Undergraduate students have the option of working on an independent research course under the supervision of a faculty member. Often, research undertaken for a course leads to a greater interest in the subject, and students engage in an independent research project to probe deeper. Other students pursue their passion on a subject they did not get a chance to study in a course. Independent research helps hone research and writing competencies and helps develop essential skills for graduate study.
Participation in these independent research courses also opens the valuable opportunity for students to present their research at the Inquiry @ Queen’s Conference. The I@Q Conference is held annually to celebrate undergraduate research and offers a rewarding opportunity to share your scholarly and creative research alongside your undergraduate peers from a variety of disciplines. To learn more about past independent research projects, see our 2021 March Undergraduate Bulletin.
"While it seemed daunting in the beginning stages, my HIST 515 project was the most rewarding academic pursuit of my Queen's experience. Working one-on-one with my favourite professor provided a unique opportunity to conduct extensive research with expert guidance and support through the whole project. I am so grateful for this experience."
-Sam Russell (BAH '22)
HIST 514: Independent Research Paper (3.0 units)
This course is intended to expand upon a research paper written for an upper-level seminar (HIST 333-499) and must include independent research involving the use of primary and secondary sources. A student may also propose a new topic that they have not previously explored.
Available to fourth-year students taking a Major or a Joint Honours concentration in History who have maintained a GPA of 3.30. Students must obtain the approval of the supervising instructor and of the Undergraduate Committee.
HIST 514 satisfies 3.0-units towards the Option 2A requirement on SOLUS.
HIST 515: Independent Research Paper (6.0 units)
The research paper must be based on independent research involving the use of primary and secondary sources. The instructor may assign additional assessments to assist the student in producing the final paper.
Available to fourth-year students taking a Major or a Joint Honours concentration in History who have maintained a GPA of 3.30. Students must obtain the approval of the supervising instructor and of the Undergraduate Committee for any project submitted.
HIST 515 satisfies 6.0-units towards the Option 2A requirement on SOLUS.
HIST 517: Independent Study Project (3.0 units)
The project may be either a research project involving the use of primary and secondary sources, or a more broadly conceived independent reading program. This course is available to students studying on main campus, as well as students participating in an international education program.
Available to third- and fourth-year students taking a Major or a Joint Honours concentration in History who have maintained a GPA of 3.30. Students must obtain approval of the supervising instructor and of the Undergraduate Committee. If students are completing the project during their term away, two supervising instructors are required. The primary instructor must be from the partnering institution and a secondary supervisor must be from the Department of History, Queen’s University.
HIST 517 satisfies 3.0-units towards the Option 2A requirement on SOLUS.
How to Apply
In the spring before your final undergraduate year, find an instructor capable and willing to supervise your topic. You will craft a proposal for your topic, consisting of a bibliography and proposed course of research. Your enrollment in this course is conditional upon the approval of your research proposal by the department’s Undergraduate Committee.
An electronic copy (approved by your supervisor) must be submitted to the Undergraduate Chair at email@example.com by August 15. Supervisors must email their approval to the Undergraduate Chair before the proposal is reviewed by the Undergraduate Committee. You will receive an email notification before the end of open enrollment regarding the status of your proposal.
August 15 is the deadline for applications to enroll in HIST 514, 515, and 517, and to be considered for the Prendergast-Rivard Studentship Award, which is given once a year to the best 515 thesis proposal. The award is very competitive.
November 15 is the deadline for applications to enroll in HIST 514 and 517 in the winter term.
If you have questions, please email firstname.lastname@example.org for assistance.
Guidelines for Proposals
The purpose of 500 Level Proposals is to ensure the Undergraduate Committee that students undertaking projects have set feasible goals for themselves. Proposals should demonstrate that students have both realistic research plans and essay topics in mind. The committee typically defers to the wisdom of the faculty advisor on History 500 level proposals. However, diffuse and rambling proposals, sweeping research agendas, and grandiose essay topics may prompt the Undergraduate Committee to recommend that the proposal be revised. Proposals for independent research projects need not be lengthy or detailed. However, they should incorporate the following basic elements.
The proposal should describe:
- the historical issue or problem to be addressed and its basic importance
- the basic ideas and hypotheses of the project
- the methods or approaches the student will use
- the body of materials that the student will draw on and the ease of access to the material
- how the project fits within the current literature in the field
(i.e. a brief summary of the relevant historiography that will inform or frame the study)
Project Proposals need not be longer than 4 pages, including the bibliography. The final bibliography will surely be longer than the one submitted for approval in September.
Typically, HIST 515 theses are 50 to 60 pages long, plus endnotes/footnotes and bibliography, and HIST 514 and 517 theses are expected to be 24-30 pages in length, plus endnotes/footnotes and bibliography.
If your proposal is approved, then you will work closely with your supervisor to produce your research project. For guidance on writing a History Thesis, review this online course created by Student Academic Success Services: Writing a History Thesis.