History Honors Theses
Majors may earn the citation of Honors in History by successfully completing an honors thesis under the direction of an advisor. A grade point average in history of 3.5 is required to be eligible to undertake an honors thesis. Work on an honors thesis may earn two credits towards the major, and fulfills the SYE-seminar requirement.
Qualified students intending to take honors should consult with their prospective thesis advisor in the spring of their junior year. Potential candidates for honors must submit a written proposal to the department on the Honors Thesis Application form no later than May 1 of their junior year. After departmental approval of the proposal honors candidates will register in History 498 for the fall semester, and agree upon certain background reading and/or research which should be done during the summer.
During the fall semester, honors students should meet frequently with their thesis advisor. They must submit the following materials to the department no later than the Wednesday of the final week of classes: a historiographic essay on their topic and sources (minimum 8-10 pages), an outline of the full project that includes a statement of working thesis, research questions and findings to date, a working bibliography, and an outline of the work to be undertaken in the spring semester. During exam week of the fall semester honors students will deliver a 10-15 minute oral report on their progress to the full History Department.
In consultation with the thesis advisor, the department will determine whether the work submitted warrants continuation to a completed thesis in the spring semester. If it is determined that the quality of the work will not merit honors, or if the work is not being completed in a timely fashion, the student will be given a grade for the work done under a 300-level Independent Study designation. In the spring semester those students who do not continue in the Honors Program must take an SYE to complete their history major requirements either as an independent study or in one of the HIST 471-480 SYE seminars.
For approved projects, the advisors will communicate the department’s approval to the students within 24 hours of their oral reports. Students continuing in the Honors Program will register for History 499, and complete their theses in consultation with their advisors. A submission draft will be presented for department review no later than the third week in April. Students will then give an oral defense of the thesis that is open to the public during final exam week. After the defense, the department will meet to assess the thesis.
Under normal circumstances the department will make one of three possible determinations:
1. Honors granted and submission draft accepted as the final draft without any revisions.
2. Honors granted but conditional on specified revisions being incorporated into the final draft due no later than the
end of the first week in May.
3. Honors not granted but a grade awarded for the work completed under a 490 Independent Study designation.
Once an honors thesis has been completed, at the department’s expense two copies and the original are sent to Owen D. Young Library for binding. The original is kept in the library, one copy is returned to the History Department where it is maintained, and the third copy is sent to the student. If you wish to examine some of these theses, you will find them on the bookshelf in the History Department office, Piskor 114.