History Honors Program

The program provides history majors with a record of high achievement with the opportunity to carry out historical research and write an original piece of scholarship.

To be in the program, students must commit to a three-course sequence that is designed to help them complete an honors thesis.  Students will be evaluated after each semester to determine if they should continue in the program.  Upon successful completion of an honors thesis, students will be awarded departmental honors.

Eligibility.  Students are invited to apply to the program in the first semester of their junior year based, in part, on the number of history courses taken to that point, grade point average, and the nomination of History Department faculty.

Courses

  • HST 359, Junior Honors Colloquium (Spring of Junior year); 3 credit hours. Ordinarily taken in the second semester of the junior year, the course is designed to help students identify a viable historical topic, develop a historical question and a probable thesis.  Students must complete a research prospectus that outlines the historiography on the topic and the primary sources that will be employed to support the original thesis.  The course counts towards required upper-level courses for the History Major.
  • HST 400.7, Honors Senior Capstone (Fall of Senior year); 3 credit hours. Ordinarily taken in the first semester of the senior year, the course is designed to help students complete a first draft of their thesis.  The course fulfills the departmental and Miami Plan capstone requirement.
  • HST 480, Independent Study (Spring of Senior year); 3 credit hours. Ordinarily taken in the second semester of the senior year with the senior thesis advisor, the course is designed to complete an original thesis based on primary sources that answers a significant historical question.  The course counts toward the upper-level course requirement for the History Major, but NOT for the required 400-level course.

Timeline.  Students must remain in good standing and make adequate progress in their projects in order to continue in the program.  The Honors Director and advisor must approve each student's progression to the next stage.  On completion of the junior colloquium, students must show that they have made adequate progress on a viable topic as evident in a fully approved research prospectus.  On completion of the senior capstone, students must have completed a full first draft of the thesis.  In spring of the senior year, students must make significant changes to their first draft and incorporate the comments and suggestions of their advisors and second readers.  The Honors designation will only be awarded if the Honors Director, advisor, and second reader approve the completed thesis.

Students can decide not to continue at any one stage of the process and still keep the credit hours they have completed.  To do so, students must complete comparable work as their classmates, such as writing a comprehensive bibliographic essay for the Junior Colloquium and a research paper based on primary sources for the Senior Capstone.

The History Honors experience culminates with an annual showcase, which provides students with the opportunity to share their research findings and participate in a scholarly dialogue.  The showcase is held at a public venue to encourage wide attendance.

Study Abroad.  The History Department encourages study abroad, but students who go abroad during the spring semester of their junior year and therefore miss taking the colloquium must agree to carry out the work of completing a comparable research prospectus over the summer before their senior year.  Without an approved prospectus, students will not be enrolled in the Honors Senior Capstone.

Relation to University Honors Program.  The History Honors Program overlaps with the University Honors Program in that the colloquium and capstone are approved courses for University Honors, and the final thesis can count as the final project.

Questions may be directed to the Honors Director, Dr. Erik JensenDr. Sheldon Anderson can provide information on the history honorary society, Phi Alpha Theta.