History Department Honors Program

The department offers honors courses by honors contract which are open to students who have distinguished themselves. Honors courses carry full credit toward the major or, for non-majors, full elective credit. Subject to the recommendation of the departmental honors committee, a student will be considered for graduation with "honors in history" upon successful completion of one three hour 3000 or 4000 level honors course or HIS 3510, the honors research course (HIS 4509), the senior honors thesis (HIS 4510), and a defense. The three thesis hours can be substituted for HIS 4100 Senior Seminar.

Students undertaking the honors track should understand that the goal is to spend 6 hrs researching, writing and defending a Senior Thesis. Students must earn a grade of 'B' or higher on all honors coursework taken to fulfill any honors requirement. [This program is for History departmental honors. Students interested in University Honors should contact the Honors College]


A student is eligible to apply for Honors in History if they:

  1. Are a history major with an overall GPA of 3.0
  2. Has a GPA of 3.45 in History. If a student fails to achieve or to maintain the 3.45 average or earns less than a 'B' on any honors coursework, the student will not graduate with honors in history. In this case the course will count as an independent study.

Courses Required

The goal is for the student to produce an honors thesis. As a first step the student will complete an honors seminar at the 3000 or 4000 level and earn a grade of ‘B’ or higher. There are several ways to fulfill this requirement:

  1. Contract to complete HIS 3510 as an independent study. It will be the student's responsibility to contact a suitable professor in the department willing to work with them, and to complete the "Honors Course Contract", “Independent Study Course Form”, and the “Special Course Form” available from the History Department Office.
  2. Take an existing scheduled course as a special section (410) honors contract course. The "Honors Course Contract" and “Special Course Form” are needed – and are available from the History Department Office.
  3. Take a regularly scheduled History Honors course (section 410). This requires no paperwork since the student simply registers for the course and receives honors credit.

Once the 3-hour honors seminar is completed, the student must complete the following two courses that require a special form for registration – please visit the History Department Office for the “Independent Study Course Form” and the “Special Course Form” for these courses. At this stage, the student should also send a thesis proposal to the History Honors Committee that includes the following:

  1. A brief description of the proposed research project
  2. The name of the faculty member who has agreed to direct the thesis and names of other faculty who may be willing to serve on the thesis committee. The thesis committee will consist of the thesis director, another faculty of the student's choice and one member of the Honors Committee. Students also have the option of selecting an additional faculty member on the thesis committee. [Students seeking University Honors will need a second reader from outside the department].
  3. Current grade point averages (overall and in history courses)

HIS 4509. Senior Honors Research (3 hrs). Independent research in preparation for taking HIS 4510 Senior Honors Thesis; directed by a member of the history department.

HIS 4510. Senior Honors Thesis (3 hrs). Composition of an honors thesis; directed by a member of the history department. Prerequisite: completion of HIS 4509.

The length of the thesis will vary according to the particular research problem and methodology, but the number of pages should run somewhere between the length of the average history course research paper and a master's thesis in history. The paper will address a highly delimited problem, will largely research and analyze primary sources, and will argue its thesis on the basis of evidence documented from the sources.

The "defense draft" of the thesis should be turned in to the thesis adviser by April 15 (for spring graduation) or November 15 (for December graduation). In the event that the 15th s on a weekend, the due date will be the following Monday. The oral defense of the thesis should be conducted by May 1 or December 1 (or the nearest Monday) of the semester in which the student expects to graduate.

The final draft of the thesis should be submitted in duplicate. The two copies on archival bond paper and conforming to the current ASU thesis guidelines should be turned in to the General Honors Office and students are responsible for making an appointment with that office to insure that the library binding requirements are met. One of these copies will go to the library.

When HIS 4510 is completed with a grade of B or higher the student will be ready to graduate with honors in history.


Application for the Honors Program in History

To be admitted into the Honors Program, you must schedule an appointment with the History Department's Honors Director (currently Dr. Michael Behrent, behrentmc@appstate.edu).