All history majors are required to complete a Capstone Course in order to graduate. (See below for a more detailed explanation of degree requirements and for information on substituting the Honors Thesis or using an internship for the Capstone Course requirement). The Capstone Course is a historical methods seminar that introduces junior and senior undergraduate history majors to the advanced skills employed by professional historians. Students will complete readings on a particular issue, event, or process, while also developing critical research and writing skills. The goal of the course is for each student to craft an eloquent and convincing analytical essay based in primary source research. In the process of producing the research paper, students will be required to present and discuss the thesis of the research paper with the other members of the seminar.
In order to be designated a historical methods seminar the following criteria must be met:
- Instruction based largely on readings and discussion rather than lecture
- Coverage of research methodologies
- Enhancement of students’ critical reading and writing skills
- Completion of a substantial paper (at least a minimum of 12 pages) based on primary sources, if available.
Capstone Course Within the Degree Requirements in History
As part of the 18 advanced hours in history majors must take out of a total of 36 hours to complete their majors, one three hour advanced course is required to be the historical methods seminar capstone course. Currently 6 of the 18 advance hours must be taken at the 4000 level.
The Capstone course will be numbered at the 4000 level. They will have special designations in the class schedule and later in the undergraduate studies catalog.
Capstone Substitute Option
History majors can also fulfill their requirement by writing a Senior Honor Thesis, or with an instructor’s permission, take a graduate –level seminar. In addition, students who do a public history or other internship (under the strict supervision of the faculty and with the approval of the undergraduate director) can use their off-campus experience as a substitute capstone course.
Students interested in undertaking a research project involving significant primary research are encouraged to consider writing a senior Honors Thesis. You do not need to be a member of the Honors College, but the Honors College oversees and administers all Honors Theses. Minimum requirements for the Honors Thesis are a 3.25 cumulative grade point average as well as a 3.50 grade point average in the field of the thesis or project. Interested students should pick up the "Guidelines for the Senior Thesis" from the Honors College office or download it here.
You should begin thinking about the Honors Thesis in the Junior year. If you think you might want to undertake an Honors Thesis and you meet the minimum requirements, a good first step is to speak with the faculty member who specializes in the area in which you are interested. Once the faculty member has agreed to work with you, you can proceed to fill out the paperwork. Students who successfully complete the senior Honors Thesis generally receive six advanced hours of credit in history. If approved, you need to bring your verification form to the undergraduate advisor in order to officially create a course for your Thesis each semester.
The History Department welcomes your interest in our undergraduate program and looks forward to working with you to help you achieve your academic and career goals.
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