History Department Honors Program

The Department of History offers Departmental Honors courses by honors contract which are open to students who have distinguished themselves academically. 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 credit hours 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 or better
  2. Has a GPA of 3.45 or better 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.
  3. Student must complete a History Departmental Honors Contract Application to begin. 

Courses Required

Student must complete a History Departmental Honors Contract Form and submit it to the department office (email: hermanhk@appstate.edu) to begin this process.

  1. A 3000-level history course for honors credit.  This can be done one of three ways:
    1. Student must register for the 3000-level course during registration and complete a History Departmental Honors Contract - based on an agreement between the student and a history faculty member.  Development of this agreement is the student’s responsibility.  Honors credit will be applied to the course at the end of the semester once a grade is assigned.  A grade of a B or higher is required to receive Honors credit for this course; a grade lower than a B will provide the student regular credit only.
    2. 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 registration forms necessary.
    3. If offered, complete a history honors 3000-level course.
  2. HIS 4509 Senior Honors Research (3hrs)– to enroll for this course, student must complete the Special Course Form based upon an agreement reached between the student and a professor in the department.
  3. HIS 4510 Senior Honors Thesis (3hrs)– to enroll for this course, student must complete the Special Course Form. Student must also attach a brief prospectus of their thesis.  Prerequisite: completion of HIS 4509.  Student will create a two person thesis committee including the thesis director and another faculty member. 
  4. Student will defend thesis. Students are responsible for scheduling their thesis defense on a date and time agreed upon by their thesis committee (director and second reader) prior to its final approval. Students must reserve a room .Students should also at least two weeks in advance provide a copy of the thesis to the committee for review. The defense should be scheduled at least one to two weeks prior to the first day of exams to allow time for any recommended changes or additions requested by the committee upon completion of the defense. The defense itself typically consists of a 20-30 minute presentation.

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 is 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 electronically to both the History Department Office (email a completed copy of the thesis as a PDF to Michael Behrent (behrentmc@appstate.edu), and to the Honors College (click here for instructions on submitting to the Honors College). 

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 Michael Behrent (Behrentmc@appstate.edu), and complete the History Department Honors Contract Form.