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History Honors Program

utkhistory-65History honors majors pursue advanced coursework with other accomplished, motivated students, and they work with a faculty mentor to complete a senior thesis on a topic of their choice.

Completing a history honors major is a highly rewarding intellectual experience. This version of the degree also offers students some very real practical advantages. Being an honors major will make you a much more competitive applicant for law school or graduate school; it will also make your resume stand out to future employers.

The honors major requires the same number of total hours as a regular history major (33 hours in total), but with a somewhat different distribution of classes. Out of their 33 hours in the major, honors majors take a total of 12 hours of honors credit. As an honors major, you will need:

  • Six hours (2 classes) of honors credit in the History Department
    • For example, students often take History 307, an honors course on rotating topics that we offer each year, or they arrange to turn a regular upper-division course into an honors-by-contract course. We use the Chancellors’ Honors Program forms to set up History honors-by-contract courses; you can find the necessary paperwork here.
  • History 407 and History 408
    • These two classes are the honors thesis sequence, taken in the fall and spring of the senior year.

You can find a more detailed explanation of the honors requirements here.

Applying to Join the History Honors Concentration

Students are eligible to apply to join the Honors Concentration once they have reached at least the second semester of the sophomore year. They must have an overall GPA of at least 3.25 to apply, and must also have taken either 1) History 299 and at least one upper-division History course, or 2) any two upper-division History courses. Transfer students may apply once they have met the GPA and coursework requirements. Students who are currently enrolled in the required courses may go ahead and apply late in the semester before receiving their final grades, as long as they have completed sufficient coursework for the faculty member to be able to evaluate their potential for honors.

If you are interested in applying to the program, please submit the following two things to the Honors Coordinator, Dr. Latham (

  • A completed application, available here.
  • An endorsement from a History Department faculty member. Please have the recommending faculty member send their endorsement directly to Dr. Latham.

History Department Awards for Undergraduate Research Travel

Through the Leroy Graf Endowment, the History Department has funds available for undergraduate honors majors who need to travel to conduct research for their theses. These funds can be used during fall, winter or spring break, or over the summer.

In order to be considered for a grant, please fill out this application and send it to Dr. Latham (

  • For travel during the academic year, be sure to apply at least six weeks in advance of your scheduled trip.
  • For summer research travel applications, the deadline is March 4th.

Also, please ask your faculty mentor to send a statement supporting your proposal to Dr. Latham. The deadline for recommendations is also March 4th, or six weeks before your scheduled travel date, as relevant.