Honors Program

The Honors Program in History challenges students to enrich the minimum requirements of the major through a focus on vocational discernment.

A breadth of options are available within the history major. This program helps students tailor their co-curricular, academic and research experiences to meet their vocational and long-term interests.

Graduates with honors in history have:

  • Demonstrated exceptional academic rigor by maintaining a high GPA in history courses
  • Completed a Senior Honors Project with a topic and format that complements each student's vocational focus and in collaboration with a faculty mentor

By fulfilling the requirements of the Honors Program in History, you will create experiences and artifacts that will be valuable additions to your liberal arts experience at Hope College and beyond.


To enter the Honors Program, you must have a 3.50 minimum GPA in history courses; to graduate with honors in history, you must have a 3.50 minimum GPA in history courses.

To graduate with honors in history, you must:

  • Complete an approved co-curricular experience related to vocational discernment, such as:
    • Student teaching (history education)
    • Summer faculty-student collaborative research (funded by a Nyenhuis grant or the history department)
    • Internship in a public history setting (e.g., a museum or archives)
    • A Hope College minor congruent with the student’s vocational and academic plan (to be approved by the history department)
    • A fall or spring semester spent studying off campus (e.g., an international program, Chicago Semester, Philadelphia Center, Newberry Seminar, New York Arts Program, Oregon Extension, Washington Honors Semester) congruent with the student’s vocational and academic plan (to be approved by the history department)
  • Complete a Senior Honors Project under the supervision of a member of the History department faculty:
    • This project is separate from, and in addition to, the paper written for HIST 495, which is required of all history and history education majors
    • Register for HIST 490: Independent Study in the summer after your junior year or the fall or spring semester of your senior year
      • This course is in addition to the 36 credits required for the major
      • It will vary in credit (either 2 or 4) according to the scope of the project and the credit needs of the student
    • The content of the project will expand upon and/or complement the student’s co-curricular experience; the project will not simply be the same work produced as part of the student’s co-curricular experience
      • Possible projects include a research paper, a museum portfolio, a unit plan made up of detailed lesson plans, a video or a website
    • If you undertake a co-curricular experience during your last semester (e.g., student teaching), you may register for HIST 490 during the prior semester
      • In such an instance, the student’s preliminary proposal (see below) must include a plan to complete the Seniors Honors Project at the end of the co-curricular experience


Apply to the Honors Program during the fall semester of your third year. The application will include the following:

  • A transcript obtained from the Registrar’s Office
  • A detailed course plan for the remaining semesters of study
  • A preliminary proposal for the scope and timing of the Senior Honors Project
  • Written endorsements from the proposed faculty mentor and from your academic advisor (if s/he is not the proposed project mentor)