The History Honors-in-Major program provides History majors the opportunity to work closely with faculty members, to pursue their interests in history in greater depth, and to research and write a thesis. Upon completion of the requirements, students will receive an Honors-in-Major designation in History on their transcript, indicating their academic excellence to future employers or graduate school admissions committees.
History Honors-in-Major is a departmental program; it is NOT restricted to students in the University Honors Program. Majors in History with a grade point average in the major of 3.5 or better are eligible for Honors-in-Major. (Students admitted prior to September 2016 must maintain at least a 3.4 GPA overall and in the major.) History majors in the University Honors Program must complete the History Honors-in-Major program as the second half of their 32-credit requirements.
Students in the History Honors-in-Major program must complete 16 credits of Honors course work within the department (four, 4-credit courses). Students who complete a major research project as recipients of a SURF, SURF Abroad, or IROP fellowship must complete only three, 4-credit Honors courses in the department, as described in Requirements 1 and 4 below. These Honors courses completed in the history department count toward the ten-course requirement for the History major. Students must maintain a 3.5 grade point average in the major (except for those students admitted prior to September 2008 and September 2016 as outlined above).
1. Students must complete two 600-level, 4-credit history courses, earning an A- or higher. Students are encouraged to complete these courses during their sophomore or junior years.
2. Students must submit a formal, written letter of endorsement from a member of the History Department faculty. This letter may be emailed to the Honors Coordinator who can then add it to a student's record. This letter should be submitted by the spring of the student's junior year, but no later than the end of fall term of their senior year. The letter must explicitly make two points: 1) the faculty member believes the student is capable of writing and defending a thesis; 2) the faculty member would – schedule permitting – be willing to advise the thesis. If the faculty endorser believed that the student was a good candidate for Honors despite not receiving at least two A-s in 600-level classes, the endorsement letter could serve as an appeal, making the case that the student should still be able to pursue Honors through the thesis. The Honor's Coordinator could then, in consultation with the endorser and the student, decide the best path forward.
3. Students will complete ONE of the following options:
- HIST 774 Historiography OR HIST 775 Historical Methods. (Either are the most appropriate courses for students who hope to attend graduate school in History.)
- HIST 771 Museum Studies. (This is the most appropriate course for students hoping to pursue a career in Public History or Museum positions.)
- A HIST 690 seminar.
- An IROP, SURF USA, or SURF Abroad research experience mentored by a history faculty member. (Note that these are competitive programs for which students must apply. See http://www.unh.edu/undergrad-research/programs.)
4. The capstone project for a History Honors-in-Major student is the Honors thesis, which is submitted near the end of the final semester before graduation. Honors theses, typically ranging from 8,000 to 15,000 words or 35 to 75 pages, explore a significant historical problem or question, based on substantial research in both primary sources and in the historiography of the subject. The length will vary according to subject and methodology. Students are strongly encouraged to begin planning for their honors thesis in their junior year or earlier.
Normally, by the end of their junior year, students should come to an agreement with a faculty member who will supervise his or her thesis. The student and faculty advisor will design a plan for the project, which might include:
- applying for research grants from the Hamel Center or other sources;
- taking appropriate 600- and 700-level courses (including considering enrolling in a section of HIST 797 before the student's final semester);
- taking an Independent Study on the subject (HIST 695 or INCO 790);
- or scheduling meetings with the supervisor as the project is formulated and the student begins to write.
During registration for the semester in which the thesis is to be completed, the student, the faculty supervisor, and the Honors Coordintor will sign the Thesis Agreement Form and the student will enroll in HIST 799-Senior Thesis, a 4-credit course. The student and advisor will draft a syllabus and schedule for HIST 799 (a sample syllabus is available here). It is important to note that HIST 799 is a graded course subject to the same Add/Drop rules as other history courses; a withdrawal after the Add/Drop deadline will be indicated on the transcript.
During the semester, the student and the faculty supervisor will create an honors thesis committee composed of the supervisor and two other faculty members – one of whom must teach in the History Department and the other may either teach in the History Department or in another department related to the research project. Prior to the end of the semester's classes, the student will circulate the completed thesis to the committee. At the end of the semester (typically between the end of classes and the beginning of final exams), the student will meet with the committee to discuss the thesis at a defense. The committee will assign the final grade for HIST 799. After making any revisions required by the committee, the student will submit the thesis following the guidelines of the University Honors Program.
Thesis writers are strongly encouraged to present their work at the Undergraduate Research Conference (URC) and to submit their theses for the Linden Senior Thesis Prize before the deadline (both are typically in April).
Professor Kurk Dorsey is the faculty advisor.