The Department of History encourages qualified and interested students to participate in the department honors program. The program operates on two independent levels: honors seminars, and the Senior Honors Thesis.
Among its introductory American History and Western Civilization survey courses, the department offers three honors seminars—discussion classes limited to 15 students. Students admitted to them gain the advantages of personal contact with faculty members, and rigorous, individualized instruction. First preference in enrollment is given to freshmen of proven ability (i.e., combined S.A.T. scores for first-semester freshmen of at least 1200, or an A.C.T. composite score of at least 28, or an overall G.P.A. of 3.3 or better for students beyond their first semester). The designations for these courses are HIST 1040 (Honors Western Civilization II); and HIST 1035–1045 (Honors American History I and II). In some semesters the department may offer an upper-level Honors course, HIST 3100
NOTE: These courses are not prerequisite for participating in the department honors program at the senior level, and taking them will not confer Latin honors upon graduation.
The Honors Thesis
Students who wish to graduate with honors in History—that is, with the B.A. cum laude, magna cum laude, or summa cum laude—must write and defend a senior honors thesis. The members of the student’s thesis defense committee recommend the level of Latin honors (cum laude, magna cum laude, or summa cum laude) to the University Honors Council, based on the quality of the thesis, the defense, and the student’s academic record.
Students undertaking theses should have a grade-point average of at least 3.5 in History, and 3.3 overall. Under special circumstances, it is possible for students with lower G.P.A.’s to write theses and graduate with honors; such students should contact the History Honors Director for information and exceptions.
Students must take HIST 3110, the Honors Seminar: a 3-credit discussion course in historiography which emphasizes practical skills in research, organization, argumentation, and writing. This course is offered both semesters. Students are encouraged to take the course in the second semester of their junior year; seniors taking the course must enroll in the Fall term of their senior year if they intend to graduate with a Spring degree. Once HIST 3110 has been completed, students sign up for HIST 3120, a 3-credit independent study course in which they will work on their theses under the direction of a faculty supervisor. History 3110 and 3120 may not be taken simultaneously. Theses are ordinarily submitted in the student’s final semester of undergraduate work: for Fall graduation, the deadline is usually at the beginning of November; for Spring graduation, the deadline is usually at the end of March. (The Honors Program does not function in the Summer term, so students wishing to graduate in the Summer submit their theses by the preceding Spring deadline.)
For more information on Honors in History, please contact the History Major Advisor. Students must complete a brief application form and secure approval before enrolling in HIST 3110. You may not take HIST 3120 without having taken HIST 3110. HIST 3110 may be taken in place of a student’s non-honors 3000-level Seminar and the course also meets the A&S Core Critical Thinking requirement.