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2022-2023 Undergraduate Prizes

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Department of History Prizes

Colton Award For excellence in the preparation of a senior thesis in the Department of History.

Awardee: Katherine Enright for: “ FROM NATURAL HISTORY TO NATIONAL HERITAGE: The History and Politics of Displaying Colonial Natural History in Singapore Museums.”  

Cynthia Wight Rossano Prize in Harvard History For the best essay or multimedia presentation on any aspect of Harvard history.

Awardees: Ruby Huang for the History 97O (What is Military History?) paper: “‘For One Reason or Another Not Found a Place Here’: The Harvard Department of Military Science and Tactics, 1894-1900,” and to Henry Haimo for the History 97B (What is Intellectual History?) paper: “James Bryant Conant: The Democratic Educator Who Made Something Out of ‘Makeshift’”  

David Herbert Donald Prize For excellence in American history.

Awardee: Michael Wallace whose thesis title is: “ A NATIONAL PARK RENAISSANCE: ‘Mission 66’ and the Rise of Modern Environmentalism, 1956-1966.”  

Department of History Prize For the best total record as history concentrator by the end of the senior year.

Awardee: Uday Schultz whose thesis title is: “ Ironbound: Freight Transport, Industrial Change, and the Making of a Logistics Economy in Northern New Jersey.”  

Franklin and Eleanor Ford Prize Established in 2021 by Charles Maier, Leverett Saltonstall Professor of History, Emeritus , this prize is awarded for the best senior thesis in the Department of History on the history since 1500 of one or more of the countries, territories, or societies currently in the European Union.

Awardee: Tadhg Larabee for: “ Ireland Inside The ‘Civilizing Machine’: Technology, Political Economy, and the Rural Landscape, 1801-1845.”  

Lillian Bell Prize For student with the best paper on the Holocaust or other major 20 th -century event involving human tragedy.

Awardee: Shraddha Joshi for her audio story: “ To Witness, to Move On: Remembering Partition in our Present Reality.”   

Philip Washburn Prize For best thesis on historical subject.

Awardees: Alexander Lee for: “WE THE SOVIET PEOPLE: Civic Belonging, Sovetskii Narod Discourse, and Soviet Identity under the Conditions of Late Socialism,” and to Oliver Riskin-Kutz for: “THE BEAR IN THE BOAT: An Environmental History of 18th Century Louisiana.”  

Undergraduate Essay Prize For the best work of original historical scholarship produced before the senior year in a history department course.

Awardees: Tadhg Larabee for the History 12P (The History of Emotions) paper: “Putting the Arctic Back into Early-Nineteenth-Century Arctic Emotions,” and to Tamar Sarig for the History 14X (Conquering Pandemics: Medicine and the State in the Effort to Control Disease) paper: ‘“My dear family once more in good health’: Women, Domesticity, and Healthcare in Early America.”  

William Scott Ferguson Prize For best History 97 essay.

Awardees: Sophia Charles for the History 97M, (What is International History?) paper: “Russian, American, Somewhere-in-Between: Russian Émigré Voices in the American Cold War Conversation,” and to Enrique Sanchez for his History 97J, (What is Family History?) paper: ‘“Breeding from the Bottom’: Eugenics and the Early Birth Control Movement.”

University-Wide Prizes

Alwaleed Bin Talal Undergraduate Thesis Prize in Islamic Studies Awarded by the Alwaleed Islamic Studies Program for the best undergraduate thesis making original contributions to current scholarly discourse on Islam and Muslim societies, past and present.

Awardee: Waseem Nabulsi , class of 2023, a prize of $2,000 for his project entitled “Magic Mountain: Samaritan Astrological Intervention in Palestinian Misfortune”  

Bowdoin Prize for Undergraduate Essays in the English Language For the best essay of high literary merit written by an undergraduate student in any field of learning.

Robert Levin Prize in Musical Performance Awarded by the Office for the Arts to recognize an extraordinarily gifted undergraduate musician.

Awardee: Camden Michael Archambeau , class of 2023, a prize of $1,000  

Selma and Lewis H. Weinstein Prize in Jewish Studies Awarded by the Center for Jewish Studies for the best undergraduate essay in Jewish studies.

Awardee: Madison Stein , class of 2024, a first-place prize of $1,000 for her project entitled “A Distinct Diaspora: Examining the Development of Baghdadi Jewish Identity Across a Transnational Network”  

Seymour E. and Ruth B. Harris Prize for Honors Thesis in the Social Sciences For the best senior honors thesis in a social science other than economics.

Sophia Freund Prize Awarded annually to the students in the senior class of Harvard College who are graduating summa cum laude with the highest grade point average.

Awardee: Uday Schultz , class of 2023, a prize of $1,000  

Thomas Temple Hoopes Prize Winners

A.J. Dilts , class of 2023, for his project entitled "The Architecture of Advice: How the Bureau of Intelligence and Research Shaped President Kennedy's Policy in Vietnam, 1961-1963"— supervised and nominated by Professor Fredrik Logevall and Mr. Daniel Chardell

Katherine Michelle Enright , class of 2023, for her project entitled "From Natural History to National Heritage: The History and Politics of Displaying Colonial Natural History in Singapore Museums"—supervised and nominated by Professor Ajantha Subramanian and Professor Janet Browne

Tadhg Larabee , class of 2023, for his project entitled "Ireland Inside the 'Civilizing Machine': Technology, Political Economy, and the Rural Landscape, 1801-1845"—supervised and nominated by Professor Maya Jasanoff

Alexander Lee , class of 2023, for his project entitled "'We the Soviet People': Civic Belonging, Sovetskii Narod Discourse, and Soviet Identity under the Conditions of Late Socialism"— supervised and nominated by Professor Terry Martin

Waseem Nabulsi , class of 2023, for his project entitled "Magic Mountain: Samaritan Astrological Intervention in Palestinian Misfortune"—supervised and nominated by Professor Steven Caton

Oliver Leo Riskin-Kutz , class of 2023, for his project entitled "The Bear in the Boat: An Environmental History of 18th-Century Louisiana"—supervised and nominated by Professor Jill Lepore and Professor Emma Rothschild

Uday Rex Schultz , class of 2023, for his project entitled "Ironbound: Freight Transport, Industrial Change, and the Making of a Logistics Economy in Northern New Jersey"— supervised and nominated by Mr. Jacob Anbinder

Alexander Tam , class of 2023, for his project entitled "To Be A Citizen: Rights, Obligations, and Belonging at the Social Margins of the Confederacy"—supervised and nominated by Professor Drew Faust

Michael Wallace , class of 2023, for his project entitled "A National Park Renaissance: 'Mission 66' and the Rise of Modern Environmentalism, 1956-1966"—supervised and nominated by Mr. Camden Elliott

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  • Senior Thesis

All candidates for honors in History & Literature prepare a senior thesis of between 10,000 and 20,000 words focused on a topic of interest to the student. The senior thesis is a work of scholarship that makes an argument through analysis of relevant primary and secondary sources. 

The thesis in History and Literature may be primarily a work of historical research or primarily a work of criticism, but all History & Literature theses should draw on the interdisciplinary training students have received in tutorials. The more historical thesis should always be attentive to the textuality (e.g., representational and rhetorical strategies, structure, genre, language, etc.) of historical documents, and the more literary theses should be attentive to the historical contexts and situations of literary texts. Students may wish to build upon earlier concerns and work done in courses and tutorials, including the Junior Essay, or they may wish to embark on a new research project.

Students work closely with a senior thesis adviser during every stage of the process, while also receiving the support of the entire History & Literature community of students and instructors. At the end of the junior year, students submit tentative plans for the senior thesis that are used to assign tutors for the senior year. Working under the guidance of their tutor, in late September, seniors submit senior thesis proposals to the Tutorial Board for feedback and approval. In mid-November, seniors submit a draft chapter between 4,000 and 5,000 words (not including notes and bibliography) that is read by classmates and other tutors in peer writing workshops. Check the calendar on the HL99 Canvas page for the specific deadlines.

The completed thesis is due on March 1; in cases when March 1 falls on a weekend, the thesis will be due either the preceding Friday or following Monday.

The thesis due date is firm. There are no exceptions without a dean’s permission. Students submitting theses after the deadline will receive credit for HL99, but the thesis will not be sent out to readers for evaluation, and therefore the student will not be eligible for concentration honors. 

History & Literature students are encouraged to think creatively as they research and write their senior theses. Occasionally, students may wish to include primary source material they have produced themselves, such as an oral history, photography, or a documentary film. Students wishing to include such primary source material should discuss the possibility with their tutors, include a description of the primary source material and the conditions of its production in the senior thesis proposal, and, somewhere within the thesis, include a justification for its inclusion. Genres conventionally grouped under the rubric of “creative” writing—novels, plays, poetry—do not meet the requirements for the senior thesis in History & Literature unless the student is pursuing a Joint Concentration  in a field that provides artistic training. 

