Comprehensive and Disciplinary Communication (DC) Requirements

History majors may satisfy the U.C. Santa Cruz comprehensive requirement, and the disciplinary communication (DC) general education requirement, in one of two ways:

Research Seminar (Required)
One quarter: 190 series, 194 series, or 196 series

In courses designated as History 190, 194, or 196, students participate in a small discussion-based research seminar, which provides an opportunity to acquire experience in practical research skills while developing a research project culminating in the writing of a substantial research paper. Seminars require submission of written work totaling approximately 25 pages and satisfy the disciplinary communication (DC) general education requirement.

History 190, 194, and 196 courses are restricted to declared history majors with junior or senior standing. Students are required to complete the Entry Level Writing Requirement, HIS 100, Historical Skills and Methods, and two additional upper-division history courses before they make take a seminar course. Individual seminar courses may have additional enrollment restrictions or prerequisites. Students should consult the History Course Catalog for more information about each of the History 190, 194, and 196 seminar courses offered.

Seminars must be taken in a student's chosen geographic region of concentration — Americas and Africa, Asia and the Pacific, Europe and the Mediterranean World — to satisfy their comprehensive requirement. Students should consult the History Catalog of Course Requirements to identify seminars in their region of concentration.

Thesis (Optional)
Two quarters: HIS 195A, Thesis Research and HIS 195B, Thesis Writing

Preparing for Your Thesis: One Year in Advance

Students who want to write a thesis need to begin planning at least one year in advance. Students must first find two History faculty, a primary thesis advisor and a second reader, to sponsor and advise on the thesis project. Students are advised to meet with History faculty to discuss potential topics and the feasibility of their proposed thesis as soon as possible. Only Assistant, Associate, or full Professors may sponsor undergraduate thesis projects.

Thesis Prerequisite: One-Two Quarters in Advance

Students must complete at least one research seminar (HIS 190, 194, or 196 course) in their region of concentration before undertaking an independent, two quarter thesis project. Students are advised to complete their seminar by the end of their third/junior year. When possible, seminars should be taught by the student's intended primary thesis advisor.

In extraordinary circumstances, students may petition the History Department for an exception to this requirement. Students who are granted an exception to the seminar requirement will satisfy the U.C. Santa Cruz comprehensive requirement and the disciplinary communication (DC) general education requirement after successfully completing both HIS 195A, Thesis Research, and HIS 195B, Thesis Writing.

Proposing Your Thesis: One Quarter in Advance

Once the thesis advisor and second reader have been secured, and a research topic defined, students must submit a senior thesis proposal to the department for consideration and approval. Your proposal should demonstrate A) the feasibility of the proposed project, and B) that it can be completed within the span of two quarters. Discussing the availability of sources and supplying a tentative bibliography are usually helpful additions to a project description. Example senior thesis proposals are available via the History Undergraduate Program Coordinator.

Proposals are due no later than the sixth week of classes one quarter before the planned HIS 195A, Thesis Research, quarter (see exact deadlines below).

Formatting and Submitting Your Thesis: Thesis Writing Quarter

Download a Senior Thesis Guidelines and Proposal Packet (PDF) for detailed information about proposing, completing, and submitting a History Senior Thesis.

Penultimate drafts must be submitted to the thesis advisor and second reader no later than the eighth week of classes during the thesis writing quarter (see exact deadlines below).

Completed theses must be at least 40 pages in length. The final version of your thesis must be submitted in PDF format to the History Undergraduate Program Coordinator by the last day of the thesis writing quarter (see exact deadlines below).

Your thesis must include a title page (see sample title page) which follows departmental formatting guidelines: 

  1. thesis title;
  2. author name;
  3. University of California, Santa Cruz;
  4. Department of History
  5. date;
  6. faculty sponsor names and signatures (electronic signatures are permitted)
  7. The following statement: “This thesis has been completed to departmental standards and is submitted in partial fulfillment of the degree of Bachelor of Arts in History.”

The second page of your thesis must include a brief (one paragraph) abstract or description of the work.

2022-2024 Thesis Deadlines

thesis deadlines
Thesis Quarters
Fall 2022/Winter 2023 Winter/Spring 2023 Spring/Fall 2023 Fall 2023/Winter 2024
Proposal Due:
Friday of week 6 quarter before HIS 195A
May 6, 2022 November 4, 2022 February 17, 2023 May 12, 2023
Penultimate Draft Due:
Monday of week 8 of HIS 195B quarter
February 27, 2023 May 22, 2023 November 20, 2023 February 26, 2024
Completed Thesis Due:
Last day of HIS 195B quarter
March 24, 2023 June 15, 2023 December 15, 2023 March 22, 2024