Outstanding history majors wishing to go beyond the required course of study might consider the Honors program.
In order to qualify for the honors program, a student must maintain an excellent academic record and maintain an overall GPA of 3.3 and a History Major GPA of 3.5.
Students participating in the Honors program must complete HST 391, “Honors Seminar.” The themes of the seminar change with the faculty who teach it, but all HST 391 seminars raise methodological questions of historical synthesis and interpretation.
The central element of the Honors program is the Research Project. All history majors take a research seminar, HST 390. Honors students almost always choose to revise their 390 research paper as their honors paper, though in unusual circumstances students can develop their honors paper in other ways. Students considering honors should be aware that the standards for honors quality research papers are high, and many students need to devote a semester or more to revising and reworking a 390 paper before it can be considered for honors. Students pursuing honors should identify a faculty member in the history department who is willing to serve as their primary adviser for the Research Project. Students should also identify a second faculty member willing to serve as a second reader on the project.
When, in the opinion of the primary faculty adviser, the research paper meets the expectations and standards for honors quality work, the student will then submit a polished and coherent draft of the paper to both the primary and secondary readers. These papers must be submitted to the faculty committee no later than April 1 (Nov 1 for December graduation). This paper should be in complete and defensible form at this time, including adequate primary and secondary literature, bibliographical citations and footnotes, the latter two properly formatted. Students will then complete an Oral Defense of their Research Project. All defenses must be completed no later than April 14 (Nov 15 for December graduation).
The final steps for receiving honors in history are to submit the signed Honors Defense form to the history department, together with a final copy of the honors thesis that incorporates any and all changes. Students must also hand in a 250 word abstract of their project that will be posted on the department website. To see past honors abstracts, see our link here.
Phi Alpha Theta. The honor society in the field of history is PHI ALPHA THETA. To be invited to become a member, a student must meet certain standards set by the national organization. They include being in the upper 35% of the class, completion of 12 hours in history with a B average, and the maintenance of a B average in at least two-thirds of the remainder of your course work. Professor Gillespie is the faculty adviser to WFU Phi Alpha Theta.