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The History Honors Program is designed for History majors who are interested in carrying out a year-long independent research project that will culminate in an honors thesis. The project gives qualified students the opportunity to work closely with an individual professor on a supervised research and writing project. The Honors Program is a rewarding experience for students interested in particular historical documents and in work that is more intensive than regular courses.


Students must be a current History major and have a 3.5 departmental grade-point average.

Application Process

Students must register their intention to undertake a thesis with the Undergraduate Vice Chair before the end of the quarter prior to taking their first honors course (History 198A). The student must register his/her intention to undertake an honors thesis by submitting the following materials:

  • The application (see link below), with a 2-paragraph description of the thesis project; signature approval from the faculty member who has agreed to act as the student’s advisor; and signature approval from the Undergraduate Affairs Vice Chair.
  • A completed Petition to Enroll (in 198) form, available on the MyUCLA website.

Completed materials must be submitted to the Undergraduate Counseling Office by the end of the 2nd week of the quarter.  Once approved, the student will be enrolled in the appropriate course.  

The faculty advisor will be responsible for guiding the student’s thesis work through to its completion.  The thesis will be completed in three quarters, on the basis of work carried out in the History 198A, 198B, and 198C series.

The student enrolls in the first course the Spring Quarter of their junior year and completes the project the Winter Quarter of their senior year.

Students must complete the thesis in this format; those unable to do so are ineligible to participate in the honors thesis program.

A student writing the honors thesis must enroll in each part of the three-part series no later than Friday of the second week of each quarter.



The honors thesis should be based primarily on primary source materials, and should be of substantial length (40 to 60 pages).  However, because technical matters such as length and format will differ with the subject matter and field, students should discuss these details with their individual sponsoring faculty advisor. As a general guideline, however, the program is intended to stress quality rather than quantity.


Grades are issued for History 198A by the sponsoring faculty.  Students can get more information from History 198B an “IP” (in-progress) grade will be assigned to all students. Credit for 198B will be received only upon completion of 198C. If a student decides not to continue with the honors thesis program after having taken 198B, s/he will not receive unit or grade credit for that History 198B.  The grade for History 198C will be assigned by the honors thesis sponsoring faculty.

Students should see the undergraduate counselor for more details on the grading and credit process.

Honor Status

Honors students receive one of three types of Honors notations:  Highest Departmental Honors, Departmental Honors, and No Honors. Determination of the level of honors status granted will be made by the Undergraduate Affairs Vice Chair, acting in conjunction with the sponsoring professor.  The type of honors status to be awarded will be noted on the student’s official transcript and diploma.  If a “No Honors” status is given, there will not be any such designation on the transcript or diploma.

Honors Prize

At the end of the academic year, the department awards a cash-prize to the outstanding honors thesis – the Carey McWilliams Award. Students are advised to see the Undergraduate Advising Office at the beginning of the Spring Quarter for additional information. The Award winner(s) will be announced at the departmental reception on Commencement Day

History Honors Program Application