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Honors Program

The History Honors Program is designed for majors who want to do advanced research and write an extensive thesis on a topic of their choice under the direct supervision of a history professor.

The usual applicant is a first-term junior. To be considered for admission, students should have at least a 3.5 GPA in history courses and a 3.4 GPA overall, but a high GPA alone does not guarantee admission. In exceptional cases, the GPA rules may be waived.

Please also note:

  • Applicants do NOT need to have been a member of the LSA Honors Program.

  • Applicants do NOT need to be planning on a career as professional historians.

Honors Admission Requirements

Admission decisions are based on a student’s academic record, background in history, demonstrated ability to write, and recommendations by faculty or GSIs. A general statement of research interests is also required, and the selection committee will strive to ensure that many different topics, places, languages, and time periods are represented among those accepted. The results of the selection process are announced in mid-November, in time for those chosen to register for History 498 in the winter term.

Honors Curriculum

All honors students, except for those studying abroad, must take History 498, the Junior Honors Colloquium, in the winter term of their junior year. This class will help students develop a thesis topic and write a thesis prospectus, as well as acquaint participants with some of the advanced methods and approaches used by professional historians conducting major research projects. Students who decide to leave the program after having taken History 498 still need to complete the history colloquium (History 496/497) to satisfy the major requirements. Please note that History 498 does not satisfy the LSA Upper-Level Writing Requirement.

History 499, the Senior Honors Colloquium, is a year-long writing workshop led by a faculty member, and is required for all thesis writers. In the workshop, students help one another with their projects by sharing experiences, advice, and drafts of their writing. Most of the work needed to complete the thesis, however, is done individually in close consultation with a faculty advisor.

The theses are due in late March, and are expected to be about 60-100 pages in length. The student’s advisor and one other faculty member evaluate the thesis on the basis of the quality of the research, analysis, and writing. History 499 satisfies the History Department colloquium requirement and the LSA Upper-Level Writing Requirement.

Class of 2017 History Honors Program students.

Helpful Links


Junior Honors Calendar

  • September-October: Application period. Applications are available in 1029 Tisch Hall and online.
  • Late September: Informational meeting with the Honors Committee.
  • Mid-October (typically the day after fall break): Application DEADLINE for program beginning in winter term. No late applications accepted.
  • Mid-November: Students are notified of decisions.
  • Winter Term: Students elect History 498, the Junior Honors Colloquium.

Senior Honors Calendar

  • Early December: Chapter 1 draft due.
  • Late January: Chapter 2 draft due.
  • Early to mid-March: Complete first draft due on Ctools.
  • Early to mid-March: Complete first draft due to advisor.
  • End of March: Completed thesis due.
  • Friday of Graduation weekend: History Honors Symposium.