History Undergraduate Program FAQs


What is the history senior thesis process?


History majors at Western complete their degree by conducting research and writing a senior thesis in their final full year of study. In the fall term of their senior year students select a research paper that they have written for one of their upper-division history courses to revise and expand for their thesis. Students enter into an agreement with both a primary and secondary faculty reader for this year-long process. In winter term students enroll in History 420W, Philosophies of History. Working with their primary reader and the instructor for History 420W students build the historiographic component of their thesis. And in spring term students enroll in History 499W, Senior Thesis, where they complete the work of expanding and deepening their secondary and primary source analysis with frequent meetings with readers and their History 499W instructor. Students in History 499W complete their senior seminar paper through several drafts and a final paper. They also participate in a conference-style presentation of their work at the WOU Academic Showcase and in a final senior thesis presentation session to which family and friends are invited. This year-long process depends on students meeting regularly with their faculty readers and working steadily through the year to build a strong seminar paper as the capstone of their work as history majors.

Professor John Rector has written an informative guide titled “History 499: Senior Seminar Roadmap



Division of Social Sciences 

503-838-8288 | or e-mail: ryalss@wou.edu Location: BELL 231