of senior honors project to be completed in History 4980. Approval of the project must occur by the end of the first semester of the student's senior year.

Senior Honors Thesis Proposal

  1. The student will ask three full-time faculty members (tenured, tenure-track, full-time lecturer/instructor) to form a thesis committee. The student will, in consultation with one or more of these faculty members, select the chair of the committee. The chair will be the instructor of record and the principle advisor for the thesis. At least two members of the committee must be from the history department. In exceptional circumstances and when academically advisable, a larger committee may be formed.
  2. In consultation with the committee, the student will prepare a proposal (PDF) for a research project that will culminate in the writing of a senior thesis. The committee chair will ordinarily supervise the student’s subsequent research and writing, with the final thesis being approved by the entire committee. The proposal should indicate the number of credit hours (6-9) for which the student will enroll in History 4980.
  3. The proposal must be approved by the entire committee before the end of the semester before which the student plans to enroll in the thesis hours.
  4. The proposal must also include an annotated bibliography of the major sources the student will examine in the research phase of the project. This bibliography, distinguishing between primary sources that will enable the student to do original work and secondary sources, should be at least three pages long.

Description of the Thesis

The thesis should be 40-60 pages long. It should draw extensively on primary sources, show an awareness of other scholarly contributions to the field, and contribute to the body of scholarly information.


Upon completion of the thesis, the faculty advisor chair of the committee will read it and, if it is found to be satisfactory, will pass it on to the rest of the committee for their approval. After the entire committee has approved it, the student will meet with the committee to discuss the results. This process will last no longer than one hour and, at the student’s discretion, be open to the public.
At the conclusion of the meeting, the committee will advise the committee chair, who is the instructor of record, on a grade for the thesis. For departmental or university honors, the student must receive a grade of “A” or “B.” If the student receives a passing grade lower than a “B,” the hours earned in History 4980 will count as elective credit hours, and the student will not graduate with honors.


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