Research Opportunities, Independent Studies & Senior Thesis

Research Opportunities

Some faculty may hire undergraduates as research assistants. Such Work Study positions are usually advertised through the Career Learning Network.

The History Department also participates in three Faculty of Arts & Science research programs that permit students to participate in a regular faculty member’s research for academic credit. ROP299Y1 and  REP398H1/Y1 are second- and third-year programs that permit students to work in Toronto as research assistants for one full-course equivalent (FCE). REP 398H1/Y1 enables third-year students to do fieldwork with an instructor off-site, often outside Canada.

Research Opportunity Program (ROP) courses are not offered every year. Additional information for ROP299Y1 and REP398H1/Y1 is available on the A&S website. The Research Excursion Program (REP) 398H/Y is administered by the International Programs Office.

Queries about ROP and REP may also be emailed to the Undergraduate Administrator

Independent Studies 

History Majors only. The Department of History offers senior undergraduate students the possibility of study under the course designations HIS498H1-F/S or HIS499Y1-Y. These courses result in the production of an independent research project. This may not necessarily take the form of a thesis. Students must find topics and project supervisors. Not eligible for CR/NCR option.

Independent studies are for students who wish to pursue a detailed research project. This usually involves the preparation of a major paper, though it may take other forms, and must be done under the supervision of an eligible History faculty member.  (Please note that faculty are under no obligation to supervise I.S. projects). Students wishing to enrol in these courses must be enrolled in a History Major program, with a B+ average in no less than 4.0 HIS courses, or obtain special permission of the instructor. Students must attend the senior thesis seminar which is scheduled on Tuesdays from 10-12 in the Natalie Zemon Davis Conference Room (SS 2098).


  • It is not practical to do an I.S. as a full-credit taken in one term (i.e. HIS499Y1-F or 499Y1-S)
  • Students are allowed only 1.0 I.S. course in History
  • Where research projects can be undertaken within the scope of an existing HIS seminar, students will not normally be allowed to enrol in Independent Studies.

Senior Thesis and Methodology Options for History Specialists

History Specialists only. Compulsory for all Specialists undertaking a one-year dissertation. Weekly seminars provide training in reviewing literature, writing research proposals, formulating hypotheses, oral presentation of findings and constructive critique of other students work. Posters will be prepared for an annual spring conference. Students must find topics and thesis supervisors. Not eligible for CR/NCR option.

History Specialists must choose either to write a Senior Thesis (HIS475H1/476H1) or take one of the Methodology courses listed on the PDF iconMethodology Courses for History Specialist 20-21.pdf document. The Methodology credit may be combined with another of the department’s program requirements (Divisions 1 to 3 or Pre-Modern). The thesis differs from the independent study in its length and by its research paper format. Students registered in HIS475H1 and HIS476H1 are also under the obligation of attending the weekly senior thesis seminar scheduled on Tuesdays from 10-12 in the Natalie Zemon Davis Conference Room (SS 2098). Students selecting the Senior Thesis option must have a B+ average in no less than 4.0 HIS courses.

How to enroll in either the Independent Study or the Senior Thesis options:

  • Complete the PDF iconHIS498H1-HIS499Y1_IndSt-Form-Summer_20215.pdf (Independent Study - Summer 2021); PDF iconHIS498H1-HIS499Y1_IndSt-Form-Fall-Winter_20219.pdf (Independent Study - Fall/Winter 2021-2022) or the PDF iconHIS475H1-HIS476H1_ThesisBallot-Fall-Winter_2021.pdf (Senior Thesis) with the help of your proposed supervisor. Attach a two-page outline of the project you wish to undertake and a copy of your transcript. Ensure that your supervisor signs the form.
  • Return the documents to the Department by April 15, 2021 for Summer 2021 or by August 16, 2021 for the Fall-Winter 2021-2022 academic year.
  • If approved, your study course will be added to your record on ROSI by the Department of History. If it is not approved, we will notify you and your proposed supervisor as soon as possible by email.

For further information, students may contact the Undergraduate Administrator.

2017-18 Independent Study and Senior Thesis Projects

Starting in September 2017-18, students enrolled in HIS 475, 476, 498 and 499 must attend the senior thesis seminar, which runs every Monday from 10-12 in Sidney Smith 2098. H-thesis writers leave the seminar at the end of the first semester, regardless of the session (F or S) in which their project is registered. By Christmas, you will have a well-developed project outline, and have done much of the background work identifying primary and secondary source for it. Y-thesis writers stay all year to do additional group work and refine their research ideas.

Hyperlinks to a selection of this year’s projects (2017-18) are provided below. Feel free (within reason) to contact the authors if you have general questions about undertaking this kind of work. It is the responsibility of the student to find a faculty supervisor before attempting to enrol in 475, 476, 498 and 499. For guidance on finding a supervisor, contact the Undergraduate Administrator.

PDF iconRAF Strategic Bombing - Its Effectiveness and Efficiency.pdf by Joseph Decarolis

PDF iconThe Lesser of Two Evils - Analyzing the US Foreign Policy Approach to Islamic Fundamentalism from 1979-1981.pdf by Alexander Smith

PDF iconChild Smugglers in the Warsaw Ghetto.pdf by Constance Chan