The Undergraduate Program

Writing a Senior Thesis

History majors have the option of writing a senior thesis. This process involves original research, normally with extensive use of primary materials. The department encourages students with a strong interest in a particular historical subject to consider a thesis and strongly advises all students considering an academic career to write one. Many students find the senior thesis the most rewarding academic experience of their undergraduate career.

A Senior Thesis is written during the Fall and Spring semester (HIST UN3838/UN3839) of the same academic year.  A thesis written in a year-long seminar is required (but not sufficient) for a student to receive departmental honors.

Senior Thesis Seminar Pre-requisites

Students who intend to write a Senior Thesis must take a history seminar in which they develop a substantial research paper before their junior year ends.  During their junior year, students should decide on a thesis topic and begin their search for a Second Reader.  While students may begin research before their senior year, the department does not require students to conduct any thesis research prior to the thesis seminar.

Senior Thesis Seminar

The Senior Thesis Seminar is a year-long seminar that meets in multiple sections and is a course in general research skills and methodology.  It is not a course on a specific historical field or period, but is designed to support the research and writing of the senior thesis.  Once approved to join the senior thesis seminar students will be instructed by the department on the process of joining a section.  Throughout the thesis process, students may, in addition, consult with their Second Reader and other instructors who specialize in their topic of research.  Students interested in taking a Senior Thesis Seminar must submit an application to be admitted into the Senior Thesis.  

2024-2025 Thesis Seminar Application DEADLINE: Friday, March 1st, 2024 at 5:00 PM

Role of the Second Reader Info Sheet (second readers can be reached out to and chosen before the thesis term begins but must reported to the department early in the first term)

For more details about the thesis process, please see the Undergraduate Handbook