Graduating with Honors

Graduating with Latin honors - cum laude, magna cum laude, or summa cum laude - in History requires the completion and defense of an honors thesis. A thesis is a substantial research paper (ca. 50-60 pages) based on original research in primary sources.

Honors Qualifications

  • Major in History
  • Minimum overall GPA of 3.3*
  • Minimum History GPA of 3.5*
  • Completion of HIST 3020 prior to start of Honors Seminar
  • Junior or senior class standing (60+ credits)

*Under special circumstances, it is possible for a student with a GPA(s) lower than the minimums to write a thesis and graduate with honors.  

Honors Thesis Process

Writing an honors thesis is a serious undertaking and, as such, students who wish to pursue an honors thesis in History must apply to and be accepted into the History Honors Program. Eligible students will be sent an email inviting them to apply to the program during the spring semester (usually late February).

Writing an honors thesis is a year-long process. During the fall semester, students enroll in HIST 3110: Honors Seminar. Taught by the History Honors Director, this course is an intensive seminar on historical research methods and fulfills the capstone senior seminar major requirement. In the spring semester students work on their thesis independently (with the guidance of a faculty advisor) and receive credit by enrolling in HIST 3120: Honors Thesis. Most students defend their theses in the spring; however, some students continue working on their theses and defend a semester later in the fall.

HIST 3110 and 3120 may not be taken simultaneously.

In line with Honors Program policy, the History Department typically requires students to select a Thesis Advisor who is a member of the History Department faculty. In rare cases, students may request a Thesis Advisor from a department other than History. Requests must explain why the thesis topic necessitates a non-History Department thesis advisor and must be approved in advance by the Honors Director. The second member of the thesis committee must be the Honors Director or Assistant Honors Director (as assigned by the Department) and the third committee member must be faculty in a department outside of History.

Learn More About Graduation with Latin Honors