An honors thesis in History aims to address a new research question or reinterpret a moment in history through an analysis of primary sources.

History Honors students question accepted versions of a story and expand our understandings of the past, present, and future. They begin their research work as early as Spring Quarter of their junior year and complete their honors thesis by mid-May of their senior year. To enter the Honors Program in History,  students must be accepted by a History department faculty member ,who agrees to advise the research and writing of the essay, and must complete the Junior Honors Colloquium (299H) offered in Winter Quarter. Outstanding honors theses are considered for the University's Robert M. Golden Medal as well as for the department's James Birdsall Weter Prize.


In addition to HISTORY 299H Junior Honors Colloquium, students must enroll in 11-15 units of Senior Research in the senior year. Senior Research units HISTORY 299A Senior Research I, HISTORY 299B Senior Research II, and HISTORY 299C Senior Research III are taken in addition to the 13 required courses in History. Students completing their  thesis with a grade of B+ or higher are eligible for Departmental Honors in History.

Recent Honors Theses in History

Several honors theses written in 2020, 2021, and 2022 are viewable in the Stanford Digital Repository

Other topics have included

  • Voluntary Nazification: Nationalist Fervor Among the Danish-German Borderland's Ethnic Germans
  • Stanford, Rockefeller, and Carnegie: Redefining the Classical University in the Gilded Age
  • "Semi-Oriental": Japan and Orientalism in the Age of Perry
  • Anatomy of a Conspiracy: The History of the Cigarette Industry's "Committee of Counsel" and the Lawyers Who Saved Big Tobacco
  • Hidden Narratives: Inventing Universal History in Joseph Priestley's Charts of History and Biography
  • Separate Worlds?  Israel-Palestine and the Apartheid Analogy Discourse, 1948-2015
  • The Swiss Government and Holocaust-Era Dormant Accounts
  • "All the World in my Hut": Colonial Broadcasting, Idealogies of Rule, and the Making of a Listening Public in Northern Rhodesia, 1953-1963
  • "The Canary Looks at the Crow": Hikida Yasuichi and Japanese Interest in Afro-America during the Second World War
  • The Act of Union 1707: Economic, Political, and Religious Influences
  • Democratizing Jihad: The Global Diffusion of Al Qaeda's Authority
  • The Ant and the Watermelon: Paul Baran and the Politics of Information Technology, 1960-1979

Bing Honors College

Bing Honors College (BHC) is a two-week program in early September for students actively engaged in researching and drafting their honors theses. The History Department participates regularly in the BHC with a course that prepares interested students for writing a thesis in History.

Young-Park Honors Mentorship Program

The Young-Park Honors Thesis Mentorship Program brings together History Honors students with History Graduate Students to the thesis writers an additional layer of support and a realistic lens into graduate life and research. Honors students take responsibility for setting the agenda in terms of what they want from their mentor, be it writing, research, or emotional support and in terms of degree of structure. The project does not create a third reader in the thesis process. Instead, it provides further scaffolding for successful thesis writing, diversifies professionalization opportunities for graduate students, and fosters greater connection between undergraduate and graduate communities within the department. The relationship between graduate student mentors and undergraduate thesis writers is non-hierarchical and highly collaborative. Participation in the mentorship project is optional and is highly recommended to all thesis writers in the major. 2022-23 Contact: jdepew [at] stanford.edu (Jennifer Depew)

How to Apply

To enter the Honors Program in History,  students must be accepted by a History department faculty member who agrees to advise the research and writing of the essay, and must complete the Junior Honors Colloquium (299H) offered in Winter Quarter. 

An exception may be made for those studying overseas Winter Quarter of the junior year, but such students should consult with the director of the honors program, if possible, prior to going overseas. Students who study abroad for the entire junior year and want to write an honors thesis should plan to take the Research Seminar for Majors in the first quarter following completion of the study abroad program. In considering an applicant for such a project, the advisor and Director of the Honors Program take into account general preparation in the field of the project and expect a GPA of at least 3.5 in the student's previous work in History and a 3.3 in overall University work.

To enter the Honors program, apply at the Department of History office and see the Forms tab for the appropriate application.