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 thesis is written in the yearlong seminar Senior Thesis Seminar (HIST UN3838/UN3839). A thesis written in a yearlong seminar is required (but not sufficient) for a student to receive departmental honors.

Senior Thesis Seminar Pre-requisites

Students who intend to write a 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. 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 (HIST UN3838/UN3839) meets in four sections.  The Senior Thesis Seminar 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.  Students will be assigned to one of the sections in late Spring/early Summer.  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 by late March of their Junior Year (the specific date is determined each year, and will be updated on the website as soon as it is determined).  

2021-2022 Thesis Seminar Application (EXTENDED DEADLINE: Friday April 30th, 2021 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