Honors Program

In the fall, there will be a meeting for all thesis writers to discuss the process of thesis writing and to answer any questions you may have.  In the fall, we schedule the fall honors thesis colloquia.  Thesis writers should be prepared to bring the current working title of the thesis to that meeting. It will be used for the colloquium sign-up sheet. Of course, we appreciate that these titles can change as the project grows and evolves.

Senior Honors Thesis:  To write an Honors thesis (typically at least 80 pages long) a student finds a thesis supervisor (preferably in the spring of his or her junior year), enrolls in the senior thesis tutorial (HIST 409) during Drop/Add in the fall of the senior year, and enrolls in the senior thesis tutorial (HIST 410) during Drop/Add for the spring semester. The completed thesis must be uploaded to the Honors System in WesPortal by 4:00 p.m. on Wednesday, April 19, 2023. Applicants will be notified of the Department decision by early May. The writers of successful theses not only satisfy the research requirement and receive two tutorial credits, but also graduate with Honors in History.  Majors who are writing theses are expected to make a presentation about their research to the department's Honors Colloquium, which meets each week in the fall semester.  Please refer to the Honors Program at Wesleyan at http://www.wesleyan.edu/registrar/honors for helpful honors information. 

For Juniors, the Junior History Majors Research Requirement Planning Form should be completed and submitted by Monday, April 25, 2022.  (NB: History thesis writers are normally eligible for Davenport Study Grants that provide research support during the preceding summer; this can give the work an advantageous head start.)  Especially useful are the Jellybean Papers (so-called because they used to come in many colors), which will tell you how to register your thesis project with the Coordinator of the university-wide Honors Program at the beginning of your senior year.

Essays:  Only essays submitted by the first day of the exam period each semester will be considered for the distinction.  Essays of high quality, characterized by substantial primary research, original argument, and excellent prose, may be nominated by the advisor.

Phi Beta Kappa:  The oldest national scholastic honor society, Phi Beta Kappa at Wesleyan is limited to 12 percent of the graduating class each year. Election to the society is based on grades and fulfillment of the eligibility requirements described below.

Fall election is based on grades through the end of a student's junior year and fulfillment of the general education expectations (Stages 1 and 2). Normally, between 10 and 15 students are elected in the fall; transfer students are not eligible for consideration in the fall.

Spring election is based on grades through the end of a student's first semester of the senior year and fulfillment of the general education expectations (Stages 1 and 2). Transfer students are eligible for consideration in the spring. It is preferred that students complete their general education expectations in their first semester senior year. However, a rationale for second-semester completion is not required, provided that the secretary of the Gamma Chapter continuously monitors those students to guarantee completion of Stage 2 of the general education expectations.

In addition to fulfilling the general education expectations, students are expected to have a grade point average of 90 or above to be considered for election in the spring. The minimum grade point average for the fall election is 93. Students are nominated by their major departments.

University Honors:  Is the highest award Wesleyan bestows.  To be eligible, a student must fulfill General Education Expectations, earn High Honors on their thesis/project, be recommended for University Honors by their department, and qualify in an oral exam administered by the honors Committee.  For further information a good link to use is at University Honors at Wesleyan.

Prizes Awarded by the History Department

Butler Prize:  Is awarded for the best Honors thesis in African, Asian or Latin American History.
Dutcher Prize
:  Is awarded to the graduating senior with the best record within the major.
Meyer Prize
:  Is awarded for the best Honors thesis in American History.
Morgan Prize
:  To a senior major or majors in History who best demonstrated the integrity and commitment to the community that characterized David Morgan's thirty-seven years of service to his college, to his department and to the University.
Robins Prize
:  Is awarded for excellence in European History.
Taylor Scholarship:  Is awarded annually to a History major based on outstanding academic achievement and other qualities such as fine character, good fellowship, leadership, and service to the Wesleyan community.
White Fellowship
:  Is awarded to two of the department's outstanding juniors to support summer research on a senior thesis.

Prize Recipients


BUTLER PRIZE:  Charissa Lee

DAVENPORT GRANT (awarded by the Allbritton Center for the Study of Public Life):         

Arlo Weiner and Emilia Thornton

DUTCHER PRIZE:  Emily Park, Lily Spar, and Hallie Sternberg

MEYER PRIZE:  Lily Spar and Hallie Sternberg

MORGAN PRIZE:  Charissa Lee and Halle Newman

ROBINS PRIZE: Thomas Kelly


WHITE FELLOWSHIP:  Celia Penny and Alice Pereira

PHI BETA KAPPA: Halle Newman and Lily Spar