Departmental Honors in History
The Department of History has an honors program which a student may enter with the recommendation of his or her departmental advisor. To complete the program, a student must take 9 hours in honors courses: History 492 (Senior Seminar), History 493 (Research) and History 494 (Thesis Preparation). History Honors students may offer this program in lieu of one of the required fields in history, and will work with a faculty advisor to research and write a senior thesis.
To be eligible for the honors program, a student must be a history major and have an overall GPA of 3.00 or better. (In some instances, exceptions to the rules for GPA may be made by the Departmental Honors Advisor, after consultation with the person who has agreed to serve as the student's advisor.) Students who are interested in the History Honors Program need to do two initial tasks. First, they must find a professor to chair their thesis committee. Second, they must submit an application form to the Departmental Honors Advisor and secure the approval of the advisor. Students who are not history major may also participate in the program with special approval of the Honors Advisor. Honors candidates who are not history majors must fulfill the same departmental course requirements as those students who are history majors.
All honors candidates are expected to complete a minimum of four lower division courses (101 & 102, 161 & 162, 251 & 252, or 281 & 282) and eight upper division (300 & 400) courses. Honors candidates must complete a minimum of two upper division courses each in two of the following categories: European, American, Hispanic-American, or Asian history. Each honors candidate is also expected to take History 491 (or substitute History 470 or a readings course in the philosophy of history for 491), 492, 493, 494.
The Honors Sequence: 492, 493, 494
History 492 is the honors colloquium. This course is usually taken in the spring semester of the student's junior year. Teachers and topics vary from year to year. This course is intended to introduce the student to the problems encountered by historians in their research and writing and the techniques they use to organize and analyze the material available to them. History 492 also provides the student an opportunity to meet and share ideas with his/her peers in the honors program. When the honors colloquium is not offered, the student may enroll as an undergraduate honors member of a graduate seminar.
History 493 is a reading and research course usually taken in the fall semester of the senior year. Before enrolling in this course, the student needs to select one member from the department to serve as his/her thesis advisor. The student must consult with the faculty member chosen in order to insure that that person will be available to supervise work on the thesis during both the semesters of the student's senior year. History 493 is designed to give the student an opportunity to pursue a program of directed readings and research in preparation for writing the honors thesis.
History 494 is ordinarily taken during the spring semester of the student's senior year. Building upon the work of the previous semester (History 493), the honors candidate should complete the necessary research and write the honors thesis in close consultation with the thesis advisor during this semester.
Grading of the Thesis
Each honors thesis will be read and graded by the thesis advisor and a second reader chosen by the Department. The thesis grade will be the average of the two grades assigned by the readers.
The Award of Honors
The final decision on the honors to be awarded a candidate is by vote of the candidate's thesis advisor, the second thesis reader, and the Department Honors Advisor. Although the award of honors need not be based strictly on a numerical score, Departmental members will generally be guided by the following considerations when they vote on the honors to be awarded a candidate:
3.86-4.00 Summa Cum Laude
3.66-3.85 Magna Cum Laude
3.50-3.65 Cum Laude
If the student fulfilled all course requirements for the honors program, but fails to make a grade of B or higher on the senior thesis or fails to meet the GPA requirements for honors candidates at the time of graduation, the student may still graduate, albeit without honors. In cases of this sort, if the student satisfies all other requirements of the history major, the honors sequence (492, 493, and 494) may be counted as a third field in order to satisfy the distribution requirements of the major.