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EIU Department of History

History Departmental Honors Program

“Departmental honors is so much more than a research project. It is a formative experience you can’t get anywhere else in your undergraduate career.”

Megan Kessler, Alumni and Ph.D. Student, Penn State University

Are you interested in doing exciting independent research? Do you want to prepare for graduate school? Looking for a change from classroom courses? Consider joining the History Departmental Honors Program. If you have a 3.5 GPA, you qualify for the History Departmental Honors Program. The advanced training of Departmental Honors prepares students for graduate school, gives students the opportunity to produce a significant piece of original scholarship, and allows students to pursue specialized interests. Departmental Honors students have won national writing awards for their projects, had their theses printed in Historia, been admitted to prestigious doctoral programs in history and schools of law, presented work at the National Council on Undergraduate Research, and won research support grants of as much as $3000 for summer travel to archives.

What is Departmental Honors?

The departmental honors program is open to history majors with a cumulative and major GPA that meets or exceeds 3.5 after 12 hours of history including HIS 2500 or its equivalent. Transfer students who have not completed 12 hours at EIU may obtain probationary admittance with the recommendation of the Departmental Honors Coordinator.

Students traditionally begin honors during their sophomore or junior years (though an accelerated path can be available). Over the course of three or four semesters, a student enrolls in an independent study to examine scholarship closely aligned with the student’s historical interest. This independent course lays the foundation for the next step: developing and researching a paper under close mentorship by a faculty member. Honors students also participate in one of our MA seminar courses. 

How do I apply to Departmental Honors?

Make an appointment to speak with the Departmental Honors Coordinator, Dr. Bonnie Laughlin-Schultz (, who will help you fill out an application form to submit to the Honors College.

What are the requirements to graduate with departmental honors in History?

The following twelve hours are required to earn the Departmental Honors designation. In most cases the credits may be applied in fulfillment of history electives.

HIS 44441 Honors Independent Study: Students usually work on developing a thesis proposal during this course. They also read and develop a review on the scholarly literature related to their thesis project and produce a prospectus over assembled readings in your chosen area. Credits: 3
HIS 45551 Honors Research: Working with a faculty member, students research their chosen topic, conducting an analysis, and applying an appropriate research methodology. Credits: 3
HIS 46441 Honors Thesis: Here students undertake completion of an honors thesis, about 40-60 pages original research. The thesis usually contains several chapters, some of which may have been produced in previous honors courses. Credits: 3
HIS 5000+: Students participate in a graduate seminar of their choosing with departmental approval. Credits: 3

Related Pages

Contact Information

History Department

2744 Coleman Hall
Eastern Illinois University
600 Lincoln Ave.
Charleston, IL 61920

Sace E Elder, Interim Chair

2542 Coleman Hall

Dr. Bonnie Laughlin-Schultz, Social Science Teaching Program Coordinator

2556 - Coleman Hall

Brian Mann, Undergraduate Advisor

3721 - Coleman Hall

Lee Patterson, Graduate Coordinator

2572 - Coleman Hall

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