Junior Year

Student studying library

Image credit: Thomas Leuthard. Image is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Juniors write two research papers about 25-35 pages long, one in each semester. In the fall, juniors enroll in a seminar, History 400, that guides them through the process of historical research and writing. In the spring, students work on their paper under the guidance of a faculty adviser. The junior papers are designed to prepare students to tackle more ambitious topics for their thesis.

Before registering each term, each student majoring in history consults a faculty member who provides advice on designing a program of courses for the coming semester and signs the course planner/tracksheet. Juniors are advised during the fall term by the directors of their respective junior seminars. During the spring term they are advised by the supervisors of their spring-term junior papers.

Fall Term

In the first semester, junior independent work takes place within the department's junior seminar, History 400, which all juniors must take as one of their fall-term courses. Junior seminar topics are cross-national and comparative in nature. Some seminars that have been offered in the past include:

  • "The United States and Latin America in the Twentieth Century"
  • "The Black Atlantic World: Black Encounters with Europe, Asia, and the Americas"
  • "The Cold War as International History"
  • "The Medieval City"
  • "Seeing the Sea: The Mediterranean in History."

Students will select their seminar using TigerHub. The junior seminars are designed to introduce juniors to the tools, methods, and interpretations of historical research and writing. They result in the student's first historical research paper: the fall-term junior paper.

Two independent grades are recorded, one for History 400 as a course, and the other for the fall-term junior independent work, a research paper of approximately 30-35 pages.

Spring Term

In the spring term, junior independent work takes place outside the normal course load. Students write a research paper of approximately 30-35 pages under the guidance of a faculty adviser.

Choosing an adviser

After the fall junior paper is submitted, students will be emailed a list of available advisers with their fields of interest.  Students are encouraged to reach out to faculty on that list with whom they would like to work.  If there is a particular faculty member of special interest, students should ask that adviser for a commitment and inform the Undergraduate Administrator.   Otherwise, assignments of advisers are made as much as possible on the basis of student preferences. Students may arrange to have a faculty member from another department serve as adviser for the spring-term independent work. However, the Departmental Representative must be notified of such arrangements.

Topic selection

In consultation with their advisers, students may select any topic for the spring- term junior paper, subject to the provision that the spring-term topic and the written work accomplished during the fall-term junior seminar fall into different geographical areas and time periods. Geographical areas are defined as (a) Africa, (b) Asia, (c) Australia, (d) Europe, including Russia, (e) Latin America, (f) Near East, and (g) United States and Canada.

Writing Group

The Senior Thesis Writing Group (STWG) is an open forum for both juniors and seniors to discuss issues you might be having in the writing process, talk about where you need to be in that process (and how you can catch up), review departmental policies and procedures regarding research and citations, workshop parts of your thesis that you've already written, listen to the concerns of your fellow writers, or just have a quiet space in which to write. The writing group meets in Dickinson Hall.

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