Junior Year

Student studying library

Juniors write two research papers about 30-35 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.

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.


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