HIST 4910: Honours Research Project

What is the Honours Research Project?

The Honours Research Project (HRP) provides Honours students with an opportunity to conceptualize and execute an independent research project, under the supervision of a faculty member. The project will result in a major essay or other major project that is assessed by both the research supervisor and an appointed second reader.

HIST 4910 (1.0 credit) is available to BA Honours students majoring in History and runs over two academic terms: Fall and Winter. HIST 4910 is only offered over the Fall and Winter terms as the summer term does not give sufficient time to complete a high-quality essay.

Course requirements

An HRP is a long-term project that requires careful planning, continuous attention over two academic terms, and regular interaction with the research supervisor. After registering in HIST 4910, students are required to submit a work plan, signed off by their research supervisor. After the first term, they must submit a progress report, again signed off by the research supervisor. The medium for the final product will be agreed upon between student and supervisor, and may include a research paper, a documentary film, or a web-based project. It is expected that in the case of a research paper, it will be approximately 50-70 pages in length. The grade for the HRP is based on the quality of the final product, as assessed by the research supervisor and the second reader. A minimum passing grade of B- is required to gain credit for HIST 4910.

Finding a Research Supervisor

Jacob Kovalio at desk speaking with studentStudents must independently identify a regular faculty member in the Department of History to supervise the HRP. (The second reader will be appointed by the Undergraduate Supervisor later in the process, in consultation with the HRP supervisor.) As faculty members accept only a very small number of students for supervision, students are strongly advised to approach potential supervisors well in advance (2-3 months) of registering for HIST 4910. Students should prepare a preliminary proposal for the HRP to share with potential supervisors.

No faculty member is required to supervise any particular HRP and it may be difficult to find a faculty member available for supervision, depending on the topic chosen. Essay topics that connect with the academic interests and expertise of potential supervisors will increase the likelihood of a favorable response.

A preliminary proposal (300-500 words + bibliography) marks the first stage of your planning. It should describe the essence of your intended project, the form it will take (e.g. research paper, documentary, art installation), justify its goals, and try to convince a potential supervisor why it is significant. The proposal should demonstrate that the student is prepared to carry out the proposed project, even though it is likely that the exact topic may change in consultation with the supervisor.


The HRP is available to Honours students in History (not Combined Honours) with fourth-year standing and a major CGPA of 9.0 or higher (or permission from the department). Beyond these formal requirements, an HRP is recommended only for students who are strongly self-motivated and possess excellent time management skills. Please note that while writing an HRP will greatly expand your research skills, it does not improve your chances of being admitted to a graduate program.

Registration and re-registration

students in Underhill reading roomHIST 4910 is offered in the regular academic year (fall/winter) only. Registration requires departmental permission given by the Undergraduate Supervisor.

Permission will be given to students who (a) meet the eligibility requirements, and (b) have identified a faculty member willing to supervise the project. For more information on the requirements for the HRP, or to request permission to register, please contact the Undergraduate Supervisor.

It should be noted that HIST 4910 is not considered a seminar and cannot count towards the 4000-level History seminars requirements for History majors. Please speak to the Undergraduate Administrator for any questions.