• Fall 2017:  Tuesday, September 19, 2017, Common Time, 12-1, Leighton 236 (room unconfirmed). Mandatory fall term SENIOR majors' comps instructional session with Comps Tsarina Susannah Ottaway and Comps Tsar Thabiti Willis. Pizza provided.
  • CLASS OF 2019:  Spring 2018: Thursday, May 10th, 2018, 12:00-1:00 pm, Leighton 236 (room unconfirmed) Mandatory spring term JUNIOR majors' Comps Meeting. The History Comps process is completely de-mystified and all questions will be answered by 2017-18 Comps Tsarina Susannah Ottaway and Tsar Thabiti Willis. Pizza provided.

1) Junior majors meet the Comps tsarina and tsar once in Spring term 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.

2) Fall & Winter - History Senior majors (new class of 2018) submit brief five-page comps proposals due at or before 12:00 p.m. (noon), Friday, OCTOBER 20, 2017, to Leighton 210, the main History office; and register for both 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 2018 - Thursday, May 10, 2018, Voluntary 2018 Seniors' Celebratory Comps Panel. Leighton 304 (room unconfirmed), 5:00-6:00 p.m. Each spring the History department hosts a celebratory panel in which seniors may volunteer to give a presentation on their comps project. Panel participation is entirely voluntary and it is a wonderful opportunity to present and share your comps project experiences with your fellow majors, family and friends. If you would like to volunteer, please contact the comps tsar/inas or Nikki. Our Voluntary Senior Comps Panels take place intentionally on the SAME DAY as the Juniors' Comps Info meeting, to give juniors a chance to get additional comps insight from seniors who have completed the History Comps experience.

1. Comps Proposal
(five-page descriptive statement of your comps plans, to be completed with your chosen comps 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 comps adviser and the Comps tsar or tsarina. 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 (week of October 4th) you must have discussed a draft of your proposal with your chosen 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 expected Winter term class schedule by (or before) noon on Friday, October 20, 2017, in Leighton 210 (the History office). 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 comps proposal submission deadline.

Please click here to visit a sample of a recent Senior Research Proposal, written by Tyler Spaeth, '16.

History Comps courses are only offered during WINTER TERM

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

In 2017-2018, two sections of Hist 398 are offered:
Hist 398-01 Professor Thabiti Willis, MW 1:50-3:00 pm, F 2:20-3:20 pm, Lei 202
Hist 398-02 Professor Susannah Ottaway, MW 8:30-9:40 am, F 8:30-9:30 am 202

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 on October 20, 2017.

Final Comps papers are due by (or before) noon, Friday, March 2, 2018, in Leighton 210, the History office.

Please direct questions to Comps Tsarina Susannah Ottaway or to Comps Tsar Thabiti Willis

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

Please note early deadline to apply for Comps Research and Travel funds!

Past Distinction Comps Papers