The thesis is graded by at least two outside readers who are members of the Committee on Degrees  or Tutorial Board . If a reader determines that a thesis represents honors-level work, they will assign one of the following Latin grades: cum laude minus, cum laude, cum laude plus, magna cum laude minus, magna cum laude, magna cum laude plus, summa cum laude minus, summa cum laude. In the event that a reader decides that a thesis does not merit an honors designation, they may assign it a grade of no honors. In general, senior theses will be sent out for third readings when the student is a joint concentrator; when there is more than a full grade level between thesis readings; when a student is summa-eligible and both of the first two readings are magna plus; or when one reading is no honors.

History & Literature sends to the University Archives all theses that receive at least two grades of (or above) magna minus or one grade of (or above) magna plus. Archived theses are catalogued in HOLLIS and can be read in the Archives' reading room in Pusey Library.  

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If you have questions about how to prepare and format your thesis, check out our quick summary of  Formatting Guidelines ! 

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See the range of student research projects in History & Literature by browsing  recent senior thesis titles:

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Review our list of  Thesis Prizes  to see the awards relevant to seniors in History & Literature.

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  • DASH , Digital Access to Scholarship at Harvard, is the university's central, open-access repository for the scholarly output of faculty and the broader research community at Harvard.  Most Ph.D. dissertations submitted from  March 2012 forward  are available online in DASH.
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Q. How do I find an undergraduate honors thesis?

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Answered By: Archives Reference Staff Last Updated: Aug 09, 2022     Views: 4406

The University Archives maintains comprehensive holdings of undergraduate honors theses. Please note that theses written through 2019 are only available in paper and those written from 2020 and later are only available in digital form.

Most theses held by the Archives are cataloged in HOLLIS .  

Searching for undergraduate theses

  • Select "Library Catalog" instead of "Catalog & Articles"
  • Search by author, title, keyword, name of academic department and/or date -- with the words: honors thesis
  • As examples, you can consider trying a key word search in combination with the following words --
  • honors thesis psychology
  • honors thesis "social studies" 2021
  • honors thesis economics 2021
  • honors thesis "james baldwin"
  • honors thesis conan o'brien

How to get access to recent digital theses?

For the 2020 and later academic years, honors theses held by the Archives are accessible from links in HOLLIS. Click "online access" to read the thesis. Access is currently restricted to Harvard affiliates and you will need to log in with your Harvard Key. Please note that the theses are fully readable but are not available for download.

How to request digital scans or reading room access to theses written through 2019?

You will need to create an online account in the HOLLIS Special Request system to submit requests for reading room use or digital copies. After you create an account, you may submit your request as either a Reading Room Request or a Copy Request.

As you complete the HOLLIS SPECIAL REQUEST online order form, please be sure to include the following information in the following fields to expedite the request.

  • Library: Harvard University Archives
  • Title: Enter the title of thesis
  • Author: Enter the name of the author
  • Call number: (for example:  HU 92.2010.50 or Accession 19419 or Accession 2016.437)

Please be sure to complete a separate request form for each unique title and call number.

Do note that the author’s written permission is required to copy theses and prize essays for the first five years after submission.

Imaging Services currently charges a flat rate of $135 to scan and deliver copies of Harvard theses, dissertations, and prize papers for reference use. If a digital version of the work already exists, Imaging Services only will charge a $30 fee to download a copy.

When you submit the online copy request, Imaging Services staff will reply with cost and delivery information.

Retrievals of prize essays from off-site storage can take up to three business days. For reading room or scan requests, you can check your HOLLIS Special Request account to monitor the status of your request.

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Writing a thesis, department schedule of thesis preparation .

The thesis writer and adviser should agree on a working schedule which will adequately conform to the calendar of thesis requirements established by the Senior Honors Adviser. Each of these written requirements should be submitted to the Tutorial Office for review by the Senior Honors Adviser. Paradigms for each of the written requirements are held on file in the Tutorial Office, for consultation.  An updated schedule of departmental dates and deadlines relative to the thesis will be available at the beginning of each Fall Term.  All writers of the senior thesis shall enroll in an HAA 99 for course (and requirement) credit - joint concentrators will enroll in the 99 course of their primary concentration.

Beginning in 2006-07, every concentrator writing a thesis will enroll in the senior thesis seminar in the fall of the senior year. Overseen by the Senior Honors Adviser, the senior thesis seminar will meet several times during the semester for a two-hour session devoted to facilitating the preparation and writing of a thesis. These sessions will cover such topics as compiling a bibliography, using archives, and constructing an effective argument. Late in the semester, each participant will deliver a twenty-minute presentation on his or her thesis topic, illustrated with slides or digitally projected images. All departmental faculty and students will be invited to these presentations. By the end of the semester, each participant in the seminar will submit a complete first draft of the thesis, complete with illustrations.

Application for Pulitzer and Abramson Travel Grants: Early March. See above under Prizes for details on grant and application.

Announcement of Pulitzer and Abramson Grant Awards Mid-March: By letter to the recipients.

Adviser's Review: Early March. Ideally, you should present the full, finished and finalized draft of your text to your adviser for a final review before formal submission to the Department.

Thesis Submission: Mid-March - a week before Spring Break. You must submit your thesis in the afternoon at a Thesis Reception. In exchange for your finely crafted magnum opus you will receive a glass of champagne and our heartiest congratulations. Please do attend this afternoon because a thesis submitted late is usually not accepted.

Reader's Response: after Early May. Senior Honors Theses are read and critiqued by Members of the Faculty and the Museum at the request of the Senior Honors Adviser. Readers' identities no longer remain anonymous.

Faculty Meeting on Honors: Early May. Department Faculty meet to vote on final honors recommendations, after which thesis writers will receive by letter from the Senior Honors Adviser notification of their thesis grade and recommendation for honors. Writers will also receive at this time the written responses of their readers. Students should speak with their Allston Burr Senior Tutor for anticipated final honors decision of the College.

Grading of the Senior Thesis

Theses are read and critiqued by faculty members applying a higher standard than expected for work written in courses or tutorials. Faculty do make use of the full range of grades, and students should consider that any honors grade is a distinction of merit. If you have any questions, please contact the Senior Honors Adviser, the Director of Undergraduate Studies, or the Undergraduate Coordinator at 495-2310.

SUMMA CUM LAUDE: A summa thesis is a work of "highest honor." It is a contribution to knowledge, though it need not be an important contribution. It reveals a promise of high intellectual attainments both in selection of problems and facts for consideration and in the manner in which conclusions are drawn from these facts. A summa thesis includes, potentially at least, the makings of a publishable article. The writer's use of sources and data is judicious. The thesis is well written and proofread. The arguments are concise and logically organized, and the allocation of space appropriate. A summa is not equivalent to just any A, but the sort given by instructors who reserve them for exceptional merit. A summa minus is a near miss at a summa and is also equivalent to an A of unusual quality.

MAGNA CUM LAUDE: A magna level thesis is a work worthy of "great honor." It clearly demonstrates the capacity for a high level of achievement, is carried through carefully, and represents substantial industry. A magna plus thesis achieves a similar level of quality to a summa in some respects, though it falls short in others; it is equivalent to the usual type of A. A magna thesis is equivalent to an A-. For a magna minus, the results achieved may not be quite a successful due to an unhappy choice of topic or approach; it is also equivalent to an A-.

CUM LAUDE: As is appropriate for a grade "with honors," a cum level thesis shows serious thought and effort in its general approach, if not in every detail. A cum plus is equivalent to a B+, a cum to a B, and a cum minus to a B-. The cum thesis does not merely represent the satisfactory completion of a task. It is, however, to be differentiated from the magna in the difficulty of the subject handled, the substantial nature of the project, and the success with which the subject is digested. Recall that, as students putting extraordinary effort into a thesis most frequently receive a magna, theses of a solid but not exceptional quality deserve a grade in the cum range. When expressed in numerical equivalents, the interval between a magna minus and a cum minus is double that between the other intervals on the grading scale.

NO DISTINCTION: Not all theses automatically deserve honors. Nevertheless, a grade of no distinction (C, D, or E) should be reserved only for those circumstances when the thesis is hastily constructed, a mere summary of existing material, or is poorly thought through. The high standards which are applied in critique of theses must clearly be violated for a thesis to merit a grade of no distinction.

Examples of Past Theses 

Senior Honors Theses which are written by students who graduate Summa or Magna are deposited in the University Archives in Pusey Library. Copies of theses which are awarded the Hoopes Prize are held in Lamont. Students are urged to consult past theses as much can be gained in exploring precedent or seeking inspiration.

Discontinuance of a Thesis 

The process of writing the thesis is a serious commitment of time and energy for both the writer and the adviser. In some cases, however, it might be agreed that the thesis should be discontinued at mid-year. The Senior Tutorial HAA 99 may be divided with credit through a procedure in which the student must submit a written paper presenting the project and research to that point.

