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Honors Thesis

The history honors thesis is an option consisting of three hours of credit (HIST 496 Honors). History 496 is separate from the WVU Honors College. In addition, the three hours must be completed in addition to the 33 hours of history courses required for the history major. History majors can take up to 42 hours in the department as part of their 120 hours required for the Bachelor of Arts degree.

To qualify for this program: 

  • Students must have a 3.3 cumulative GPA and a 3.5 GPA in history courses. 
  • Students eligible for the history honors thesis will be identified and given a written invitation either by the department chairperson or the associate dean for undergraduate studies. 
  • This is an independent study option.

Once admitted, students will need to work with a faculty member of their choice with the consent of that faculty member. The honors thesis consists of a major research paper, building upon the skills learned in the prerequisite HIST 484, Introduction to Historical Research. Students who are qualified for the honors thesis should take HIST 484 in the second semester of their junior year so they will have two semesters to finish their thesis while finishing all of the required course work for graduation. 

After completing these requirements, students will begin working on their paper in the fall semester and continue into the spring term. There will be an informal defense or presentation of the paper in the spring semester to a committee of faculty. The experience of writing a substantial honors thesis provides excellent preparation for students planning to earn a graduate degree or who want to pursue careers involving extensive writing and research skills. Writing and defending one’s work is key to being a historian.