Rutgers History Honors

Love history?
Want to research a topic you feel passionate about?
Want to develop first-rate research & writing skills?
Interested in applying to graduate school or explore related professional paths?


Honors takes you much deeper than any single history class
Choose a topic and work closely with a faculty adviser of your choice 
Do primary research, locally, nationally or overseas 
Learn the craft of research and become a great writer 
Delve deep into the archives of your choice 


When should I start planning to do Honors and what is the timetable for completing an honors project?

The best time to start planning is either in your Sophomore or Junior year: talk to History about your options today!

There are 3 different timetables for completing an honors thesis

1: start in spring of your junior year, conduct research over the summer, write your thesis in fall of your senior year and defend in your final (spring) semester

2: the study abroad option: take the first part of your honors thesis before doing a semester abroad, when you research your topic in foreign archives, before returning to Rutgers to complete the seminar and write up your thesis

3. fast-track: take the two-semester honors sequence in consecutive semesters during your senior year (note that this timetable requires students to have some preparation in place before starting the sequence in order to complete effectively)

Discuss these options today with the History Undergraduate Program Director Professor Delbourgo, who will help you plan your honors timetable


The first thing you will need is to establish a working relationship with a history professor. After they agree to supervise you, you will work on a given topic which you will define and refine together.

Honors is the ideal way for students to prepare and position themselves for a successful application to graduate school. 

But whatever your next step after Rutgers, being an honors student marks you out as an individual of outstanding talent, dedication and commitment, no matter your chosen path



Please email Professor James Delbourgo to discuss your options: 

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Students aiming to start in Fall 2024 must email a completed application by Friday, April 19, 2024 to the History Department Undergraduate Advisor Kenny Linden - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 


Acceptance to Honors is subject to the approval of the History Undergraduate Vice-Chair, 

  •      Participants must be declared History majors or minors
  •      They must have a minimum 3.2 GPA overall 
  •      They must have a minimum of 3.5 in their History Courses 
  •      They must have a supervising professor with whom to work 
  •      Download application - DUE FRIDAY, APRIL 19, 2024.


* Please note that this two-semester program counts only once towards your upper-level courses within your History major.


PLEASE NOTE: The History Honors Program is a distinctive program hosted by the Rutgers History Department, unrelated to the Honors College or other Honors Programs at the University. 

Coursework: Once admitted Honors students must enroll in the two-semester Honors Program in History course 506:495 and 506:496. Students who aspire to write a major research paper of approximately 100 pages may register for up to 6 credits for the Honors Program course each semester, 3 of which can be counted towards the major requirements. Students who aspire to write a thesis of around 50 pages may register for 3 credits each semester for the Honors Program course, which can be counted towards the major requirements.

506:495 will guide students through the stages of finding a thesis topic, seeking out secondary and primary sources, and developing a research strategy. In consultation with their thesis supervisors, students will apply these lessons to their own research topics.

In 506:496, students will focus on their writing. Here they will produce the first drafts of their manuscripts, obtain feedback on drafts from peers and supervisors, and find a second reader to serve as additional thesis examiner. The most important work of the semester will be the revision in light of that feedback. The grade for these courses will be determined in light of the student's paper and his or her participation in the honors seminar.

Oral Examination: Each thesis will be read and evaluated by the supervising professor and by a second reader. Each student will be examined orally by the two professors on the argument of the thesis, the kinds of sources used and the implications of the research.

Honors Conference (April each year): Each student will make a public presentation of their thesis at the annual Honors Conference, to be held in the Spring semester after the thesis has been submitted and the oral examination completed. Winners of Honors awards will be presented with their prizes at this event, including the Harold Poor Memorial Prize, the Ceil Parker Lawson Memorial Prize, the Margaret Atwood Judson Prize and the James Reed Award.

Honors Recommendations: An Honors Committee, chaired by the Vice Chair for Undergraduate Education, will make the final determination of the level of honors (honors, high honors, highest honors) to be awarded based upon the recommendations of the examining professors and upon the thesis itself. Only history majors will receive the designation of honors in history on their transcripts.

For a look at a finished thesis, please read: "Raiders of the Lost Past: Nineteenth-Century Archaeology and French Imperialism in the Near East 1798-1914," by Andrew H. Bellisari, RC 2010.