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Hutton Honors College

 — Indiana University

Peter Guardino
Director of Honors, History Department
Ballantine 742

1. How is your honors degree program administered? Is there a specific person who acts as coordinator? Is there a faculty committee?

One faculty member serves as director of honors and works in coordination with the department's Director of Undergraduate Studies and the Academic Advisor.

2. What are the requirements for admission into your honors program? How are students recruited for your program? May students recommend themselves?

At minimum, students must have a 3.3 cumulative GPA and a 3.5 GPA in history courses. History majors who thus qualify are invited to apply for admission to the program during their sophomore or junior year. The application consists of a recommendation from a history department faculty member (a form is provided).

3. How does a student graduate with honors from your department?

Students must (1) maintain the requisite GPA levels; (2) take at least three or more credit hours in history than are required for the major; (3) pass the honors seminar, K392, with a grade of at least A-; and (4) complete an honors paper, K498, or honors thesis, K499, with a grade of at least A-.

4. What courses do students take as juniors and before in order to prepare for working on the senior project? How are these honors seminars and courses typically conducted? What are the usual requirements in such courses?

See no. 3 above. The honors seminar, "Paths in History," introduces students to a variety of approaches in the professional practice of history through the scholarship and research experiences of several members of the history department faculty. Students meet with history professors, read and discuss faculty publications, and write reports and papers applying what they learn to their own areas of historical interest. Students can prepare for both the honors seminar and the senior project by taking smaller courses that require more discussion and writing and which acquaint them directly with professors.

5. What is the nature of the senior project and what are the requirements for completing it?

Students have the option to write either an honors thesis (for six credits, in two semesters), which emphasizes work in primary sources and also required a final oral defense, or an honors paper (for three credits, in one semester), which allows work in areas of interest but in which extensive primary research is not feasible. Each project is carried out under the direction of an appropriate history department professor. The thesis, usually a good deal longer than the paper, is recommended for students who plan to go on to graduate school in history or closely related fields.

6. Are there departmental resources available to support internships or research projects related to the senior project?

There is generally no department funding. However, students are encouraged to apply for undergraduate research grants offered through the Hutton Honors College or RUGS. Occasionally additional private donations are made to assist one outstanding honors student with his or her research activities.

7. What are the advantages for students who pursue the honors degree compared to a regular degree in your area?

Honors work is important in conditioning students to more sophisticated ways of thinking about history, more demanding modes of oral discussion, and more advanced forms of writing than they normally encounter in undergraduate classes. Its intellectual caliber helps prepare students to take on many different kinds of challenges after graduation. For instance, honors work is essential for students who plan to apply to graduate schools in the humanities or social sciences, and it is advantageous for those who plan to enter professional fields such as law. Accomplishment of a substantial, individual project of research and writing (the honors paper or thesis) is indispensable training for what a student faces in graduate school, but it also prepares students to conduct the kind of independent research that is needed in many businesses and non-profits. Moreover, the paper or thesis can serve as an effective writing sample in applications to graduate school, especially when combined with detailed, knowledgeable letters from the well-known professors who have served as the students' research mentor in their honors work.

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