Guidelines for Writers and Advisers of Senior Theses  

Senior Concentrators wishing to graduate with honors in the Department must write a senior thesis and carry academic standing of Group II or better, with a minimum GPA of 3.00 in concentration grades. In deciding whether one wishes to fulfill the honors requirements the student should consider his/her academic interests, commitment to independent research and other deadlines and obligations during the thesis year. Many students find the task of researching and writing a substantial piece of critical scholarship interesting and rewarding, but others find the senior thesis can become a frustrating and unwieldy burden. Some students prefer the freedom to savor extra-curricular pursuits during their last year at the College unhampered by the encroaching demands of thesis preparation. In general, it may be remarked that students are unlikely to do well in the honors program who are not already committed to this process of scholarship, and proven practiced writers; the senior thesis is not the place to acquire basic skills in writing and research. In considering the Department's honors requirements, it should be remembered that students with honors grades overall may graduate with University Honors (Cum Laude) even if they do not receive Honors in History of Art and Architecture.

Academic Requirements 

The writing and evaluation of the thesis is a year long process, during which the writer meets at scheduled intervals with his/her adviser, to formulate, develop, and ultimately refine their thesis work. The Department has also instituted a "thesis writing seminar" which writers will participate in through the fall term. The thesis is due just before spring break, and is then sent to its readers for their judgment and critique. The final thesis grade and recommendation for honors is determined at a faculty meeting in mid-May. Students working towards a March degree will follow a schedule to finish the thesis in early December.

The Department encourages seniors to think broadly and explore a problem of interest. The thesis topic does not necessarily have to be within the writer's declared major field, except when required for a joint concentration, in which case, the topic must address an issue shared by both concentrations. The thesis should demonstrate an ability to pose a meaningful question, present a well-reasoned and structured argument, and marshal appropriate evidence. The student should apply a clear methodology and be aware of the assumptions behind the argument, the possible deficiencies of the sources and data used, and the implications of the conclusions. The various parts of the thesis should cohere in an integrated argument; the thesis should not be a series of loosely connected short essays. A primary expectation of the thesis is that it is a work of independent scholarship, directed and crafted by the student, with the thesis adviser serving in a capacity of "indirect overseeing of the project".

There is no set pattern for an acceptable thesis. The writer should demonstrate familiarity with scholarly methods in the use of sources, but this should not be the sole criterion for evaluation. Of equal if not greater importance is the development of the central argument and the significance of the interpretation. A thesis may be research on a little-studied problem or a perceptive reassessment of a familiar question. A well-pondered and well-presented interpretive essay may be as good a thesis as a miniature dissertation.

Skill in exposition is a primary objective, and pristine editing is expected.  The department encourages writers to keep to a very short page count, so as to craft a clear, concise paper, and further edit it to an exemplary presentation. In general, a History of Art and Architecture thesis will have a text ranging from 40 to 80 pages, dependent upon the topic. Students are encouraged to explore the resources available to thesis writers at the Writing Center and the Bureau of Study Counsel.

The writer must indicate the source of material drawn from others' work, whether quoted or summarized. Violations of this rule are considered serious and should be brought to the attention of the Director of Undergraduate Studies immediately.

Senior Honors Adviser 

The process of taking honors and writing the thesis in this Department is overseen for all concentrators by the Senior Honors Adviser. The Senior Honors Adviser leads the Fall Term thesis-writing seminar, and directs the meetings for departmental approval once theses have been submitted.  The department Tutorial Office holds examples of the written requirements (Thesis proposal and prospectus) and of the Pulitzer, and Abramson Grant application which students might wish to consult as paradigms.

Thesis Adviser 

Students must seek a thesis adviser who is a full faculty member of the History of Art and Architecture Department or museum curator holding a teaching appointment in this department. The adviser ought to serve as a critic of your synthesized ideas and writings, rather than as a director of your work. The adviser should be chosen with consideration more to compatibility in overseeing the process of the work than to being an expert in the field. Prospective advisers should be approached as soon as you have identified a thesis topic. You should be prepared to show examples of your written work to your prospective adviser. Your verbal agreement with your adviser should be communicated promptly to the Senior Honors Adviser. If you have trouble identifying an appropriate adviser, please consult with the Senior Honors Adviser before the deadline for the Thesis Proposal.

Graduate students in the Department of History of Art and Architecture do not advise Senior Theses.

Thesis Readers 

As voted by majority consensus of department faculty, a new procedure for the reading and grading of senior theses will go into effect. Each thesis will have two readers chosen by the Department, ideally, but not exclusively,one from within the student's area of interest, and the thesis adviser. All readers will be asked to submit written comments and grades, which will be factored equally to produce the final grade of the thesis. Individual grades are not released and the readers no longer remain anonymous, and there exists a procedure by which a writer may request, via the Senior Adviser, to speak with a reader provided that reader is willing to discuss the work in further detail or expound on the written critique.

Grade Report and Honors Recommendation 

At the end of each term, Fall and Spring, the student's progress in the Senior Tutorial (HAA 99) will be graded SAT or UNSAT. At the end of the Department's Honors Review process the Senior Honors Adviser calculates a recommendation for Honors based on the factored grades of the thesis and the student's grades in concentration coursework. This recommendation is presented to the faculty at their meeting in May for review. A faculty vote is taken and this decision is passed as an honors recommendation to the Registrar of the College. The decision of Final Honors to be granted on the degree is made by the Registrar based on departmental recommendation and grades. Students should consult with their Allston Burr Senior Tutor to determine what final honors might be anticipated at Commencement.

The needs of the Department for fair deliberation dictate that there may be no report of decisions regarding the thesis until after the Faculty has considered and voted upon each recommendation for honors. After honors recommendations have been voted by the faculty, students will be notified of the department's recommendation to the College and will receive an ungraded copy of each evaluation of their thesis (the needs of the Department for fair deliberation dictates that there may be no report of decisions regarding the thesis until after the Departmental Honors Meeting). The comments in these evaluations should provide the student with a clear explanation of the strengths and weaknesses of the thesis, bearing in mind the difficulties of the field and the type of thesis submitted, and evaluating what was accomplished in terms of what was undertaken, given the student's limitation of time and experience.

Proposal for Senior Thesis Design Projects, Honors Consideration

The History of Art and Architecture concentration asks Harvard College students to select an Area of Emphasis for fulfillment of their degree - either Design Studies or History + Theory. The History + Theory Area of Emphasis has traditionally required the completion of a senior thesis paper and presentation as a product of two requirements in order for the student to be eligible for honors consideration: 1/ completion of course HAA 99a Senior Thesis Tutorial and 2/ discussion of a thesis topic to be studied in said course supported through advisement by History of Art and Architecture faculty over the fall and spring semesters of senior year.

The Design Studies Area of Emphasis orients students toward making-based design courses wherein students develop design experiments engaging disciplinary issues, often incorporative of both historical and contemporary architectural precedents. The primary courses currently offered that address thinking through making include: HAA 179x Tectonics Lab (fall), HAA 92r Design Speculations (fall), HAA 96a Transformations (spring), and HAA 96Bb Connections (spring). An increasing number of Harvard College students who have selected the Design Studies Area of Emphasis are interested in extending their architectural design focus to their conclusive senior year work via ‘creative thesis’ projects. These creative thesis projects would include a hybrid of written text and visual and physical design materials originally produced by the student.

This proposal outlines a draft course requirement guideline and set of final submission requirements for a senior thesis design project that aims to support the design and making-based methodologies as thesis research on a topic of interest while simultaneously paralleling the well-conceived course requirements of the traditional thesis paper and presentation within HAA. This proposal offers that through the requirements outlined here, this senior thesis design project could be eligible for honors consideration for any student pursuing this final thesis option.

Senior Thesis Design Project / Course Requirements for Honors Consideration

Senior Year – fall term

1/ HAA 92r Design Speculations Seminar – required (see fall 2019 HAA 92r syllabus for details)

  • course prerequisite: completion of either HAA 96a Transformations or HAA 96b Connections studios
  • this course requires students secure a pair of faculty advisor - one from Harvard History of Art and Architecture (HAA) faculty and one from the Harvard GSD to support their research work within the course; course faculty advisor(s) would serve as advising faculty for senior thesis design project
  • Megan Panzano, GSD Arch Studies Director, and Jennifer Roberts, HAA DUS, would both help make faculty advisor connections for students pursuing this path

2/ HAA 99a Senior Thesis Tutorial (fall) – strongly suggested to be taken in parallel with HAA 92r above

3/ Presentation of design work to History of Art and Architecture and select GSD faculty as part of HAA Thesis Colloquium (fall) – required

  • to be coordinated with senior thesis tutorial presentations usually made to faculty in December of senior year fall term

Senior Year – spring term

1/ Advisement meetings with individual faculty advisors to guide production of design work (architectural analytical drawings and/or physical models) and edits to digital presentation made in fall term to HAA

2/ Submission of final senior thesis design project digital presentation inclusive of photographs of physical models, high resolution originally-produced design drawings as a PDF and descriptive written text to accompany images in presentation*

Senior Thesis Design Project / Submission Requirements for Honors Consideration

Final Project Requirements: A single multi-page PDF file labeled with student’s full last name and first initial and should be submitted containing the following elements:*

  • Assemble a visual bibliography of references for your ongoing research project. The references included should be sorted into categories of your own authoring in relation to the research. Each reference should be appropriately cited using the Chicago Manual of Style for recording citations (refer to The Chicago Manual of Style ), and each reference should also include an affiliated image. This bibliography should include a brief annotation, which should comprise a description of the rationale/intention behind sorted categories of research references. This description should be approximately 200 words.
  • Discourse , the development of a proposition for the role and significance of architecture relative to the project topic of interest, and
  • Context , the relationship of the project topic of study to broader surroundings which include but are not limited to the discipline of architecture, cultural contexts, technical developments and/or typologies.
  • The manifesto should take into account the intended audience for the project and use language and modes of communication that reflect this audience in the written text.
  • A visual drawing or info-graphic that describes your process of design research on your topic. This will include the criteria for evaluating the project, the steps planned to be taken in examining the topic, and when/where along the process of working it may be necessary to stop and assess outputs and findings.
  • High resolution drawings, animations, and/or diagrams and photographs of physical models (if applicable) that have been produced through research. These should be assembled in single-page layouts of slides to follow preceding elements listed here.

