History as an academic discipline is rooted in researching the past, and the history faculty at Notre Dame strongly encourages our majors to exploit the research opportunities available to undergraduate students.  Some of the options include:

  • Participation in the History Honors Program, which is built around the research and writing of a year-long senior honors thesis.  Majors apply to this program in the fall of their junior year.
  • Working one-on-one with a history faculty member on a particular research project, whether as an assistant on the faculty member’s research, or under faculty supervision on one’s own research topic.

“When you open these documents and see, this was written with a quill 300 years ago, it brings history home. It makes it a lot more immediate, which I am so grateful for.”

—Curran Cross, Stephen and Ruth Barrett Summer Research Grant recipient

In order to facilitate undergraduate research, students are encouraged to apply for funding from the following units (and others) to allow them to travel to an archive, visit a museum, attend a conference, or purchase texts.

McAvoy Fund for Undergraduate Excellence

The Department of History's McAvoy Fund is dedicated exclusively to research projects undertaken by undergraduate history majors.  Students writing senior theses or doing primary research in departmental seminars may be particularly interested in applying, but any major conducting historical research under the supervision of a faculty mentor may apply.  Awards of up to $1,000 may be used to cover the cost of photocopying, travel, lodging, purchasing library materials, etc.

Contact Professor James Lundberg to learn more.

Senior Thesis

Students with a 3.7 cumulative grade point average are encouraged to consider writing a senior thesis. The thesis is a two-semester project that allows students to draw on what they’ve learned and do original research.

“My job is to take all these things into account and produce my own interpretation that will, hopefully, explain all these things in a way that is accessible and insightful." 

— Seung-Jae “David” Oh, on his Senior Thesis

Getting Started

  • Begin planning your thesis during your junior year. Think about your area of interest and start developing  a research question.
  • Students who will be abroad are encouraged to begin planning their thesis before they depart.
  • Talk to several faculty members with whom you might want to work. Present your ideas and ask if they would consider serving as your thesis director or if they can recommend someone.

Learn More

Contact Director of Undergraduate Studies, Jake Lundberg to learn more about getting started on a Senior Thesis.