Director of Honors, History Department
History Undergraduate Advisor
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
2. What are the requirements for admission into your honors program?
How are students recruited for your program? May students recommend
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;
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
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
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
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
apply for undergraduate research grants offered through the Hutton
College or RUGS. Occasionally additional private donations are made to
assist one outstanding honors student with his or her research
7. What are the advantages for students who pursue the honors degree
compared to a regular degree in your area?
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. The honors
seminar is important in conditioning students to more sophisticated ways
of thinking about history, and to more demanding modes of oral discussion,
than they normally encounter in undergraduate classes. And
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. 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