Honors in History

Successful applicants to the History Honors program enjoy a unique opportunity to craft their thesis project from the ground up. Spending two quarters engaged in primary-source research under the guidance of a faculty member specializing in their subject area, students will produce a piece of work similar in structure and analysis to the articles professional historians submit for publication.

Success in history Honors is not predetermined by G.P.A. A student who is considering applying to the program should think deeply about the descriptions below and decide whether or not they want to engage in such intense independent research. Students considering honors should have a project outline in mind at the time of their application, and should have already completed some formal study on the topic. The "With Honors in History" on an honors student’s diploma is not an end in itself, but rather marks the rigorous process by which a student becomes better prepared for post-graduate work, or employment which requires such a skill set.

Declaring Honors in the History Major

Admission to the History Honors Program is by application only. Interested students should contact History Undergraduate Advising to inquire about application materials and deadlines.

In order to apply to the History Honors Program students must meet these prerequisites before winter quarter of their junior year:

  • A minimum cumulative GPA or 3.3
  • A minimum cumulative GPA of 3.5 in history
  • At least 10 credits of upper division history coursework (300-400 level) completed in residence at the University of Washington

Honors Major Requirements

Students who declared the History major prior to Autumn 2002 have a different set of requirements. Contact History Undergraduate Advising with questions.

To earn a History major and graduate "With Honors in History" you will need a cumulative UW GPA of 3.3, as well as 70 credits of history with a cumulative history GPA of 3.5 and a 2.0 in each history course, broken down as follows:

30 credits of upper division history coursework (300-400 level) completed in residence at the University of Washington. Transfer and AP credit, correspondence courses, and foreign study courses are not classified as "in residence."

5 credits in each of the following areas of study, drawn from the departmental list of Approved Courses:

          Broad European History

          Broad United States History

          Africa, Asia, Latin America, Middle East

10 credits of approved courses in the Pre-Modern period. 

10 credits of approved courses in the Modern period. 

5 credits of HIST 395: Historical Methods

Instead of HIST 388 and HIST 494/498, honors students complete a three-quarter sequence: HIST 395, Modern Historical Writing, is taken Spring of the student’s junior year. This course serves as a rigorous introduction to historiography, "the study of the study of history." HIST 395 acquaints students with the numerous ways historians have defined their craft, provides insight on factors which influence historians’ perceptions of the past, and introduces students to a broad range of approaches to historical analysis. In HIST 395 students learn the skills necessary for HIST 491/492: Honors Historical Methods. Students must earn a 3.5 or better in HIST 395 in order to continue on to HIST 491.

10 credits of HIST 491/492: Honors Historical Method

HIST 491 and 492 are taken the Fall and Winter quarters, respectively, of the honors student’s senior year. HIST 491 and 492 are combined into a working seminar in which students produce a senior thesis to serve as their seminal work. Each student is paired with a faculty member who specializes in her or his particular area of interest. Participants in the seminar act as colleagues, reviewing and critiquing each other’s work. Time spent in class generally decreases throughout the course of the sequence, as students become more immersed in their research and consultations with their faculty advisor.

The choice of remaining elective History coursework (to reach a total of 70 credits) is entirely at the student's discretion.

The history department faculty has determined which of our courses fulfill the above requirements. See the Approved Course list.

Applying to Graduate

Students must complete a Graduation Application no later than the third Friday of the quarter in which they wish to graduate. Failure to adhere to these deadlines will delay your graduation. Graduation applications may be completed up to two quarters in advance; doing so guarantees Graduating Senior Priority (G.S.P.) status for the remaining two quarters..