What Students Say

"I was mid-way through my third undergraduate year when my professor approached me and encouraged me to apply to the honours program in History. Entering the program meant extending my degree for another two years, for a total of five, but even now after I have finished my M.A., I consider those two years to have been the most transformative of my education. I became a better reader, writer and researcher because of it. Don’t let the honours program be kept a secret from you; don’t let it intimidate you; apply, apply, apply! For someone even considering graduate school in their future, there is no better path than this program. The readings chosen by our professors were theoretical, challenging, and multi-disciplinary. The debate and discussion with my peers — now, my close friends — was eye-opening, and inspiring. And the multiple seminar classes designed by professors at home in their field of specialty were incredibly rich. Every week we looked at primary sources and the experience of the past in a new and different light. Now especially we need students of history, people who are alive to alternative readings and the uncertain truths of the past. There is more than one way to slice an onion, and more than one way to cry over it.”

Jacob Goldowitz (2015)


"I feel as though I should preface my testimonial by admitting that I had reservations about entering into the History Honours program – at the time, I was content with simply floating along through my regular classes, and I was hesitant about taking on the responsibilities of a thesis project. What I didn’t fully appreciate, at first, was how rewarding it is to become part of a supportive community of peers and professors who are willing to engage with historical materials on a deeper level. The program challenges everything you think you know about historiography (in a good way!), the faculty are enthusiastic and make themselves readily available to guide you through the process, and the participation-heavy seminar style encourages students to actively involve themselves. This program inspired me to continue studying history at the graduate level, and provided an opportunity to build lasting friendships – I definitely recommend it!"

Robin Bunton (2015)


"The History honors program was without a doubt the best part of my undergraduate experience at UBC. In contrast to large lecture courses, with cram-and-forget exams and relatively little opportunity for one-on-one interaction with their instructors, the honors seminars and tutorials allow for on-going discussion among a small, consistent cohort and with the professors leading these classes. During my time in the honors program, I was able to read great books — many that strongly influenced and sometimes significantly changed my thinking about the discipline of History — and then talk them over with smart, engaged people each week; a rare pleasure in an undergraduate program at a large, public university! Between these stimulating weekly meetings and the research-intensive final thesis project, the honors program really demystifies what it means to 'do history.’ Students are immersed in the practical, methodological work of the professional historian, while at the same learning the great variety of forms that such work can take. For a student moving on from the honors program to pursue an M.A. or Ph.D., there will be no potentially overwhelming 'surprises' waiting for them in grad school. In fact, it was my very enjoyable and rewarding experience in the honors program that made me feel confident in my decision to pursue further degrees in History.”

Josh Timmermann (2013)


"History honours benefited me in many ways. To name three: it allowed me to dive deep into a topic that was completely of my own choosing, it offered me a friendly intellectual neighbourhood in the sometimes overwhelming big city that is UBC, and it gave me the opportunity to work closely with my advisor, who I still view as a great mentor years after graduation.”

Catherine Bright (2009)


"Eight years after graduating, I vividly remember the heated discussions from my honours seminars while memories of many other classes have faded over time. As an intellectually curious introvert, I especially appreciated the small size of the program: discussion-based seminars pushed me to learn the skills of oral communication, while the small size of our cohort made me comfortable expressing my thoughts without the fear of sounding ‘stupid.' By alleviating my fear of oral discussion, and by offering an intellectually intensive environment for two years, the honours program gave me the best preparation for studying history at the graduate level.”

Chelsea Zi Wang (2009)


History Honours was absolutely the highlight of my undergraduate experience. On a campus as large as UBC's, History Honours offers the chance to feel part of a small intellectual and social community. The program is certainly rigorous, but challenges such as the thesis seem far less daunting when you are surrounded by peers who both cheer you on and strengthen your scholarship. The work may be consuming, but, when you graduate, you do so with the conviction that you have stretched your brain cells and accomplished a significant piece of research. Whether your goals are graduate school, law school, the world of business, or another path entirely, the education you'll receive within Honours will serve you well.

Meg Leja (2007)