 *submission deadlines would parallel HAA thesis paper draft and final submission schedule

Funding Resources

Student writing in Notebook

Research grants to support undergraduates as they complete senior theses are available from a number of Harvard institutes and centers. Below are some of the funding sources most relevant to senior-thesis writers in the Government Department. The list below is not comprehensive, and a more complete list of funding sources at Harvard is available from the Harvard College  Office of Undergraduate Research and Fellowships (URAF) .  Many grant applications are coordinated through the  CARAT portal , which also provides a helpful search tool to find relevant grants for undergraduate research projects.

General Funding Sources: 

  • The  Harvard College Research Program  (HCRP) provides funding in support of student-initiated, independent scholarly research or creative endeavors undertaken with guidance of a Harvard-affiliated faculty mentor. The HCRP funds many different types of undergraduate research, including quantitative, qualitative, and theory-focused Government theses. Some funding is available for term-time research, but most Government students apply to get funding for research over the summer before their senior year. More information is available from the  Office of Undergraduate Research and Fellowships (URAF) .
  • The  Saloma Fund for Undergraduate Research  provides funding to finance research that leads to a senior honors thesis in Government. Upon completion of the research project funded by the award, each recipient must provide a written report describing what research objectives were accomplished and identifying the salient findings. Interested students should contact the  Government Undergraduate Program Office  for more information.

​​​​​​ Region- or Topic-Specific Sources: 

  • The  Center For African Studies  offers  summer travel grants  to assist Harvard juniors with senior honors thesis research on Africa. Grants are also available for  research done over January term .  Contact the Center for African Studies  for more information and to discuss eligibility requirements.  
  • The  Harvard University Asia Center  provides grant support to undergraduates who travel for research projects in Asia. Funding is avaialble for both  summer  and  January term research .  Contact the Asia Center  for more information and to discuss eligibility requirements. 
  • The  Center for American Political Studies (CAPS)  at Harvard has  research grants  to fund rising seniors conducting summer and fall-term thesis research on any aspect of contemporary American politics. There are also smaller  seed grants  that can be particularly helpful for juniors at the beginning stages of their research. Grants are available for both qualitative and quantitative research projects. You may find it helpful to read about the work of  recent undergraduate grant winners . CAPS also maintains a library of senior theses written by previous CAPS grantees;  contact CAPS  for more information. 
  • The  Center for European Studies  (CES) offers summer research  travel grants for senior thesis writers  to explore topics on political, historical, economic, social, cultural, and intellectual trends in modern or contemporary Europe. CES also offers a  series of workshops  to help juniors prepare to research and write a thesis. 
  • The  Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies  offers  grants to support undergraduate research  during the summer in China or Taiwan. It also provides some funding for  Chinese language study and for activities during January term ;  contact the Fairbank Center  for more information. 
  • The  Korea Institute  gives awards to Harvard undergraduates in the humanities or social sciences to use in Korea for research and/or field work relating to a senior honors thesis in an area of Korean studies. Typically, the amount of the award is limited to the cost of travel in the research project. Undergraduate applicants must have at least two years of Korean language training or equivalent proficiency in the language. More information is available on the  Korea Institute’s webpage.  
  • The  Center for Middle Eastern Studies  (CMES) awards  a number of travel grants  annually to Morocco, Israel, and other Middle Eastern countries.  Summer travel and research grants  are available for juniors to aid in work on theses pertaining to the country to which they wish to travel.  Contact CMES  for more information.
  • The  Carol K. Pforzheimer Student Fellowships , administered by the  Schlesinger Library at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study , supports a wide range of undergraduate research proposals utilizing the special resources of the  Schlesinger Library  and the  Radcliffe College Archives . These fellowships are particularly suitable for students interested in gender issues and the history of women in America. Visit the  Schlesinger Library’s website for more information on applying  for these fellowships. 
  • The  Henry Rosovsky Undergraduate Summer Research Travel Grants , administered by the  Reischauer Institute of Japanese Studies , funds students in the humanities and social sciences for research and/or field work in Japan that relates directly to a senior honors thesis in an area of Japanese studies. Applicants must usually have completed at least two years of Japanese language study.  Visit the Reischauer Institute’s website for more information on applying  for these travel grants. 
  • The  David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies  (DRCLAS) offers summer research travel grants to students conducting research related to Latin America and the Caribbean.  Visit the DRCLAS website  for more information and instructions on applying. 
  • The  Goldman Undergraduate Research Travel Grants , administered by the  Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies , support undergraduates writing senior theses on a topic in Russian or Eurasian studies.  Visit the Davis Center website  for more information. 
  • The  Harvard Ukrainian Research Institute  (HURI) administers the  HURI Summer Research Travel Grant Program  to support undergraduate research in the Ukraine. Visit the  HURI website  for more information. 
  • The  Charles Warren Center for Studies in American History  offers  funding for summer thesis research  on any aspect of American history.  Visit the Warren Center’s website  for more information. 
  • ​​​​​ The Weatherhead Center for International Affairs  administers  multiple grants for undergraduate thesis research  on issues related to international relations and global governance.  Visit the WCFIA website  for a complete list of grants and application information. 

The history of Harvard

Explore our history through time or topic, native american history at harvard, women’s history at harvard, african american history at harvard.

  • 1600s: Our Early Origins
  • 1700s: Harvard and the American Revolution
  • 1800s: A Century of Growth
  • 1900s: A Century of Progress
  • 2000s: Rapid Evolution and Breakthrough Discovery

Frequently asked history

Harvard answers your most searched questions.

A building in Harvard Yard with columns and banners


On September 8, 1636, Harvard, the first college in the American colonies, was founded.

Despite popular opinion (and a certain statue ) John Harvard did not found Harvard, but he was the first major benefactor and he donated half of his estate and his library of more than 400 books to the School. Harvard University was officially founded by a vote by the Great and General Court of the Massachusetts Bay Colony.

While many think of Harvard Yard in Cambridge, Massachusetts as Harvard’s campus, the University also has robust campuses in the Longwood and Allston neighborhoods of Boston, Massachusetts.

Harvard College is just one of 14 Harvard Schools. The College is for undergraduate students and the 13 graduate and professional Schools teach the rest of our students.

Learn more about Harvard’s origins in the 1600s

An image of buildings making up Harvard College in 1767

Harvard and the legacy of slavery

On April 26, 2022, Harvard President Larry Bacow released the Report of the Committee on Harvard & the Legacy of Slavery, accepted the committee’s recommendations in full, and announced a historic commitment of $100 million to fund their implementation.

Explore the report and recommendations

The education of Native Americans is woven into the long history of Harvard University. The Charter of 1650, which continues to govern Harvard, pledges the University to “the education of English and Indian youth.”

From 1655 to 1698, the “Indian College” stood in Harvard Yard, on the site currently occupied by Matthews Hall.

It was not until 1970 that a program was established to specifically address Native American issues. In early 1970, the American Indian Program (AIP) emerged on campus.

Learn more about this history

harvard history undergraduate thesis

Acknowledgement of Land and People

harvard history undergraduate thesis

Caleb Cheeshahteaumuck

harvard history undergraduate thesis

Eli Langley

harvard history undergraduate thesis

Native American program turns 50

harvard history undergraduate thesis

Short biographies of five Indian College students from the 17th century

harvard history undergraduate thesis

Harvard’s first tenured professor of Native American history

harvard history undergraduate thesis

The Project on Indigenous Governance and Development

harvard history undergraduate thesis

Native American Heritage Month

A poster of a football with Harvard Yale written on it

Historical highlight

The first Harvard-Yale football game

Yale hosted the first Harvard-Yale football game in 1875, which Harvard won, to the delight of some 150 student boosters from Cambridge.

Learn more about Harvard in the 1800s

As staff members, then as students and faculty, the women of Harvard paved the way for the next generation, and continue to carve new paths today.

