UCSB Hist 194HABC, 1998-99
Senior Honors Seminar
Mondays, 2-5pm
www.history.ucsb.edu/faculty/marcuse/classes/194h98syl.htm

Prof. Marcuse (homepage, Courses page)
HSSB 4221, 893-2635
marcuse@history.ucsb.edu
Office hours: xxx

Senior Honors Seminar
Course Syllabus

Description
Prerequisites
Books
Specifics
Weekly Schedule
Links

Description (back to top)

In this three-quarter (30-week) seminar students write a senior thesis on a research topic of substantial depth and complexity. In the fall quarter, honors candidates begin their research and develop a prospectus and working bibliography for their theses. Participants submit applications to the campuswide competition for undergraduate research funding. The remaining two terms of the seminar are devoted to independent research, conducted in consultation with the students' individual mentors, and to writing, under the guidance of the seminar director. The theses are usually 60-80 pages in length. A copy of the final thesis is archived in the departmental reading room, with an abstract published on the world wide web. Students who successfully complete this course are eligible for Graduation with Distinction in the History Major.

Note 2005: The honors seminar course has changed a fair amount since I last taught it. Starting in 2005-06 it will be offered as a formal course over the first 2 quarters (Fall and Winter) only. Each professor who teaches it does things somewhat differently, so you should consult with the current seminar director.


Prerequisites for Admission (back to top)

  • GPA in the major of 3.6;
  • Writing samples presented to the seminar director which demonstrate "honors quality" skills in composition (usually reviewed at end of previous year in June);
  • A professor-sponsor ("mentor") for the research project, usually a regular professor in the History Department who is familiar with your work and willing to work with you for three quarters; (see my letter to mentors)
  • Experience in writing a research paper (e.g. successful completion of a proseminar);
  • Prior or concurrent enrollment in Interdisciplinary Studies 1, "Library Skills" (1 unit), or equivalent familiarity with the use of on-line and CD-Rom library databases;
  • Computer competence, including: ability to save, copy, and delete text files,
    mastery of a word processing program with automated footnoting and pagination, and
    ability to send and receive e-mail messages.

Required Books (yes, you must purchase them) (back to top)Rampolla, pocket guide, 4th edition

  • Mary Lynn Rampolla, A Pocket Guide to Writing in History (Boston: Bedford, 1995). $3.95
    This booklet gives advice about how one can conceive, research, organize and write a history research paper. It includes examples of how to cite various primary and secondary sources.
    [4th edition 2004: $14.20. UCSB library: D13.R295 2004 (scan of TOC)]
  • Diana Hacker, A Pocket Style Manual (Boston: Bedford, 1997). $10.70 new; $8 used.
    Another booklet which, if read carefully, will save the seminar director a lot of ink.

Course Specifics (back to top)

Each student in the seminar will undertake a major research project, resulting in a paper of 60-70 pages. The research and writing will be under the primary direction of a mentor whose area of scholarly expertise correlates with the topic of the paper. Students who want to enroll in History 194H must first discuss their plans with a mentor and obtain her or his support.

The honors seminar director presides over the regular meetings of the seminar, reads and comments on the prospectus and successive drafts of the research papers, and supplements the advice of the mentor. The final grade awarded to each paper is determined in consultation between the seminar director and the mentor.

Outside funding is available through the Special Programs Office of the College of Letters and Science. Applications, including a proposed budget, are due early in the Fall quarter. Recipients of grants must keep records of their expenditures and will be asked to submit a report at the end of spring quarter.

Each student will have two peer reviewers in the seminar, who, in addition to the director and the mentor, will read and comment on her or his work. The quality of these reviewing efforts is calculated into each student's final grade in the course.
The seminar director will evaluate each student's work and give a provisional grade at the end of Fall and Winter quarters, based on the work during that quarter. These evaluations may affect the student's final grade. At the end of Spring quarter each student will present her or his paper both to the seminar, and at a departmental colloquium.

Seminar discussions are central to the program and attendance is, of course, mandatory. The high quality of most of the papers produced in the seminar is intimately linked to the intensive process of reading and re-reading, discussion and reflection, polishing and repolishing, under the guidance of other students and professors.

Seminar participants will read and comment on papers from a wide spectrum of periods and areas-possibly ancient, medieval, or modern; American or European; African or Asian. Of course none of us will be experts in all of those periods and areas, but an underlying assumption of this seminar is that, as humanist-historians, the participants will have wide-ranging interests and a willingness to delve into unfamiliar areas. Relatedly, each paper is to be written in such a way that intelligent, non-expert readers will be able to follow its arguments.

Students in the honors seminar must be responsible adults who will maintain an appropriate level of research and writing throughout the three quarters, meeting all deadlines without constant reminders and exceptions. Students who are unable to assume this responsibility will be asked to drop the course. Similarly, students who prefer to work alone, without constant interaction and critique from others, are advised to avoid this seminar.


SCHEDULE

Fall quarter (week by week) (top)

  1. Introductory meeting, getting acquainted
  2. [Oct] discussion of titles and preliminary bibliographies; library skills
  3. SPUR grant applications; discussion of research methods, annotated bibliographies
  4. (20 Oct.) First draft of prospectus due (6-10 pages; copies for all seminar members);
    includes title, abstract, description, outline, and bibliographies of primary and secondary sources.
  5. Discussion of final prospectuses and annotated bibliographies
    [SPUR proposals due]
  6. [Nov] 6. individual consultations; submission of an article relevant to your topic to the seminar director
  7. Research break, pick up articles from peers: outline them for next week
  8. Discussion of sample scholarly articles
  9. (24 Nov.) First installment (20pp.) due.
  10. [Dec] Discussion of first installments

Winter quarter

  1. (5 Jan.) Progress reports
    [awards ceremony]
  2. Individual consultations
  3. Individual consultations
    [MLK day]
  4. Research & writing break
  5. (2 Feb.) 35 pages due
  6. Discussion of 35-page installments
  7. Discussion of sample conclusions
  8. Writing break
  9. [Mar] Third installment (20pp.) due
  10. Bibliography due; writing abstracts

Spring quarter

  1. [Apr] Progress reports
  2. Abstract due
  3. Discussion of abstracts, conclusion due
  4. Discussion of conclusions
  5. [May] Complete draft due (three copies)
  6. Preparing peer review & oral presentations
  7. Seminar presentations
  8. Seminar presentations & SPUR reports
  9. [June] Departmental presentations
  10. Two archive copies due (dept, mentor)

Links (back to top)


page created by H. Marcuse in 1998, last updated: 10/7/05
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