History Department Honors Program

The History Department Honors Program allows undergraduates to develop their critical thinking and historical skills in a rigorous and collaborative environment that guarantees personal attention. The Program is a two-semester sequence of independent study, the culmination of which is the writing of a senior thesis—a significant scholarly research paper prepared under the close supervision of a faculty mentor.

History majors with qualifying GPAs (at least 3.7 in History and 3.5 overall) can complete an honors thesis under the direction of an Assistant, Associate or Full Professor in the History Department. Students who are interested in pursuing departmental honors should consult the Department Chair or the Honors Thesis Coordinator during their junior year.

Students apply to the program upon reaching 75 credit hours or three semesters before expected graduation. Once accepted students register for HIST 498: Honors Directed Reading (3-4 units) under the supervision of their thesis advisor in one semester and then HIST 499: Honors Thesis (4 units) in the next semester. Students must receive a grade of A or A- in HIST 498 to register for HIST 499 which fulfills the capstone requirement, taking the place of the capstone seminar (HIST 486).

Departmental Honors are designated on a graduate’s diploma when a student successfully completes HIST 498 and HIST 499. Students pursuing departmental honors are not required to be members of the Honors College. Departmental honors are distinct from Latin honors (cum laude, etc.) and from enrollment in the Honors College.


After discussing Departmental Honors with the Department Chair or Honors Thesis Coordinator interested students should speak with a History Department Faculty member who is willing to serve as a thesis advisor.

The application consists of a brief cover letter, a paper from a previous class (preferably a research paper), and a 300-word statement outlining how the student proposes to expand the paper into an honors thesis. Alternatively, candidates can submit a thesis proposal of 1000 words plus a preliminary bibliography. Faculty thesis advisors may request additional materials from prospective applicants to assess their candidacy.

Advantages of the Program

The History Department Honors Program allows students to:

  • explore a topic important to them
  • develop advanced research, analytical and writing skills
  • prepare for advanced graduate work
  • work closely with a faculty mentor

Honors Program Coordinator

Dr. Erik. Ropers.