History Honors Program

PushkinThe History Department's honors program provides our most accomplished majors the opportunity to do the work of professional scholars. Our honors students work closely with leading historians in their chosen field to conduct primary source research and write original scholarship that contributes to the understanding of the past. The program is fully in accordance with the guidelines, procedures and responsibilities of the College honors program, but provides unique opportunities for students. The History Department offers undergraduate research funding to rising seniors – the Cuttino Scholarship, the Cuttino Fellowship, the Jack Award, and the Roark Prize – to assist them with research-related travel and expenses.


History majors and joint majors with a 3.50 cumulative average and a 3.50 major average in their junior year are eligible to apply to participate in the History honors program. Eligible students will be expected to complete a short application for admission into the History honors program in the first semester of their junior year. Exceptions to the 3.50 cumulative-average requirement require a formal petition, in conjunction with the Department Honors Coordinator, to the College Honors Committee.

Through normally beginning in the junior year for majors, the honors program is a senior-year (two semester) program within the College; therefore, students will not be officially admitted to the honors program until the fall of their senior year (with the exception of second-semester juniors who expect to graduate the following fall). The Department, however, will expect its honors students to begin their honors studies in the spring of their junior year, barring extraordinary circumstances. Requests for late admission (in the spring semester of the junior year) require a petition to the Department Honors Coordinator explaining the special circumstances for the late admission (study abroad, late declaration of major, etc.). The Department, however, typically expects its honors students to begin their honors studies in the spring of their junior year.

Program Requirements

1. Forty (40) hours of history courses

  • Including at least 28 hours at or above the 300 level.
  • No history courses may be taken S/U to be credited to the honors requirements.

2. Twelve (12) hours of required honors-program courses (included in the 40 hours of history courses)

  • History 495A, Introduction to Historical Interpretation is a required course of the History honors program. Although offered in both Fall and Spring semesters, History 495A is normally taken in the Spring semester of the junior year and must be taken by the end of Fall semester of the senior year. The course addresses historigraphical and methodological issues and offers practical guidance in thesis design and research.
  • A 500-level Graduate Seminar is normally taken in the Spring semester of the junior year or the Fall semester of the senior year. Students who wish to take their graduate seminar in another semester due to its greater suitability to their thesis topic may petition the Department Honors Coordinator for an exception. If no appropriate graduate seminar is being offered at any time in the year, candidates may petition to substitute an undergraduate colloquium to be taken as History 596R "Special Studies." Honors students may use graduate seminar courses (500-level) to fulfill the history major colloquia requirement; however, graduate seminars do not meet the College continuing writing requirement.
  • History 495BW is the thesis-writing section of History 495A. Normally, this course is taken in the spring semester of the senior year (i.e., in the student's last undergraduate semester) and is organized around the writing of the honors thesis.

3. Project Proposal

  • Students will submit an honors project proposal (normally completed in the honors seminar, HIST 495A) to the Department and their thesis advisor.

4. Honors Thesis

  • An honors thesis, usually between 40 and 60 pages, based on original research, typed and presented on approved thesis paper (as per the College honors program specifications) must be completed in conjunction with the College honors program deadlines.

Note on Joint Major Requirements

Please note that joint majors (History/Art History, Classics/History, Economics/History, English/History, Religion/History) must choose to follow the honors program requirements of one of the joint majors and adhere to the joint-major honors examination procedures (below).

Thesis Examination Committees

For History Majors

The thesis examining committee will be composed of three faculty members, one of whom must be from a department other than history. The examinaton will be oral and will cover the thesis.

For Joint Majors

The thesis examining committee will be composed of three faculty members: one from the history department, one from the joint-major department, and one from outside both of the joint-major departments. The examination will be oral and will cover the thesis.