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 Friday, October 20.
  • 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. Eligible students will receive an invitation to apply from the Honors Coordinator Professor Sackley.
  • Applications are reviewed by the department faculty honors committee and should include: 1) a one-page statement from the student explaining the applicant’s interest in the program, 2) a letter of nomination from a department faculty member, 3) the student's transcript, and 4) a course paper written by the student that best represents their 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. It also introduces students to historical research methods and proposal writing. This course may replace one of the two required 300-level colloquia. It is typically only offered in the spring semester. 

Senior Year

All candidates for honors must present a prospectus (approximately 2,000 words plus a bibliography) for their honors project no later than the third week of classes. The prospectus is then presented to the honors coordinator, the content advisor, and other members of the history department.

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 Sackley.