This seminar is designed to help students develop and write a History Honors Thesis. The honors thesis is a thirty-to-forty page research paper based on primary sources that offers an original argument about its subject. Thesis writers set their own research agenda, undertake a more sophisticated project than is possible in a regular course, and complete their undergraduate careers with a substantial accomplishment. Ideally, it should be a publishable work. (A possible venue is the Iowa Historical Review. By the end of the semester, you will have identified the project, examined sources, prepared an outline, and drafted a chapter or extended introduction. During the summer, you are expected to continue work on the thesis and complete any archival work necessary. In the fall semester you will enroll in History 3396: Senior Thesis. A committee of three, including the student’s thesis advisor and two other faculty members, will evaluate the finished thesis. Honors theses are kept permanently in the libraries of the Honors Center and the History Department. Each year, the department awards a monetary prize for the most distinguished Honors thesis (Stow Persons Award). Apart from the pleasure and challenge of researching and writing a substantial essay that makes a contribution to the historical profession, the Honors thesis can often serve as an impressive writing sample to strengthen applications to professional and graduate school.
Images: Clio, Muse of History, by Charles Meynier, 1798
Honors Research Seminar at the Iowa Women’s Archive, Spring 2017