Richmond Home

Honors Program

The history honors program provides able and dedicated majors an opportunity to intensify their study of history.

Recruitment and Admission

  • Students are recruited and apply to the program in the fall of their junior year.  Applications are due around October 15.
  • To be eligible for the program, a student must have completed 18 units overall, 4 of them in history with a grade point average of at least 3.3, and the endorsement of a faculty member in the department.
  • Applications are reviewed by the department honors committee and should include: a one-page statement from the student explaining his/her interest in the program, a letter of nomination from a department faculty member, the student's transcript and a course paper written by the student that best represents his or her work.

Program Requirements 

Spring, Junior Year
History 398: Historiography. 1 unit
In this course students take a close look at the various ways historians have defined their craft and approached the study of the past.  This course may replace one of the two required 300-level colloquia.

History 411: Prospectus Preparation.  0.5 unit
Working with the Honors Coordinator and a Content Advisor, each student prepares a prospectus (approximately 1500 words plus a list of sources) for his/her honors project.  The prospectus is presented to the Honors Coordinator, the Content Advisor, and a third reader who may be chosen from outside the Department in a formal meeting around April 1.  Students who for some reason (for example, study abroad) cannot enroll in History 411 in the spring may work out their prospectus in absentia over the spring and summer and present it to their committee by October 1 of the following fall. In that event, the 0.5 unit credit will be awarded in the fall.

Senior Year
History 412-13: The Honors Essay.  2 units
Normally completed in the senior year, this is an extended piece of research and writing usually running to about fifty pages. Students enrolled in this course are exempt from the History 400 requirement. Their projects differ from those undertaken in History 400 in that they have complete freedom to choose their topics and immerse themselves more deeply in them under close faculty supervision.

Honors Thesis writers undergo a formal, oral defense of their work before its final approval. The examining committee consists of the two supervising faculty and the third reader.

Students must give presentations of their work at the School of Arts & Sciences Student Symposium in April of their senior year.

Please address questions about the honors program to Professor Brandenberger.