Explore our Women’s History Month celebration

harvard history undergraduate thesis

Alice Hamilton

harvard history undergraduate thesis

A complicated history

harvard history undergraduate thesis

Grace Hopper

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Barbara Deming

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Black Women Oral History Project

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Star analysts of Harvard

harvard history undergraduate thesis

The first women at Harvard Medical School


Walter Gropius comes to Harvard

Founder of the Bauhaus art movement, Walter Gropius, became head of architecture at Graduate School of Design in 1939, ensuring that the University would have its first modern building, as well as one of the most comprehensive Bauhaus collections in the world.

Learn more about Harvard in the 1900s

A complete look at Harvard’s Black history includes the dual legacies of  slavery  and discrimination along with pioneering moments of  inclusion, equity, and empowerment .

Learn about Harvard’s African and African American Program

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Richard T. Greener

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Alberta Virginia Scott

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W.E.B. Du Bois

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Eileen Jackson Southern

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Clement G. Morgan

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Deborah Washington Brown

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Robert Tanner Freeman

harvard history undergraduate thesis

Carter G. Woodson

History Thesis Topics: List of 69 Outstanding Ideas

harvard history undergraduate thesis

Unless you plan to go for a Ph.D. in history, a thesis will be the most significant academic writing of your life. It shows your in-depth knowledge of a subject, your ability to think logically, creatively, and originally. Besides, it’s a great way to demonstrate how good your writing is.

But finding an appropriate title for your thesis is a challenging task. You may feel unsure about any idea until you see the rest of them. So, what can help you?

A history thesis topics list, of course. In this article, you’ll consider a wide variety of ideas about historical events and figures. There are some tips on picking the right one for you. With a little explanation of the basics, you’ll differentiate the Bachelor’s thesis from the Master’s one in a second.

  • ☝️ How to Choose?
  • ⭐ Top-12 Thesis Ideas
  • 🚀 American History
  • ⚔️ European History
  • 🎨 Art History
  • 📚 MA Thesis Topics
  • 🦉 MPhil Thesis Ideas
  • 👨‍🏫 Thesis vs. Dissertation

☝ How to Choose a History Thesis Topic?

Before picking a topic about history, you have to understand what you’re looking for. Take into account that you’re going to spend plenty of time writing your thesis. So, you need to find an idea that engages you and is worthy of your time. Don’t go for a random history topic that you do not feel passionate about.

Searching for an idea, follow the tips below:

  • Find a topic that interests you . You’ll most probably write your thesis for a whole semester or even longer. That’s why you should determine something that doesn’t bore easily. At least those countless hours in the library will be spent with pleasure. The more the idea challenges and intrigues you, the less you’ll procrastinate and suffer from writing. No one can tell you what to write about. Your advisor can help you specify the topic, but it is up to you what to write about.
  • Look for a topic that creates a trajectory for further research . You may not pursue it later, but having an opportunity to do so is a significant advantage. If you decide to pursue a further degree, you will already be familiar with the topic well. Take a look at available works in a free essays database to get a clearer picture of what can be further explored.
  • Find a professor who will become your thesis advisor . Bring some thesis ideas up and see what your instructor suggests. It’s a good thing to have several research topics in mind—the instructor can help you determine the best one.
  • Think beyond the graduation date . Whether you are going to start a career or continue your studies, your thesis should help you in achieving your goals. What may your employer look for in your paper? What do you need to be successful in your job or further research? It’s good to approach the issue with some level of practicality. See if you can apply the skills and information you’ve acquired to your professional life.
  • Strive for originality but stay within your studies context . Try to make your title unique to grasp attention and intrigue from the get-go. At the same time, don’t fall outside the scope of your field. Before picking a topic, do some research to understand the field deeper. This way, you’ll see what exactly you would like to address.
  • Make sure your title fits the requirements . Open your university guidelines for the thesis work and find this out before anything else. Ask your thesis advisor as well to give you honest feedback.

You don't have to choose a thesis topic that reflects the latest craze in your field.

⭐ Top-12 History Thesis Ideas

  • Civil War — the role of women.
  • The Watergate Scandal.
  • Contemporary art history.
  • The Napoleonic Wars.
  • Causes of World War 2.
  • Impact of the Black Plague.
  • The Cuban Missile Crisis.
  • Japanese-American conflict.
  • The Vietnam anti-war protests.
  • Origins of the Great Famine in Ireland.
  • The French Revolution.
  • The rule of Elizabeth I.

📝 History Thesis Topics for Bachelor’s Degree

Usually, American Universities don’t require students to write a Senior Thesis. However, you still have an option to choose one. You can write a thesis as a part of your program completion. It will take a lot of time, energy, and effort. But, in the end, you will be able to produce a prime piece of academic writing.

Strive to write anywhere from 60 to 100 pages. You will also dedicate a lot of time writing and polishing it afterward. Make sure to leave enough time for that too.

What’s the first step?

Look for a thesis advisor you know you will enjoy working with. Consider all the professors you’ve interacted with at your university and pick several. Approach them and see if they are accepting new students for thesis supervision.

Make sure to choose a history thesis paper topic that your advisor knows a lot about. At some point, you will become very knowledgeable about the history thesis topic you chose. It will be crucial to have someone who can direct you.

There are several reasons why you should consider writing a thesis for a Bachelor’s Degree in history:

  • It provides you with essential experience in writing, researching, and brainstorming ideas. It can later help you in your academic or professional life.
  • You can deeply understand a subject that interests you.
  • You can improve your reading skills.
  • If you have to use foreign sources, you can also increase your foreign language skills.

Having a strong position on the history thesis topic is great.

Are you still wondering what historical thesis ideas are appropriate? Then, this list is perfect for you.

🚀 American History Thesis Topics

  • African American history in the United States : disfranchisement and segregation in 1890-1900
  • Early American History and the lost colony of Roanoke
  • The construction of race in American culture and history. It’s not a secret that race is a social construct. In American culture and history, it plays a critical role. In the thesis, you will have a chance to research the mechanisms through which the race was constructed. Movies, literary representations, articles, what else? It’s up to you to find out what can be relevant.
  • World War 2 through personal letters and diaries . This thesis can be personal and will not leave people indifferent. Examination of diaries, notes, and personal accounts can be fascinating. You won’t be bored doing historical research. Maybe you even have some in your own family? Worth checking it out.
  • Guilt over Slavery in the United States: a historical examination
  • Gender equality in American education . A comparative study of Germany, Russia, The United States
  • New York City and its historical geography. NYC is one of the captivating American cities. Writing a thesis about its historical geography is not an easy task. Gladly, you have tons of information available to you.

You can examine various documents for your history thesis topic.

  • Rocket Science as one of the most significant innovations of the 20th century
  • Examining the Role of Privilege within the Ivy League Universities
  • Role of American Public Health in a Post-9/11 World

⚔ European History Thesis Topics

  • Formation and development of the European Union during the 20th century
  • Feminist perspective on the representation of women in Roman Art
  • Religion and Nation in Europe in the 19th century
  • Construction of National Identity in Post-Soviet Latvia. What did contribute to developing a national identity of post-soviet Latvia? First of all, its independence and belonging to the European Union. In this thesis, talk about colonization and colonial identity. Consider the policies Latvian government implemented to build a Latvian character. What is it? What are the essential characteristics of it?
  • Composition and religious hierarchy in The Last Supper by Leonardo Da Vinci
  • Representation of Jews in Late Medieval Period in Europe
  • Problems of political leadership in Athens of 404-355 BCE
  • The French Renaissance Court and its structural hierarchy. This topic is interesting yet complex. Its complexity comes not from the name but the nature of the French Renaissance Court. You need to have a clear idea of how the royal court is built and is operating. Find relevant historians of that time, and, hopefully, you can speak some French.
  • Immigrational Politics of the United Kingdom. The problem of multiculturism at the beginning of 1960-1980.
  • Orientalism or the Middle East through the prism of Western scholars in the XIX century. In this thesis, start by exploring the notion of Orientalism. Edward Said will be a good point of departure and one of the most fundamental works to cite and read. You can agree with his argument or disagree with it. Nevertheless, find the relevant evidence for your point of view.

🎨 Art History Thesis Topics

  • Medicine in Ancient Rome with a focus on surgeries through paintings. This thesis topic is rich. Numerous Ancient Roman paintings depict surgeries and medical treatments. Find the most interesting ones and talk about innovations in medicine. What was the point of recording medical procedures in art? Truly a topic that can captivate anyone.
  • Vincent Van Gogh: A phycological analysis of the artist’s last years . In this thesis, examine his artworks together with the personal letters. Look at the words he used, as well as the images he painted. You need it to comprehend what was happening in Vincent’s life in his last years. Some art therapists claim that the artist had bipolar disorder. Examine those views. However, be careful not to give any medical diagnosis yourself.

Analyze how Vincent Van Gogh's life and mental health issues affected his art.

