Senior Honors Theses
Each year a small number of outstanding students apply in order to undertake honors work in History. Candidates for honors in History build upon the knowledge learned and skills developed in their previous coursework by crafting their own interpretations of the past. This experience can be richly rewarding, as it offers students an opportunity to work closely with a faculty adviser, to think deeply about a significant intellectual problem of their own choosing, and to grow as a researcher, writer, and thinker. However, writing a successful honors thesis requires planning, hard work, and great dedication. Rising seniors should think carefully before choosing this path.
Normally, an honors student will complete the History major by taking eight History courses (two of which can be taken abroad or at MIT) in addition to the honors thesis (HIST 360 and HIST 370), which gives them a 10-course major.
Students who wish to undertake honors work must apply during the spring semester of their junior year. Those accepted to the Honors program (360) are strongly encouraged to complete a part of their research during the summer before the senior year. Doing so increases the time that can be devoted to writing during the academic year and makes the entire process both less stressful and more rewarding. Candidates needing to travel in order to complete their research should investigate funding options as soon as possible.
Additional requirements include: formal presentation of the research topic during a lunch meeting early in the fall semester; presentation of an outline and progress report during reading period of the fall semester; submission of work-in-progress on the first day of spring semester classes; attendance at an occasional colloquium for thesis writers during February and March; submission of the completed thesis by the campus-wide deadline in April; and an oral examination on the subject of the thesis during the reading period of the spring semester.
Please note: the only path to honors is the senior thesis. Students enroll in Senior Thesis Research (360) in the first semester and carry out independent work under the supervision of a faculty member. If sufficient progress is made, students may continue with Senior Thesis (370) in the second semester. This year, majors who wish to have their Honors Proposals evaluated must submit the proposals by Monday, April 3, 2023.