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History Honors

Like solving mysteries? Independent-minded? Craving intellectual connection with your favorite History professors-- and a smart, selective cohort of fellow majors?

Engage in a 3-semester program focused on research, culminating in a one-on-one yearlong quest with credit that answers your most pressing research questions about the past. Satisfy your insatiable historical curiosity and GRADUATE WITH HONORS! 

See applications instructions below, and then apply here. For more information about the application, see Honors Application Handout.

Information Session on the History Honors Program: Thursday, September 21st at 5:00 in GAR 1.102. Details here.

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College of Liberal Arts

Welcome from the Honors Director

Undergraduate research is at the heart of our Department’s unique three-semester Honors Program. Other disciplines in the Liberal Arts offer Honors study for seniors only. Our students begin a year earlier. As juniors they take a class reserved just for them: the Honors Historiography Seminar (HIS 347L) taught by the Honors Director annually. Students learn experientially. They visit treasured UT archives: the Harry Ransom Center and the Briscoe, exploring with curators documents on display selected to support their research interests. Successful Honors graduates return to share their theses and recount tales of research in archives and abroad. Invited History professors teach master classes on how they researched and wrote their recent articles and books.Successful junior Honors students depart the Seminar with a thesis topic, supported by their analysis of their field’s historiography and a prospectus, a road map for their senior year of research and writing with a carefully chosen History faculty mentor. This History professor oversees and mentors their advisee’s senior year of research and writing. By December, each Honors student must submit at least one chapter of their 50 to 70 page thesis. By March, they should draft the project entire in preparation for final revisions.In April of their senior year, Honors students present their research arguments and conclusions at the annual Honors Research Symposium during Undergraduate Research Week at UT. All thesis projects are defended and submitted by May. At graduation, Honors graduates receive special cords and framed certificates. They march at the head of the line of History majors at the departmental graduation ceremony.Beyond UT, our graduates pursue further educational goals in law school, public policy, education, political science, geospatial intelligence, History and more. They find employment at the Texas State Legislature as researchers and at Amazon as software developers. In the midst of a global pandemic, the City of Austin hired one of our graduates as an analyst in the Planning and Budget Office. All Honors graduates research, think, write, and argue their cases in life more effectively because they honed these critical skills in the History Honors Program at UT.
Dr. Neil Kamil, Director, History Honors Program

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College of Liberal Arts

Application and Program Information

  • First Years and Sophomores
    • If you're considering the honors program, consult with the Director or the Advising Office in your freshman or sophomore years for advice about preparation and scheduling.
    • Students often want to combine Honors in History with study abroad, the Normandy Scholar Program, or other programs. With the Normandy Scholar Program being the unique exception, thereby allowing students to combine Normandy with History Honors, the only cases in which study abroad is permitted in combination with Honors in History would be the Maymester, summer study abroad, or study abroad in sophomore year.
    • We encourage students enrolled in the Honors Program to take other upper level History courses and especially seminars (HIS 320W, 378W, and other writing flag courses) in their field of interest as soon as they can. These courses provide valuable background and writing experience.
    • Since the Honors Program application requires a letter of recommendation, we encourage students to interact and work closely with UT History faculty members before their junior year.
  • Juniors: How to Apply

    We choose participants based on their writing sample, course background, commitment, and grades. For more information about the application, see Honors Application Handout.


    • upper division standing
    • have at least a 3.0 UT Austin GPA and a 3.5 GPA in HISTORY
    • the motivation and ability to do intense research and writing

    Application Components:


    • Normandy Scholar Program (NSP) students may substitute an approved upper-division NSP History course for the HIS 347L requirement.
    • Transfer students should consult Honors Director. 
    • Students hoping to do honors programs in two different majors (e.g., Government and History) need to write two separate theses or seek departmental honors in only one of their two majors.
    • Plan II majors seeking "Special Honors in History" through the History Honors Program, should apply to the program and, once accepted, meet with the Plan II advisors to review procedures and options.
  • Admitted Juniors and Seniors

    Thesis writers are strongly encouraged to apply for the Rapoport-King Thesis Scholarships in the fall of their senior year. The Director will keep you informed about any other fellowship opportunities.