  • Plato on Punishment and Vice: the notion of punishment in The Republic. You cannot get a degree without reading the most fundamental text of the Western Academy, The Republic . In this thesis, you should simply focus on the ideas of punishment and vice. Plato wrote a lot regarding the morals and the laws. Try to discern what exactly he meant. Extract his views regarding capital punishment and punitive justice.
  • Modern Art in Europe, with a specific focus on Italy
  • Trade in Medieval Europe with a focus on Africa through art
  • The erotism of art of Ancient Rome
  • Synthesis of sculpture and paintings in Spanish art of the 17th century
  • Neoclassicism in French art of the 1900s-1910s
  • Surrealism in Art as the quintessence between realism and hyper-realism

📋 History Thesis Topics for Master’s Degree

In the United States, to enter a graduate degree in history, a bachelor’s degree is required. Most of the time, students will have to submit several recommendation letters. Plus, they need GRE scores and writing samples. Add to this several essays explaining the purpose of going to university again, and there you have it.

Bachelor’s thesis can serve as your writing sample.

It is common to have several completion requirements. They can include basic courses, language tests, and a master’s thesis at the end of the program. However, it depends on the department and the university.

Keep in mind that there are several credits that students should obtain to get a degree. It differs from university to university as well. In most of the programs throughout the United States, they are required to complete 30-32 credits to get an M.A. degree. This number usually corresponds to 8-9 classes.

If you are pursuing an M.A., you’re in luck. There is an excellent chance that you will be able to choose if you would like to write a thesis or not. If you are pursuing an M.Phil., then you will have to write your thesis because it’s a research degree.

No matter if you are pursuing an M.A. or an M.Phil., this historical thesis ideas can help you find a title:

📚 MA Thesis Topics in History

  • Apotheosis of the Philippine Historical Political Tradition
  • Kerala History: Syrian Christians in the region in the 18th century
  • History of Modern India with a focus on women’s rights
  • The history of theater in the American South and the main characteristics of the Southern Drama. This thesis includes a lot of aspects starting from playwriting in Charleston to drama in New Orleans. Then there are War Drama, Black Drama, etc. Try to find a good balance to fit all of the main characteristics of the Southern Drama and theater.
  • New Deal and its impacts on events leading to the Great Depression
  • Mistakes of the Soviet side in WW2. WWII was the deadliest military conflict of the 20th century. In this thesis, talk about the biggest mistakes the Red Army made during the war. Some of those can include signing to the Non-Aggression Pact with Hitler. Plus, there were anti-tank dogs and the Molovot-Ribbentrop Pact.

The initial period of World War II for the USSR was a real catastrophe for the Red Army's tanks.

  • Military strategies that allowed Napoleon to win crucial battles
  • Mussolini & Hitler : connection along with its consequences for Italy
  • Queen Victoria’s politics and the way it has changed British history
  • The Development of Strategic Bombing Doctrine Between the World Wars
  • Historical Creation of a Black Elite in the United States
  • Through Imperial Eyes: Race and British Reactions to the American Slavery Question
  • Gertrude Bell’s Influence in the Formation of Iraq. Gertrude Bell is a crucial figure in Islamic studies. She contributed a lot to the formation of Iraq. In this thesis, explore her unique contribution and approach to building a modern state of the country. She was highly trusted by British politicians and by Arab leaders.
  • Baptist church history as a way to escape slavery

🦉 MPhil Thesis Topics in History

  • Investigating the impact of WWI on trade blocks. A case study of the European Union
  • Women in WWII: sexual objectification of women through magazines and advertisement. Women played an integral part in WWII. In this thesis, explore the role of sexual imagery in the advertising industry during the war.
  • Sudan-American relationships in 1989-2000: US Foreign Policy and Genocide in Sudan
  • Criticism of the war on drugs during the Ronald Reagan administration
  • The political evolution of the Southern States during the Reconstruction Era
  • Everest Expeditions in British Popular Culture, 1920-1960. Explore how Everest Expeditions were depicted in British movies. Analyze the subject via comics, journals, and visual art in the first part of the 20th century.
  • Impact of Otto von Bismarck on German Liberalism

Otto von Bismarck was a prime minister of Prussia and founder of the German Empire.

  • Discrimination of German immigrants in the USA during WW2
  • The Fourth International and the Spanish Civil War
  • Political and economic aspects of the crisis in Venetian Diplomacy in the 1500s
  • The connection between institutionalized racism and police violence in the United States. There are several dimensions to racism. In this thesis, look for a connection between structural racism and police violence in the US. Compare the numbers, look at the stories. See if this data exposes any hidden bias.
  • An image of the Medieval Period in Post Modern Art
  • A comparative analysis of the Four Quran English Translation. In this thesis, discuss why and how the Quran can be translated. Also, you should look at the four translations. Try to determine which one is the closest. To do that, you need to have an advanced level of Arabic.
  • The psychological effect of war on American soldiers in Vietnam

👨‍🏫 Differences between a Thesis and Dissertation

Understanding the difference between a thesis and a dissertation is essential. Would you like to obtain a master’s and a doctoral degree? Then read attentively. In the United States, both thesis and dissertation are vital for this purpose.

The prominent differences that you have to realize are the following:

  • A dissertation is required to graduate with a doctoral degree. A thesis is a culmination of a master’s program.
  • A dissertation is written to add a new piece of knowledge to the field. A thesis is to show that you have enough knowledge about the field.
  • A dissertation usually takes several semesters, sometimes even years, to complete. A thesis does not require this amount of time. It can be finished within months.
  • A dissertation can be seen as an academic book. A master’s thesis is a long research paper.

A dissertation has to be defended, while the master's thesis doesn't require defense in most universities.

Let’s see the main characteristics of a bachelor’s thesis, a master’s thesis, an MPhil’s thesis, and a dissertation:

  • A Bachelor’s Thesis (honors thesis). It’s a research-based paper that allows undergraduate students to put their knowledge into practice. The paper is usually 40-60 pages long. It includes an introduction, main body, conclusion, and bibliography.
  • A Master’s Thesis. It’s a piece of original scholarly work. A mater’s thesis is written under the close supervision of an academic advisor. It attempts to bring some fresh look or a new perspective to a field of study. The length of a master’s thesis can vary. Usually, it doesn’t go beyond 100 pages.
  • An MPhil’s Thesis (Master of Philosophy). It’s a specific type of thesis. As it was stated earlier, most American Universities don’t grant this degree. A few schools give it under specific circumstances. Doctoral students should accomplish all the course work and pass their exams. Then, this degree can be granted to them. A more colloquial way to call this degree is “all but dissertation.” In other cases, this degree is granted to students who are doing their postgraduate research.
  • A Dissertation. It’s a major piece of academic writing. It’s independent, shows critical and thinking ability. A dissertation is meant to illustrate academic knowledge, originality of work, and research skills. The length usually stays within 200-300 pages.

Each thesis and dissertation has its distinct structure.

Any thesis or dissertation is a monumental work. Choose a topic that you are passionate about. Make sure it’s researchable and clear, but at the same time memorable. Spend time writing, proofreading, editing, and talking to your advisor about your ideas and academic goals.

Remember that it is okay to get frustrated and tired at times. If it happens to you, stop working for a bit and relax. Good luck and congratulations on your soon to be graduation! We hope this article was helpful. Share it with those who may need a history thesis topic or a piece of advice.

🔗 References

  • MPhil in History: University of Oxford
  • How to Pick a Masters Thesis Topic: Peter Campbell for Medium
  • How Do I Choose A Thesis Topic: Grad School Hub
  • Writing a Senior Thesis: Undergraduate Program, Department of History, Brandeis University
  • The Bachelor’s Thesis, Bachelor EE: University of Twente
  • Guidelines for the Preparation of Your Master’s Thesis: the Office of Graduate Studies and Research: University of Nebraska at Kearney
  • Guidelines for Writing a Master’s Thesis for MA Degree: Jeremy Bailey, Susan Scarrow, University of Houston
  • What is a dissertation? How it is different from an essay: The Royal Literary Fund
  • What is the Difference Between a Thesis and a Dissertation: The Best Master’s Degrees
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The Harvard Gazette

10 from harvard named rhodes scholars, andrea baccarelli named next dean of harvard t.h. chan school of public health.

Oxford University.

News & Announcements

Photo by Antonio Chiorazzi

Nine U.S. recipients, one international; areas of study include higher education, philosophy, neuroscience

Date November 12, 2023

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harvard history undergraduate thesis

Nine Harvard College students will study at the University of Oxford next year as recipients of the American Rhodes Scholarship. A 10th student will join them as a recipient of the International Rhodes prize

The scholars and their areas of study:

Aishani Aatresh , from Saratoga, California, worked with emergency response in the New York City health and hospital system during the pandemic and then studied the dynamics of COVID with the global Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations. She is a fellow at the Program on Science, Technology & Society at the Kennedy School. At Oxford, she plans to study nature, society, and environmental governance.

Suhaas Bhat will study mathematical modeling and scientific computing as well as international health and tropical medicine at Oxford. At Harvard, where he concentrated in social studies and physics, Bhat co-founded an organization that provides peer-facilitated group psychotherapy to students. The Marshfield, Massachusetts, native has worked as a machine learning researcher at Harvard and Duke.

Benjamin Chang , from Irvine, California, plans to study engineering sciences at Oxford to advance machine learning for synthetic biology. Chang studies chemical and physical biology and computer science at Harvard, where he also serves as co-president of OpenBio, a student-run laboratory focused on making biological research more accessible. He leads the Asian American Association on campus, and recently rowed across the Charles River in a giant pumpkin to raise money for OpenBio.

