1) Junior majors will meet with the Comps tsar and tsarina once in Spring term, Thursday, May 7th, 2015, 12-1 noon, for a special pizza lunch, to discuss the comps process. When you return in the fall as Seniors, there is also one lunch meeting early in the term to clarify expectations and answer any questions.

  • Fall 2014:
    Tuesday, September 23, 2014, Common Time, 12-1, Leighton 236. Mandatory fall term SENIOR majors' comps instructional session with Comps Tsar Andrew Fisher and Comps Tsarina Annette Igra. Pizza will be provided.
  • Spring 2015:
    Thursday, May 7th, 2015, 12:00-1:00 pm, Leighton 236. 
    Mandatory spring term JUNIOR majors' comps question-and-answer session. The comps process is explained and all questions will answered by Comps Tsar Andrew Fisher and Comps Tsarina Annette Igra. Pizza will be provided.

2) Fall & Winter - History Senior majors submit brief five-page comps proposals due at or before 12:00 p.m. (noon), Friday, OCTOBER 17, 2014; and register for two classes (H398 & H400) Winter term.

During the Fall and/or over winter break, once your proposal has been accepted, please compose the first 10-14 pages of a first rough draft of your project to bring to class the first day of winter term. Please do not panic, this need not be a polished draft, it is merely a starting point for the work you plan to do winter term.

3) Spring - Voluntary Comps Panels. Our Comps Panels are completely optional, and are offered to provide our History majors an opportunity to share their projects and comps experiences with fellow majors, friends and family in a public forum.

  • 2015 Voluntary Comps Panel:  Tuesday, May 12th, 5:00-6:00 pm, in Leighton 402, click Comps Panel for volunteer participant details. 

1. Comps Proposal (five-page descriptive statement of your comps plans, to be completed with your adviser's assistance), during the fall term by History senior majors

Satisfactory completion of this first requirement of the History comps process depends upon approval of your proposal by your faculty adviser and the Comps tsar/ina. Please begin to discuss your project with your content adviser (need not be the same person as your History department adviser) as early as possible. By the fourth week of fall term (the week of October 6th) you must have discussed a draft of your proposal with your content adviser. Normally, proposals require multiple drafts; please allow yourself adequate time for revisions. When the proposal is in an acceptable form, your content adviser should initial/sign it before submission.

Your senior research proposal is simply a five-page document that should include the following content and elements:

  • the significance of your topic and its relationship to current scholarship
  • Key research questions
  • Discussion of the kinds of primary sources you anticipate using
  • Formal bibliography including primary sources and relevant scholarship (not counted in the 5 page limit)
  • List of relevant coursework (not counted in the 5 page limit)
  • Proposed class schedule for Winter term (not counted in the 5 page limit)

In each area, you should describe sources and questions as concretely as possible at this point, even though you may refine your formulation considerably after further research and reflection.

Please note: We will not accept projects for which you do not have sufficient background and coursework. If your project grows out of your research paper in a 395, please state explicitly the ways in which the comps paper will differ significantly from the 395 paper.

Once your proposals have been submitted, the Comps tsar/ina will review them, and you will be notified as to whether or not your proposal has been accepted. If it has not been accepted, you will be informed by e-mail about what needs to be done so it can be accepted. 

When there is more than one Comps group, after comps proposals have been accepted, they are carefully divided into groups by the Comps Tsar/inas and we will inform you which History 398 section you have been assigned to and need to register for winter term.

ALL senior research proposals must be reviewed, accepted and signed by your content adviser and submitted with your tentative class schedule by (or before) noon on Friday, October 17, 2014, in Leighton 210. Any off-campus seniors need to consult with the Comps tsar, tsarina or department chair before fall term begins, and are required to meet the same October 17th comps proposal submission deadline.

Please click here to visit a sample of a past Senior Research Proposal, written by Emily Tragert.

History Comps courses are only offered during WINTER TERM

Please register for a section of Hist 398 and for Hist 400 winter term.

In 2014-2015, two sections are offered:

HIST 398.01 Advanced Historical Writing, Leighton 301, TTh, 3:10-4:55 p.m., Annette Igra
HIST 398.02 Advanced Historical Writing, (room tba), TTh, 10:10-11:55 a.m. Andrew Fisher
This course is designed to support majors in developing advanced skills in historical research and writing. Through a combination of class discussion, small group work, and one-on-one interactions with the professor, majors learn the process of constructing sophisticated, well-documented, and well-written historical arguments within the context of an extended project of their own design. They also learn and practice strategies for engaging critically with contemporary scholarship and effective techniques of peer review and the oral presentation of research. Concurrent enrollment in History 400 required. By permission of the instructor only.

HIST 400.00 Integrative Exercise
Required of all seniors majoring in history. Registration in this course is contingent upon prior approval of your research proposal, which is submitted in Fall term by October 17, 2014.

Comps paper is due by (or before) noon, Friday, March 6, 2015, in Leighton 210.

Please direct questions to Comps Tsarina Professor Annette Igra, and Tsar Professor Andrew Fisher

Celebratory Comps Panel: Each spring the department hosts one or two celebratory panels in which seniors may volunteer to give a presentation on their comps project. These are entirely voluntary but they are wonderful occasions to present and share your comps experiences with your fellow majors, family and friends. The History Department caters these celebratory panels. If you would like to volunteer, please contact the comps tsar/ina or Nikki Lamberty.


Please remember that you need IRB approval before you can begin any oral history comps projects or other types of human subject research:

"Practical Advice for Writing Your Dissertation, Book, or Article," by Liena Vayzman, AHA Perspectives,

Available College Funds for Comps Research and Travel:

Past Distinction Comps Papers