Undergraduate History Capstone:
HIST 4990 Senior Thesis for History B.A. Majors
Overview of HIST 4990
The History Department's "capstone" experience is a Senior Thesis, required of all History majors, and done under the close supervision in a regular class (History 4990) of one of our regular faculty members or Instructors. In the Senior Thesis class, you will prepare a full-length (usually 25-30 pages) essay on a selected topic in history, relying heavily on original or primary sources. You will pick your topic in consultation with your professor, and work on that topic through the course of the semester. Each senior thesis will go through a rough draft and revision process, involving critical peer reviews in class, and rewriting/revision according to feedback given. History 4990 also fulfills the "Capstone" requirement of the UCCS General Education program.
Each semester, two or three faculty members lead different Senior Thesis sections. Each section focuses on a particular time period and region (such as U.S. History, East Asian History, Modern European History, and so on), depending on the particular specialty of the faculty member.
For a full schedule for all the Senior Thesis sections offered from Fall 2014 through Spring 2017, click here or just scroll to the bottom of this page. You will pick your topic in direct consultation with the individual faculty member leading your Senior Thesis section, and your topic must fit within the parameters of the historical subject of your individual section.
9 hours of upper-division History courses as a UCCS student are a pre-requisite to enrolling in Hist4990.
Researching and Writing Your Senior Thesis
Research: History 4990 Senior Thesis demands extensive use of primary (first-hand) sources on a topic, and the close reading and intensive analysis of those sources, together with the crafting of a logical, coherent historical narrative based on those sources. Faculty members will work with each student individually to help them compile an appropriate bibliography of sources, and to learn how to mine those sources appropriately to support the presentation of an historical argument.
Writing: Much of historical thought and learning is a dialogue between yourself and the text, you and your fellow students, and between you and the instructor; therefore, each student will work as a writing partner for a fellow student. You will be reading, editing, and commenting on rough drafts of one of your colleagues. You will be responsible for commenting on various aspects of those drafts, including the use of primary sources to make an argument, clarity of the argument, relevance of the argument for its historiographical context, organization of the argument throughout the paper and stylistic as well as grammatical elements.
Many professors also make extensive use of the resources of the Writing Center, and students are encouraged to publish their completed work at the UCCS Undergraduate Research Journal. For some sample of recent excellent senior theses done in the History Department, check the Volume 2 of the 2009 Undergraduate Research Journal of UCCS, which published 8 of the theses completed that semester! (http://ojs.uccs.edu/index.php/urj/issue/view/4).
Rough and Final Drafts: In each individual Senior Thesis section, you will be required to prepare at least one full rough draft (and some professors require two different rough drafts), and one final draft at the end of the semester. Each final draft will be assessed according to the criteria of core competencies expected of all History students.
Sample Syllabus for a Senior Thesis Seminar
Senior Thesis Schedule through 2017
Paul Harvey (American history)
Carole Woodall (Middle Eastern History)
Bernice Forrest (U.S.)
Leah Davis-Witherow (U.S)
Barbara Headle (U.S.)
Yang Wei (East Asia)
Christina Jiménez (Latin American, Latino)_
Roger Martinez (Medieval/Early Modern Europe)
Brian Duvick (Ancient)
Robert Sackett (Modern Europe)
Christopher Hill (South Asia, Environmental, American West)
Janet Myers (Medieval/Early Modern Europe)