Isabella B. Cho is a senior studying English. She is from Wilmette, Illinois. A poet and Harvard Crimson journalist whose interests include campus free speech and the future of the humanities, she was a Presidential Scholar in the Arts as well as a finalist for a Mark of Excellence Award from the Society of Professional Journalists. At Oxford, Cho will study education with a focus on higher education.

Mira-Rose Kingsbury Lee will pursue interdisciplinary bioscience at Oxford. The Cambridge, Massachusetts, native studies human evolutionary biology and history at Harvard. Her senior thesis focuses on the effects of industrialization on the gut microbiome. She was awarded the 2023 Harvard-Magdalene fellowship at Cambridge University for research that formed the basis of a pop-science book aimed at engaging the public on climate change.

Xavier R. Morales, from San Juan, Puerto Rico, studies applied mathematics and economics with a secondary concentration in philosophy. He serves as president of Voters Choose, an electoral reform organization on campus. At Oxford, Morales will pursue a degree in philosophy.

Lyndsey R. Mugford is a human developmental and regenerative biology concentrator. Her thesis examines how somatosensory dysfunction affects neurodevelopment in autism. She plans to apply this research to her study of clinical neurosciences at Oxford. Mugford has volunteered at the Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program and performed in Harvard’s Hasty Pudding Theatricals, where she was elected as the first female cast vice president in the company’s 178-year history.

Asmer Asrar Safi , who is from Pakistan, studies social studies and ethnicity, migration and human rights at Harvard College. His senior thesis is focused on Maulana Abdul Rahim Popalzai, a Muslim cleric known for leading peasant and labor movements in the Frontier Province of British India. Safi co-founded the South Asians for Forward-Thinking Advocacy and Research Initiative, and is particularly interested in bringing conversations from Pakistan to the global stage. At Oxford, he will study progressive political messaging in South Asia.

Lucy Tu is a senior from Omaha, Nebraska, studying sociology and the history of science. She is a research fellow at Massachusetts General Hospital and the Kennedy School as well as the first undergraduate to be sponsored by the American Statistical Association for the AAAS Mass Media Fellowship. She plans to study socio-legal research and comparative social policy at Oxford.

Eleanor M. Wikstrom, from Oakland, California, studies social studies at the College. She spearheaded efforts to get Tagalog added as a course in the Harvard Asia Center, and her own research focuses on the 20th-century U.S. system of English-only education in the Philippines as an extension of colonialism. At Oxford, she will pursue studies in imperial and global history and in history.

Created in 1902 through the will of Cecil Rhodes, Rhodes Scholarships cover all expenses for two or three years of study at Oxford. The 32 students selected from the United States this year represent 20 colleges and include 20 women. Harvard’s American Rhodes Scholars now number 394.

This year’s honorees will begin their graduate studies in October as part of a group chosen from more than 70 countries. A full list of U.S. winners can be viewed on the  Rhodes Trust website .

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Clay N. Hixson Student Success Center

The Bulletin for Nov. 7, 2023

  • Published Monday Nov 6, 2023

Fast Track logo

Informational Session for College of Engineering

  • Interested in getting a Masters in possibly only one more year?
  • Interested in learning more about the Fast Track programs in the College of Engineering? 
  • Do you understand the process for applying to the Fast Track program?
  • Do you know how to get both undergraduate and graduate credits while an undergraduate student? 

There will be a Fast Track Informational Session for College of Engineering students Thursday, Nov. 9th at 11 a.m. in BRUN 228.

Whether you are currently not in the program, or newly accepted into the program, this is a good place to come get all your questions answered. 

Add it to your calendar!

Grand Challenge Scholars Program (GCSP) Presents Dr. Seymur Hasanov

Join Dr. Seymur Hasanov, Assistant Director of Undergraduate Studies, Harvard University, John A. Paulsen School of Engineering and Applied Sciences this Thursday, Nov. 9 from 5 to 6:30 p.m. in the iMakerSpace  as he presents Engineering at Harvard: A Glimpse into Student Life & Tips for Success. Lear more here. 

Brought to you by Grand Challenge Scholars Program at Tech.

FALL 2023 Graduates: Induction into the Profession Ceremony registration is NOW OPEN.

If you wish to accept this invitation, please come by Clement 201, no later than Dec. 5, 2023 , to select your ring size, specify how you wish your name to appear on the certificate, and pay the fee. Bring the exact amount or pay by check.

Registration closes Dec. 5th. Ceremony will be held Dec. 7 at 3:30 p.m. in Bell Hall Auditorium (Room 282). Order of the Engineer - $15 , Pledge of the Computing Professional - $10, Order of Engineering Technology - $10

  • Upcoming Events

TODAY - Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2023

Native american history month event: student presentations – reflections on community immersion.

› Location: Roaden University Center (RUC) Tech Pride Room

› Time: 11 a.m. – noon

Employer Spotlight: TN Army National Guard

› Location: Lobby - Roaden University Center

› Time: 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Purple Career Readiness Event: Success Factors on My New Job ( Juniors & Seniors)

› Location: Roaden University Center, Multipurpose Room

› Time: 11 – 11:45 a.m.

Michael Miner Thesis Defense

› Location: Brown Hall, 208

› Time: 3 – 4 p.m.

Wednesday, Nov. 8, 2023

Seds meeting.

› Location: iMakerSpace

› Time: 7 – 8 p.m.

Thursday, Nov. 9, 2023

Fast track information session, tn dept of environment and conservation (state parks division).

› Time: 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

GCSP Presents: Engineering at Harvard: A Glimpse into Student Life & Tips for Success

› Time: 5 – 6:30 p.m.

Native American History Month Event: Annual First Nations Circle of Music

› Location: Bryan Fine Arts Building (BFA) Wattenbarger Auditorium

› Time: 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.

Find more upcoming events & meetings College of Engineering Calendar of Events


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Start with  HOLLIS  (HarvardKey login required for some full text, including theses & dissertations)

  • Those presented for graduate degrees 
  • Bowdoin prize essays 
  • Undergraduate honors theses

How do you know if it's available online? 

  • “View Online” button links out to full text.
  • If there's no "View Online" button, the work probably has not been digitized.

What Harvard theses and dissertations can you expect to find online in full text? How do you get to them?

  • Follow the links in HOLLIS.
  • Not a Harvard affiliate? log in through the library of your academic institution OR
  • you can usually purchase directly from  ProQuest Dissertations and Theses Express.  
  • undergraduates are not required to submit theses or prizewinning papers to DASH
  • Harvard Extension School ALM theses 2012-2016 were not entered into DASH. 
  • Under certain circumstances dissertations may be embargoed by the author; DASH may be the only place this information is given.

If the work hasn't been digitized:

You can order PDFs or photocopies of most Harvard theses and dissertations (unless they're available through the Proquest database linked above) from 1873 through November 2011 (and ALM theses to 2016) 

  • See our Reproduction Requests page to register
  • When you submit the online order form, Imaging Services staff will reply with cost and delivery information.
  • Questions about the online ordering process or pricing? Contact Imaging Services staff directly for additional information at 617/495-3995  or [email protected] (M-F, 9-5 Eastern) ​

For Extension School ALM theses  check out our  Library Guide for Harvard Extension School theses page

Want to view a dissertation or thesis at the library? Check with the archival collection location listed in HOLLIS.

Wondering what dissertations and theses have been submitted in the recent past?  Use DASH .

For more on undergraduate theses and dissertations, see our " How can I locate a Harvard undergraduate thesis?" FAQ.

Looking for non-Harvard theses & dissertations? See our "How can I find theses and dissertations?"  FAQ.

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Harvard University Digital Accessibility Policy


  1. Harvard History Department Thesis

    harvard history undergraduate thesis

  2. How to use BBIH for your undergraduate History thesis

    harvard history undergraduate thesis

  3. History

    harvard history undergraduate thesis

  4. Masters Degree History Harvard

    harvard history undergraduate thesis

  5. Harvard History Department Thesis

    harvard history undergraduate thesis

  6. Phd Thesis Front Page

    harvard history undergraduate thesis


  1. Harvard student raps for senior thesis

  2. Writing Tip: A Strong Thesis (teaser) #goodwriting #writingtips #essaywriting #academicyoutube

  3. Harvard University #bestuniversities #engineeringcolleges #shorts #harvarduniversity #harvard

  4. [SOSS ECO] Best Undergraduate Thesis in Economics Showcase and Awarding Ceremony SY 2022-2023

  5. James Cornelison's Public Thesis Talk October 25th 11:00AM

  6. Harvard Last Day of Classes ☕️✏️📖 thesis exhibit, study with friends, late night work


  1. Senior Thesis & Undergraduate Research

    The senior thesis in History is a year-long project involving considerable primary- and secondary-source research and a good deal of writing; finished theses are expected to be between 60 and 130 pages in length, and to make an original contribution to historical knowledge.

