Honors Program

The History Honors Program is designed for majors who want to do advanced research and write an extensive thesis on a topic of their choice under the direct supervision of a history professor.

  • Applicants do NOT need to have been a member of the LSA honors program. 
  • Applicants do NOT need to be planning on a career as professional historians.

The usual applicant is a first-term junior. Admission decisions are based on a student’s academic record, background in history, demonstrated ability to write, and recommendations by faculty or GSIs. To be considered for admission, students should have at least a 3.5 GPA in history courses and a 3.4 GPA overall, but a high GPA alone does not guarantee admission. In exceptional cases, this rule may be waived. A general statement of research interests is also part of the application, and the selection committee will strive to ensure that many different topics, places, languages, and time periods are represented among those accepted. The results of the selection process are announced in mid-November, in time for those chosen to register for History 498 in the winter term.

All honors students, except for those studying abroad, must take History 498, the Junior Honors Colloquium, in the winter term of their junior year. This class will help students develop a thesis topic and write a thesis prospectus, as well as acquaint participants with some of the methods and approaches used by professional historians. Students who decide to leave the program after having taken History 498 still need to complete the history colloquium (Hist 496/497) to satisfy the major requirements. Please note that History 498 does not satisfy the LSA upper level writing requirement.

History 499, the Senior Honors Colloquium, is a year-long writing workshop led by a faculty member, and is required for all thesis writers. In the workshop, students help one another with their projects by sharing experiences, advice, and drafts of their writing. Most of the work needed to complete the thesis, however, is done individually in close consultation with a faculty advisor.

The theses are due in late March, and are expected to be about 60-100 pages in length. The student’s advisor and one other faculty member evaluate the thesis on the basis of the quality of the research, analysis, and writing. The letter grade for History 499 and the level of honors with which the student will graduate (“Honors,” “High Honors,” “Highest Honors”) are based primarily on these evaluations.

History 499 satisfies the LSA Upper-Level Writing Requirement.


For information on LS&A Honors Research Grants, go to http://www.lsa.umich.edu/honors/currentstudents/scholarshipinformation

Honors Symposium
The program culminates with the annual Honors Symposium. At the Symposium, the honors students present their thesis research to an audience composed of their thesis advisors, family and friends. Several awards are made for outstanding theses.

Honors Courses that Satisfy Major Requirements

  • Completing History 499 will satisfy the LSA Upper-Level Writing Requirement (ULWR).
  • Completing History 499 will satisfy the colloquium requirement for the history concentration. Students who miss History 498 must take another colloquium (History 496 or 497) in its place.
  • The two honors courses, History 498 (4 credits) and 499 (1-6 credits), count as two of the upper-level history courses required for concentration.


  • Calendar for 2015-2016

    Junior Honors Calendar

  • September-October 2015 Fall 2015 History Honors Application.
    September 29, 2015, 4:00pm, in 1014 Tisch Hall Informational meeting with the Honors Committee.
    October 21, 2015 (the day after fall break) Application DEADLINE for program beginning Winter term. No late applications will be accepted.
    Mid-November 2015 Students are notified of decisions.
    Winter Term 2016 Students elect History 498, the Junior Honors Colloquium.

    Senior Honors Calendar

    Monday, December 8, 2014 Chapter 1 draft due.
    Monday, January 26, 2015 Chapter 2 draft due.
    Monday, March 9, 2015 Complete first draft due on ctools.
    Monday, March 9, 2015 Complete first draft due to advisor.
    Monday, March 30, 2015 Completed thesis due in 1029 Tisch Hall.
    Friday, April 29, 2016, 9 a.m. to noon, Harlan Hatcher Graduate Library, Room 100 913 S. University Thirty-first Annual History Honors Symposium