Undergraduate Studies

Undergraduate Research

student presenting research at URCAThe Department of History offers a wide variety of opportunities for students to conduct and present their own research. This not only allows undergraduates to pursue their historical interests but also provides critical training in research methods and writing, which are valuable for a variety of future careers.

Research Seminars

Two of the most popular are our undergraduate research seminars (HY 430) and the undergraduate honors thesis option (HY 499).

HY 430 is taken by every major in history (unless taking the honors thesis option). It is a seminar organized around a particular theme, in which the professor will help guide students through all the phases of a research essay, from formulating an interesting historical question to conducting broad secondary and primary source research, to writing a strong and nuanced paper.

HY 499 is for students pursuing history with honors. They must take HY 399 (Honors Colloquium) in the spring of junior year and HY 498 (thesis research) in the fall of senior year. They then can take HY 499 in the spring of the senior year to graduate with honors. Students who take these courses are not required to take HY 430.

The Public History Initiative

The Public History Initiative (PHI), run by the Summersell Center for the Study of Southern History, offers students a class to learn more about and practice public history. The PHI pairs students with organizations on- and off-campus, including the Gorgas House, W.H. Hoole Special Collections Library, and local churches and clubs, to conduct research and create projects that present their history to the public. This has included oral history exhibits, writing scripts for museum and campus tours, designing information pamphlets, and maintaining websites on these projects.

For more information about the PHI, visit the Summersell Center for the Study of the South website.

Presenting Undergraduate Research

There are also opportunities to conduct, present, and print research beyond the classroom, including the Public History Initiative, the Undergraduate Research and Creative Activity Conference, and the Emerging Scholars Program.

The Crimson Historical Review

The Crimson Historical Review is The University of Alabama’s first undergraduate history journal, and one of the few of its type in the country. The Editorial Board, Design Team, and Review Board are all comprised of UA undergraduate students. You can contact them here.

The CHR‘s purpose is to give authors the opportunity to publish original, peer-reviewed content and to share that content on a national platform.


The Undergraduate Research & Creative Activity Conference is an annual event that provides undergraduates the opportunity to present their research or creative activity. URCA participants work closely with faculty advisors to edit and strengthen oral and poster presentations on their research and compete for cash prizes.

Visit our winners gallery for descriptions of recent URCA winners and their projects.

Emerging Scholars

The Emerging Scholars Program is an opportunity for students at The University of Alabama to get involved in research with a faculty mentor in their chosen field. Students take UA 155, which helps prepare them for research, and UA 156, in which they conduct a research project under the direction of a faculty mentor. Emerging Scholars present their research at the URCA conference.