The senior thesis is both the main challenge and the main reward of the final year of Honours. It is the capstone achievement of the undergraduate experience. Students undertake substantial pieces of independent research on topics of their choice, under the individual direction of faculty members in the department.
By the end of their first year in Honours, students should have decided on what most interests them and have consulted with department members who are knowledgeable in the field. Students are strongly urged to pick a topic in a field with which they are already broadly familiar, and to that end are encouraged to have taken classes relevant to the topic of their thesis (for example, a student interested in questions of empire and race in Mexico should ideally have taken classes in the history of Mexico or Latin America as well as classes exploring questions of empire and/or race.)
A faculty adviser is chosen in consultation with the Honours Chair at the end of the first year of the program. The faculty advisor will help you shape a thesis topic congruent with your interests, your existing knowledge of the field, and the faculty member’s own knowledge and interests. The length of the thesis should be approximately 60 typed double-spaced pages.
The minimum acceptable standing on the graduating thesis for an Honours degree is 68%. The final mark for the thesis is established by a panel of History Department members, including the advisor. At the student’s thesis defence, the defence committee jointly judges the thesis, and examines the student orally on the written work and on the general subject of which it is a part.