Senior Year

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

The Thesis

In the senior year, history majors write a senior thesis. The thesis should be an original historical study that demands a significant amount of time and effort. The extent and type of research entailed e.g., the mix of primary and secondary materials, vary substantially from topic to topic, and students should discuss these matters in detail with their adviser early in the year.


The prescribed minimum length of text, excluding appendices, charts, bibliography, illustrations, or images, is 75 pages. Maximum length is 100 pages. (Permission of the thesis adviser must be obtained if a thesis is to exceed 100 pages.)

View a list of important dates »

Writing Support

The History Writing Group (HWG) 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.


Senior thesis advisers are assigned at the beginning of the fall term of senior year. Every effort is made to honor students' preferences.

The senior adviser serves for the entire year. Faculty members of other departments may serve as senior advisers, but second readers of the thesis will be drawn from the History Department.

Thesis Funding

The Department sponsors fellowships for juniors who wish to spend part of the summer between the junior and senior years accomplishing research for their theses. A second round of fellowship applications is offered during the fall term.