    Spring ONLY - HIS 347L Seminar in Historiography (PDF, 44 KB)

    This course is only offered in the spring, and taught by the Honors Director. The seminar in historiography is designed to prepare students for their senior research projects. Students are introduced to a variety of historical methods and approaches; they are required to write a thesis prospectus; and, with the help of the Honors Director, they choose a thesis advisor from the History faculty.

    Fall - HIS 679HA Honors Tutorial Course (senior thesis, first semester)
    Spring - HIS 679HB Honors Tutorial Course (senior thesis, second semester)

    Each honors student researches and writes a senior thesis during the fall and spring semesters. That research is supervised by a History faculty advisor. The thesis must be based on the student's independent and original research in primary as well as secondary sources. Each student takes an oral examination in their thesis field and is invited to present the research in a public forum at the end of the spring semester.  The thesis must earn a grade of no lower than "B" to qualify the student for "Special Honors in History" upon graduation.

 The faculty thesis advisor and a second reader grade each thesis. The second reader is usually a historian whose field is related to that of the thesis. In some cases in which another discipline is involved, the second reader may be a member of another department. The honors director, the thesis advisor, and the student work out a timetable for completing the various stages of the work so that the thesis can be submitted a month prior to the end of the spring semester. Failure to complete the requirements by applicable deadlines will keep the student from graduating and/or receiving certain honors.

    Guidelines for History Honors Theses:
    Honors theses are expected to conform to these formatting standards:

    • They should be 50 to 100 pages long.
    • Lines should be double-spaced.
    • The margins should be 1’’.
    • The font should be 12 point Times New Roman.
    • Notes should be footnotes formatted according to the Chicago Manual of Style guidelines.
    • They should include a bibliography formatted according to the Chicago Manual of Style guidelines (note that the footnote and bibliography formats are different).
    • They should include a Title Page and a Signature Page. The Signature Page should include the names of both the Honors Thesis Advisor and the Second Reader.

    Students should email PDF copies to history.advising@austin.utexas.edu.
    A Quick Guide to Chicago Manual of Style citations can be found at http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html.

  • Final Requirements and Graduation

    From Course Catalog for 2018-2020:
    The requirements for graduation with special honors, which are in addition to the requirements of the major are:

    • History 347L, Seminar in Historiography, normally taken in the spring semester of the junior year; this course may be counted toward the thirty hours in history required for the major;
    • History 679H, Honors Tutorial Course, with a grade of at least B in each half;
    • Satisfactory performance on an oral examination centered on the thesis completed in History 679HB;
    • A University grade point average of at least 3.00 and a grade point average of at least 3.50 in the coursework required for the major and for honors; and
    • Completion in residence at the University of at least sixty semester hours of coursework counted toward the degree.

    Normandy Scholar Program (NSP) students may substitute an approved upper-division NSP history course for the History 347L requirement.

    In general, failure to meet all requirements will not keep a student from graduating, but the student would not receive "Special Honors in History."

  • Contact Us

    For any questions, please email the History Advisors at history.advising@austin.utexas.edu.


Anna Roberts, Class of 2020

Honors Thesis: “Devil’s Grasshoppers”: Dancing-Masters, Leisure, and Social Mobility in Eighteenth-Century London.
“The history honors program has without a doubt been then most impactful part of my college career. It helped teach me what producing a historical work actually means, and then, most importantly, made me actually do it. It was researching my thesis that I realized I wanted to go to graduate school in history instead of law, and it was the experience and skills (and the writing sample!) I gained through the program that helped me get into the PhD programs I did (Hopkins, Cornell, Princeton, and Indiana). I can’t imagine having gained these skills any other way at an undergraduate level. To anyone with an interest in figuring out what it really means to do history, I can’t recommend this program enough.”

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College of Liberal Arts


History Honors alumni Cristian Quiroga and Rachel Davies visit Honors Seminar and offer advice to current cohort on research and writing

Cristian and Rachel, both Class of '22, offered advice on thesis writing, navigating research in the archives, and much more. Watch a recording of Cristian’s discussion here, and of Rachel’s conversation here.

Read a summary of key takeaways from their discussions here.
College of Liberal Arts

Honors Symposium 2021

Click the button below to watch in Box.
More information about the event can be found here.

College of Liberal Arts

History Honors in the News

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