BA Honours in History
The Honours Program in History, which students enter either through direct-entry Honours or after their first 30 credits at Concordia, is intended for students with high standing. It is an excellent preparation for graduate studies in History or other advanced degree programs such as law, as well as other careers involving research and writing skills in journalism, filmmaking, government, museology and archival studies.
A new curriculum that comes into effect in the Fall 2022 term will include for all History program students the introductory HIST 200, a First Year Seminar that takes a “deep dive” into a historical subject. These small classes, each taught by one of the department’s professors, both explore the focused topic of the course and introduce students to historical skills: how historians make arguments, how they use historical evidence and other scholars’ writing, and how they communicate their ideas. There are several sections of HIST 200 offered in each of the Fall and Winter term, each with a different topic.
There are three options in the Honours program:
In addition to introductory, intermediate and advanced seminar courses, students in the Essay stream must complete two directed-study courses in conjunction with an advisor who must be a full-time faculty member in the History Department. It’s generally advised that you line up these courses well in advance, since they require a fair amount of planning on the part of both you and your advisor.
The first course is Hist 304: Tutorial Preparation for the Honours Essay, which must be completed before you start working on the essay. The course is intended to ground you in the historiography of the subject you have chosen, and the reading list is typically drafted in advance of the course. The workload of the tutorial should be equivalent to that of a 400-level seminar, and typically the assignments for the course consist of reaction papers, historiographical essays, and source analysis. It is recommended that you and your advisor determine in advance of the tutorial how the final grade will be calculated.
The second course is Hist 493: Honours Essay Tutorial, which you may not take until you have completed Hist 304. This is a six-credit course, so it is normally completed over two consecutive semesters. For the essay, you must produce a sustained piece of work which offers an original contribution to a historical subject. The essay is typically at least 25, double-spaced pages in length; and may not exceed 40 pages. The essay normally makes use of primary sources, although it is permissible to write a historiographical paper. The final version of the essay must be read by the advisor, along with another full-time faculty member of the History Department, who will jointly determine the final grade. It is highly recommended that you meet regularly with advisor as you research your essay, and provide early drafts well in advance of the final deadline for submission.
Students take a total of 8 research seminars, concentrated in their final year(s) in the program. This option allows students to gain experience in a wider range of historical research fields than in the Essay Option. See the Program Guide for course sequences.
Students focus on Public History. Through state-of-the-art digital facilities, students will develop expertise as oral historians and as digital storytellers. Students will also have the opportunity to serve as interns, practicing what they have learned in the classroom out in the real world. See the Program Guide for course sequences.
Please note that the Public History option is only available as part of the Honours program, and special admission requirements apply.
As part of the Honours program in Public History, students are required to do an internship working on projects that deal with the presentation of history to the larger public. Among the types of internships that may be available, students will have an opportunity to:
- Construct exhibits that present the past to the public in art and history museums.
- Serve as guides and interpreters at living history museums.
- Convert images and artifacts from the past into digital presentations at web design companies.
- Ensure the accuracy of period details and historical analysis at film and television production companies.
- Investigate the historical context that determines public policy decisions at government and nonprofit organizations.
- Edit and publish historical journals and magazines.
- Design and implement oral history projects.
- Preserve and catalogue historical documents at libraries and archives.
To register for the internship, you must meet the following criteria:
- You must be enrolled in the Public History option of the Honours program
- You must have completed a minimum of 60 credits at Concordia, including Hist 306
Internships may be paid or unpaid and host organizations may be in the public, non-profit or private sectors. Typically, the organizations are local, but students are permitted to find placements elsewhere in Canada or internationally. Concordia History students have found internships at organizations such as:
· Backstory history podcast, Charlottesville, Virginia
· Canadian War Museum, Ottawa
· Continui-t, historical research firm
· Glasnevin Cemetery and Museum, Ireland
Before embarking on the internship, the student should meet with the internship coordinator in the History Department at least two months before the semester of the internship. You will be able to sign up for the internship course, Hist 486, once you have met with the coordinator. Be aware that the application deadline for summer internships is often in the winter; the earlier you apply for these internships, the better your chance will be of finding a quality posting. The coordinator will assist you in finding a host organization for the internship.
Once you have found an internship, the host organization will determine the duties involved in consultation with the student and the internship coordinator. The organization will then draw up a contract specifying these duties and forward it to the internship coordinator for approval. The contract should include a list of the activities and skills required for the internship, and must be signed by both parties. A sample contract is available here.
The student should meet with the internship coordinator two times during the course of the semester to discuss the progress of the internship. When possible, the coordinator will also conduct a site visit to the host organization.
The internship must consist of a minimum of 100 hours, but normally does not exceed 130 hours, preferably during the academic semester in which the student is enrolled in the internship course. However, it is possible that this number of hours (or the number of hours required by the organization in excess of 100) may not be completed by the end of the semester. Such instances should normally come at the request of the host organization, but in cases where there is a compelling and serious reason such as illness, the student may request an extension of up to one semester in which to complete the internship.
Evaluation of Internships
- Student interns must complete a 20-25 page paper, or equivalent work, assessing the internship experience. The paper should present a description and analysis of the student’s duties and responsibilities during the internship, and should evaluate both the positive and negative aspects of the work experience. Students should also reflect on how their internships have deepened or changed their understanding of public history, and are encouraged to draw on materials from past coursework and current research in assessing the internship. A portion of the paper may take the form of a work sample, such as a web site, museum script, field report or documentary. The paper should be turned in to the internship coordinator no later than the last day of the final examination period of the semester of enrolment. During the internship, each student should keep a daily log of activities.
- The host organization’s internship supervisor will receive an evaluation form from the department, which will serve as one element in determining the student’s grade for the course. The final grade will be determined by the internship coordinator, taking into account the assessment paper and the host organization’s evaluation of the student. A feedback form for the internship is available here.