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Undergraduate Research

All history majors have the opportunity engage in original research. Our History Colloquia and History 395 courses emphasize original investigations, including using the university’s many libraries and collections. Students accepted into the Honors Program embark on a major research project that culminates in a thesis. Students interested in public history—presenting historical research to public audiences—can explore Michigan in the World, where they will create online exhibits focusing on U-M's role on global events.

Some history faculty rely on undergraduate students as independent research assistants or in the university's Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program (UROP). Students may also find paid research assitantships with faculty or via the Student Employment Office.

In the News: Experiencing the Allure of the Archives

By Gregory Parker

It’s no secret that historians are drawn to archives. There, they confront the raw stuff of the past—documents, photographs, films, ephemera, material objects—from which they stitch together the narratives of their histories. The reality of archival work, hours spent sifting through reams of the mundane, is countered by the thrill of discovery: a lock of hair, a photograph unseen for decades, the marginal notes penned by someone long since departed.

This year’s Michigan in the World (MITW) undergraduates began their eight-week archival odyssey in May. Collectively, they spent hundreds of hours in the Bentley Historical Library uncovering the story of women at the University of Michigan for an online exhibit, “‘A Dangerous Experiment’: Women at the University of Michigan.” ... (read more)

In the News: Undergrads Make Michigan History

By Gregory Parker

It felt less like course work and more like detective work.

“Archival research meant literally digging through thousands of documents—most that had nothing to do with our project—to find a single piece of paper,” said Emilie Irene Neumeier, a student in Professor Matthew Lassiter’s winter 2015 seminar, History 497, Global Activism at U-M: The Anti-War, Anti-Apartheid, and Anti-Sweatshop Movements ... (read more)