  2. Harvard University Theses, Dissertations, and Prize Papers

    If you're a Harvard undergraduate writing your own thesis, it can be helpful to review recent prize-winning theses. The Harvard University Archives has made available for digital lending all of the Thomas Hoopes Prize winners from the 2019-2021 academic years. Contact Harvard University Archives

  3. Requirements

    Requirements All History concentrators are required to take 10 courses; students who wish to write a senior thesis must also enroll in History 99a & 99b, which brings their total requirements to 12 courses . See our courses section for profiles of all History courses. Coursework (10 courses)

  4. PDF A Guide to Writing a Senior Thesis in History & Literature

    Director of Studies to write a thesis that exceeds 20,000 words. Typical theses run somewhere in the range of 15,000-20,000 words. • All candidates for an honors degree in History & Literature must prepare a senior thesis. Students who do not complete a thesis are not eligible to graduate with honors in History & Literature.

  5. Senior Thesis Writing Guides

    The senior thesis is typically the most challenging writing project undertaken by undergraduate students. The writing guides below aim to introduce students both to the specific methods and conventions of writing original research in their area of concentration and to effective writing process. ADDITIONAL RESOURCES FOR SENIOR THESIS WRITERS

  6. Harvard University

    Alumni Voices (Undergraduate) The profiles on this page provide a sense of the myriad professional paths that our undergraduate alumni successfully pursue after leaving Harvard. The History Department at Harvard University offers programs of study for undergraduates pursuing their AB and graduates working towards their PhD.

  7. 2022-2023 Undergraduate Prizes

    Established in 2021 by Charles Maier, Leverett Saltonstall Professor of History, Emeritus, this prize is awarded for the best senior thesis in the Department of History on the history since 1500 of one or more of the countries, territories, or societies currently in the European Union.

  8. Senior Thesis Archive

    Senior Thesis Prize in Ethnicity, Migration, Rights. Joseph, Marissa, "Haitianas: Uncovering Migration, Memory, and (M)others in Cuba's Post-Revolutionary National Identity". Thomas Temple Hoopes Prize. Kahn, Alec, "The War on Rats: Rodent Control and the Ecology of Injustice in Harlem, 1945-1975".

  9. Senior Thesis

    Senior Thesis. All candidates for honors in History & Literature prepare a senior thesis of between 10,000 and 20,000 words focused on a topic of interest to the student. The senior thesis is a work of scholarship that makes an argument through analysis of relevant primary and secondary sources. The thesis in History and Literature may be ...

  10. How can I locate a Harvard undergraduate thesis?

    How can I locate a Harvard undergraduate thesis? Harvard University Library collects some, but not all, undergraduate theses. All of those that are retained by the library are listed in HOLLIS. What undergraduate theses are retained by the library, and where? Are they digitized?

  11. Undergraduate Program

    Undergraduate Program - Writing a Thesis Created by Marcus Mayo, last modified on Jul 05, 2023 Pursuing a Thesis Senior Concentrators wishing to graduate with honors in the Department must produce a senior thesis and carry academic standing of Group II or better, with a minimum GPA of 3.00 in concentration grades.

  12. Computer Science Library Research Guide

    How to search for Harvard dissertations. DASH, Digital Access to Scholarship at Harvard, is the university's central, open-access repository for the scholarly output of faculty and the broader research community at Harvard.Most Ph.D. dissertations submitted from March 2012 forward are available online in DASH.; Check HOLLIS, the Library Catalog, and refine your results by using the Advanced ...

  13. Q. How do I find an undergraduate honors thesis?

    Aug 09, 2022 4358 The University Archives maintains comprehensive holdings of undergraduate honors theses. Please note that theses written through 2019 are only available in paper and those written from 2020 and later are only available in digital form. Most theses held by the Archives are cataloged in HOLLIS. Searching for undergraduate theses

  14. Prizes for Harvard College Students

    Le Baron Russell Briggs Honors Thesis Prize in English *. Harvard Monthly Prize *. Winthrop Sargent Prize. George B. Sohier Prize *. Thomas Wood Award in Journalism *. Environmental Economics. Enel Endowment Prize for Best Undergraduate Paper or Senior Thesis. Environmental Science and Public Policy.

  15. PDF Senior Thesis Writers in History

    4 october 2010 *Historiographical Essay due to Undergraduate office, 5:00 PM (drafts available for pickup on Tuesday, 5 october at noon) ... Writing a senior thesis in the History Department of Harvard College is a specific kind of intellectual experience. As you consider different research options, remember that a senior thesis is neither a ...

  16. PDF Faculty of Arts and Sciences 2021-2022 Student Prize Recipients

    John Dunlop Undergraduate Thesis Prize in Business and Government … awarded by the Mossavar - Rahmani Center for Business and Government (M-RCBG) at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government for the ... essay or multimedia presentation on any aspect of Harvard history. • to Katherine Michelle Enright, class of 2023, a prize of $2,500 for her ...

  17. Writing a Thesis

    If you have any questions, please contact the Senior Honors Adviser, the Director of Undergraduate Studies, or the Undergraduate Coordinator at 495-2310. ... In general, a History of Art and Architecture thesis will have a text ranging from 40 to 80 pages, dependent upon the topic. Students are encouraged to explore the resources available to ...

  18. Honors & Theses

    Undergraduate Honors & Theses Honors & Theses The Honors Thesis: An opportunity to do innovative and in-depth research. An honors thesis gives students the opportunity to conduct in-depth research into the areas of government that inspire them the most.

  19. Funding Resources

    The Harvard Ukrainian Research Institute (HURI) administers the HURI Summer Research Travel Grant Program to support undergraduate research in the Ukraine. Visit the HURI website for more information. The Charles Warren Center for Studies in American History offers funding for summer thesis research on any aspect of American history.

  20. PDF Faculty of Arts and Sciences 2009-2010 Student Prize Recipients

    David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies Thesis Prize in History and Literature • to Peter Wilcox Tilton, class of 2010. Dean's Prize for Outstanding A.L.M. Thesis or Capstone Project • to Wendy Marie Brodeur ,A.L.M. '10, a prize of $1 000 • to Wendy Lynne Dodek ,A.L.M. '10, a prize of $1 000 • to Alexei A .

  21. Harvard HAA Undergraduate Student Program Handbook

    Requirements: 6 courses (24 credits) Other Information Advising Resources and Expectations Writing a Thesis General Concentration The History of Art and Architecture concentration offers training in the historical interpretation and critical analysis of the visual arts and architecture.

  22. The history of Harvard University

    The Charter of 1650, which continues to govern Harvard, pledges the University to "the education of English and Indian youth.". From 1655 to 1698, the "Indian College" stood in Harvard Yard, on the site currently occupied by Matthews Hall. It was not until 1970 that a program was established to specifically address Native American issues.

  23. History Thesis Topics: List of 69 Outstanding Ideas

    History Thesis Topics: List of 69 Outstanding Ideas. by IvyPanda Updated on: Nov 8th, 2023. 11 min. 18,867. Unless you plan to go for a Ph.D. in history, a thesis will be the most significant academic writing of your life. It shows your in-depth knowledge of a subject, your ability to think logically, creatively, and originally.

  24. 10 from Harvard named Rhodes Scholars Harvard Gazette

    The Cambridge, Massachusetts, native studies human evolutionary biology and history at Harvard. Her senior thesis focuses on the effects of industrialization on the gut microbiome. She was awarded the 2023 Harvard-Magdalene fellowship at Cambridge University for research that formed the basis of a pop-science book aimed at engaging the public ...

  25. PDF Topics in Transnational History: Gender and Sexuality Fall 2021

    Topics in Transnational History: Gender and Sexuality Fall 2021 Professor Timothy Stewart-Winter (pronouns he/him/his) ... (Harvard University Press, 2018) [ISBN 978-0674244832] • Aren Z. Aizura, Mobile Subjects: Transnational Imaginaries of Gender Reassignment (Duke ... try to identify the major argument or thesis of each chapter of every ...

  26. PDF Takeo Rivera, Ph.D.

    • Undergraduate Honors Thesis Reader o Priyanka Ray, Prosthetic Identities: Race, Disability, and Sexuality in American Literature and Media, 1950-2020. Boston University, defense May 2020. o Yadira Flores, Unburying the Memories: Processing Ethnic and Racial Trauma Through the Use of Postcolonial Ghosts. Boston University, defense April 2019.

  27. The Bulletin for Nov. 7, 2023

    Join Dr. Seymur Hasanov, Assistant Director of Undergraduate Studies, Harvard University, John A. Paulsen School of Engineering and Applied Sciences this ... Native American History Month Event: Student Presentations - Reflections on Community Immersion ... Michael Miner Thesis Defense › Location: Brown Hall, 208 › Time: 3 - 4 p.m ...

  28. How can I find a Harvard thesis or dissertation?

    Contact Imaging Services staff directly for additional information at 617/495-3995 or [email protected] (M-F, 9-5 Eastern) For Extension School ALM theses check out our Library Guide for Harvard Extension School theses page. Want to view a dissertation or thesis at the library? Check with the archival collection location listed in HOLLIS.