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Senior Honors Project -- History
The Department of History encourages students to write a senior honors project as part of its commitment to student research and writing in history. Any student already in the Honors Program as Track I or Track II with with a cumulative 3.25 GPA or higher is eligible to write a senior honors project. Track III students (or students wishing to be admitted into the Honors Program with 3 to 4 semesters remaining) must have a cumulative GPA of 3.50 or higher to be eligible to write a senior honors project.
Early each spring semester, the department head will notify in writing those majors and minors who are eligible to write a senior honors thesis. The letter should indicate the senior honors project application process and deadlines for submission to the Honors Program, as well as indicate an information meeting day and time for interested students. This meeting would be used to explain the senior honors project process and answer particular student questions.
Students who plan to write a senior honors project must submit an application to the Honors Program early in April of their junior year. The application must include a working title, a project prospectus and a preliminary bibliography. In addition, a committee of faculty members must agree to read the project. Typically, this committee is three individuals: a director who will guide and direct the project, and two readers who will review the project. The faculty must agree that the finished project meets the expectations of a senior honors project. A copy of the completed Honors Program application, including the signatures of the faculty director and readers, must be filed with the Department of History at this time.
Once the application is submitted to the Honors Program, it is urged that each student meet with the entire committee sometime during April to discuss the project. The intent of this meeting is to have a discussion among the committee members and the student about the project topic. It is an opportunity to discuss possible research approaches (perhaps to help narrow the topic), to suggest primary sources and to consider questions. Also, a basic review process should be considered. For example, does the committee want to review each chapter as it is submitted, or do they want the director to review chapters, then send them along later? Or, some committees may want to read a draft of the entire project. Finally, this meeting is designed to help the student begin work on the project in a collegial manner, and to set expectations.
The Department of History honors project should be about sixty to seventy-five pages in length and must make use of primary sources. Typically, the senior honors project is divided into chapters. Students will register for HIST 499 in both fall and spring semesters, making the project a six credit hour endeavor. The faculty director should be certain to record a final grade at the end of each semester's work and should consult with the readers, where appropriate, to determine the grade.
It is urged that beginning with fall semester, the student and project director meet on a regular basis (weekly or bi-weekly) to discuss the project and to help the student make satisfactory progress in research and writing. It is strongly recommended that a draft of about one half of the project be completed at the end of the fall semester. Students will receive a grade for HIST 499 fall semester, which indicates the progress made to that point.
A completed draft of the project should be submitted to the director before spring break. A draft should be given to the readers in late March. Such deadlines will allow all committee members the time to read and review the draft and allow the student the opportunity to make any necessary changes before the Honors Program deadline of mid-April. The project should be about sixty to seventy-five pages in length.
The Department of History encourages its senior honors project authors to present their research at conferences. Venues such as the National Council for Undergraduate Research (NCUR) and the regional Phi Alpha Theta conference (history honorary society) provide excellent opportunities for students to present a research paper based on their project.
The Department of History has a fund to help defray student travel research expenses. Students who need to travel to conduct research are encouraged to petition the Clive R. Hallman Fund for travel funds.
Senior honors project authors will make a formal presentation of their research at a Department of History honors day that could also include recognition of other students and faculty (Mary Jackson Award, Carlton Smith Award, Raymond Dingledine Award). Phi Alpha Theta and the History Club will organize this day of recognition.