Honors projects in the history department offer students an opportunity to craft a substantial written thesis that demonstrates independent critical thought and original research and present their research in an oral presentation. It differs from a senior seminar paper in its breadth, depth, and scope. We realize, however, that some projects might best be completed with an alternative product — such as a script, an historical novel, a computer model, a teaching portfolio, a physical exhibit, a podcast, a staged performance, or an audio or visual documentary, among others. 

Students wishing to create an honors project in History must:

  • Have declared a major in history
  • Submit an application (information below) by April 15 of their junior year
  • Register for and complete HIST 490: Senior Seminar the fall semester of their senior year
  • Honors students may enroll in an independent study course (from 1-4 credits) the spring semester of their senior year. 
    • Only one independent study course may count among the ten courses that constitute a major. 
    • Students will also meet regularly with their honors advisor throughout the process.

An honors application for the History department will include the following: 

  • A written proposal that explains the topic and nature of their project, the primary and secondary sources they intend to examine and consult, and a detailed suggested timeline for completion. (The application is below.)
  • A letter of support from a member of the History department who is willing to direct the project.
    • Students proposing interdisciplinary projects should explain the ties between the discipline of history and their additional disciplines. They may also include a letter of support from a faculty member in this department.
  • A copy of the student’s unofficial transcript.

Download the Application for History Honors

Department deadlines for honors:

  • April 15 (junior year) — completed applications and advisor endorsements are due to the department chair.
  • End of spring semester — the department chair notifies students whether they are provisionally approved to continue.
  • First day of fall semester — provisionally accepted students submit a progress report to the department chair. The report will outline the student’s progress over the summer and will include a proposed timeline for the fall semester, a list of potential committee members, and a proposed timeline for the spring semester.
    • Each honors student will be evaluated by a committee of at least three faculty members, two of whom must come from the Macalester History department. This committee will read the honors thesis (or evaluate the alternative final product) and engage the student in an oral discussion of the research and project. The committee will determine whether to recognize the student’s work with “honors.” The individual project advisor will assign the student a final letter grade for their independent study course. 
  • December 1 — honors advisors submit written progress reports to the department chair. The department will discuss the reports and determine which students may continue.
  • First day of spring semester — provisionally accepted students submit a progress report to the department chair. 
    • The report will outline the student’s progress over the winter break  and will include a proposed timeline for the spring semester and a finalized list of potential committee members.
  • March 1 — honors students and their advisor confirm a date for the defense (which should be completed by April 15).  
  • April 1 — the final honors draft is due to the student’s honors committee. 
    • Students will have time to make minor revisions and produce a clean final product after their oral presentation. 
  • April 15 — honors students should have completed their oral presentation.
  • April 30 — the final version of the thesis, appropriate for binding and placement in the library, is due to Academic Programs.

Prior History Honors Projects

-with links to the projects in Digital Commons, when available

Ana Berman ’23, Interpreting Spain’s Jewish Past: Jewish Heritage Tourism and the Politics of History

Lily Denehy ’22, Creating Cowboys and “Playing Indian”: Football and White Supremacy from 1890-1980.

Audrey Wuench ’22, Sounding the Silent Majority (1964-1974): A Country Fan’s Journey to Understand Their Favorite Genre’s Conservative Legacy.

Liam McMahon ’20, A critical study of the Pat Finucane Centre’s “In Their Footsteps” memorial and archive.

Natasha Holtman ’19, Tales of the Great Jewish Migration: Memory, Assimilation, and Unsettled Matrimony

Jemma Kloss ’19, Memento Mori: Victorian Death Culture Through Murder, Morbidity, and Mourning

Kasia Majewski ’19, Communizing Memory: The Manipulation of Czech History and Identity

Samuel Richmond ’19, Ink and Blood: American Military Tattooing from the Civil War to the Global War on Terror

Projects prior to 2019