The prerequisite for this course is a passing grade in HIST 301: Introduction to the Study of History. HIST 498/HIST 496H is required for graduation with a History major.
How to sign up for HIST 498/HIST 496H
Choose a topic that interests you from the list of capstone courses offered each semester. Several sections of HIST 498 are offered each semester, each with a different topic. Honors students may elect to take HIST 496H instead when it is offered, but are not required to take the honors section to fulfill the major requirement.
We recommend that you contact HIST 498 instructors to find out more about the subject matter of the seminar and the instructor’s expectations. Some instructors will be more flexible about choice of research topic; others will have specific topics for the seminar and sources to begin working with.
To register for a capstone course, email the instructor for permission. The instructor can then give permission by email to the academic advisor, who will enroll you in the course.
The culmination of the history major, HIST 498/HIST 496H allows students to pursue in depth the research interests and skills they have developed in other history classes. Usually taken in the last year of college, this research seminar for majors teaches students to organize, research and write a substantial paper (at least 20 pages or 6,000 words) or, occasionally, its equivalent in a different form. This project should base its argument substantially on a critical evaluation of primary sources (in the original languages when possible, or in translation). It should also actively engage secondary scholarship, contextualizing its argument in relation to important scholarship in the field, noting where scholars disagree. Ideally, the final seminar paper will add something new to these debates.
Although the research paper is the final product, students will work toward this through a series of structured, graded stages -- research proposal and bibliography, historiographic essay, rough drafts, class presentation and final draft – each of which may involve giving and receiving peer commentary.