The Honours Program

Students photoStudents interested in a more rigorous program of undergraduate study, and who are thinking of graduate work in history or a related field, will be attracted to the history Honours program. Students with history grades averaging B+ or better can apply to the Honours program at the end of their second year, and, if admitted, must maintain an overall mark of B or better in their history courses. Students in single honours will normally complete 42 of their last 60 credit hours in history courses, making this program somewhat more specialized than the majors program. 27 of those 48 credit hours will be taken in Honours seminars or associated independent reading courses. The Honours program is also open to students pursuing the concurrent BA/BEd degree and the joint BA/BCS and BA/BSc degree programs. If you would like to get a more detailed description of the Honours regulations, go to Honours regulations page.

The Department believes very strongly that its Honours program provides excellent preparation for graduate school.  As one recent Honours History graduate who is now pursuing an MA at an Ontario university wrote: "I really think that the honours program at UNB gives its students a leg up when it comes to graduate school.  I have found that my graduate seminars are set-up quite similarly to my undergrad ones, and that I am ahead of the game where my thesis is concerned."

Honours seminars are the essence of the program. Each seminar is limited to a maximum of thirteen students, each meets once weekly for three hours, and all emphasize independent research, the preparation of research papers for presentation to the class, and intensive group discussion. That format promotes very close relationships with members of the faculty and with other members of the seminar. In the seminars, faculty members function mainly as facilitators and discussion leaders; seminars encourage students to learn through interactive scholarly discussions with peers. Honours students are often encouraged to conduct original research into primary documents and sources. The holdings of the New Brunswick Provincial Archives on the UNB campus, for example, provide a rich source of documents on which historians-in-the-making can sharpen their research skills. Fourth-year students with outstanding grades may apply to submit an Honours thesis based on original research in lieu of a regular seminar. Of special interest is Hist 5900, the compulsory seminar that introduces students to the newest methodological currents in contemporary historiography.

History honours students have traditionally enjoyed a considerable esprit de corps. The Honours evening and other events specifically for Honours students are a mark of the program. Every autumn there is a one or two day retreat where Honours students discuss important contemporary issues as well as strategies to succeed in the study of History.

Along with majors students, honours students participate in the History Society, which organizes events ranging from the sedate and the academic to the wild and the uproarious. Among the History Society's more serious undertakings is the publication of Time Pieces, a journal of exceptional undergraduate research and writing issued each spring.  In a typical year the history Honours program enrols about twenty single honours and ten double Honours students in their third and fourth year. Gender ratios vary, but normally display a 40-60 split between men and women. The program enrols a number of mature students and individuals from many different backgrounds.