While the Department’s curriculum provides all concentrators with hands-on, small-group instruction in historical method, many students may wish to have an even more individualized research experience at some point during their undergraduate careers. The History Department currently facilitates four kinds of independent research experience for Harvard undergraduates: (1) term-time independent study, known as History 91r; (2) term-time work with faculty on research projects, known as History Lab or History 92r; (3) summer research grants for students planning to write a Senior Thesis; and (4) Research Assistantships with faculty members.
Juniors and seniors who wish to pursue an independent course of study with a faculty member may apply to enroll in History 91r. Ordinarily, students must have already taken at least one regular course in History that would provide background for their special reading and research. Each History 91r will have its own requirements, as the instructor in each case sets them. But they must include at least the following: (1) a thirty minute oral examination at the end of the course, given by the instructor and one other member of the Department; and (2) a paper at least ten pages long, submitted to the instructor and graded by him or her. A bibliography of all reading in the course and a copy of the paper must be filed in the History Undergraduate Office at the end of the term before the Director of Undergraduate Studies will forward the grade to the Registrar’s Office. A 91r may not be taken pass/fail.
History Lab offers History concentrators and other students a chance to spend a semester working with History faculty on faculty research projects. Outcomes will include familiarity with a range of digital tools for research and data visualization and insights on how to design and execute a major research project. Students will be assessed on the basis of blogs and presentations of research assignments. Consult http://dighist.fas.harvard.edu for more details.
Summer Thesis Research
It is not necessary to conduct summer research in order to write an excellent senior thesis. Many students do, however, choose to take advantage of the many generous thesis research grants available to visit libraries, archives, and historic sites around the world. The History Undergraduate Office holds a meeting every December for juniors interested in applying for thesis research grants, introducing them to the process. The Tutorial Office also maintains a comprehensive database of Harvard grants available to our senior thesis writers and sample grant proposals that have been successful in previous years.
Research & Employment Opportunities
Job & Research Assistantship Listings
History faculty members often look for eager and qualified individuals to help them conduct research and prepare for their courses, and in many cases they find good matches among the student body. For students, the chance to be a Research Assistant is one of the best ways to sit at the elbow of a practicing historian and learn the disciplinary techniques and standards that make one's classroom experience come alive, and which can contribute to writing a stellar senior thesis.
Many faculty hire research assistants from among the students who take their classes, but some seek them by posting job announcements with the Department or the Student Employment Office (SEO).
- See research & employment opportunities below
- Visit the Student Employment Office’s jobs database.
- Consult research assistantship listings on the websites of affiliated departments and centers on campus, such as the Center for European Studies.
- Check out Radcliffe's Research Partnership Program for research opportunties working with a Radcliffe Institute Fellow
Posted: February 4, 2020
Research Assistant Positions
Project title: The Effects of Traditional Beliefs and Practices in sub-Saharan Africa: Evidence from the DRC
Principal investigators: Nathan Nunn (Harvard University), Sara Lowes (Stanford Unviersity and UC San Diego).
Start date: As soon as available.
Duration: The equivalent of 15 hours per week for 4 months. There is the possibility of additional employment. The exact timing of when the work is done is flexible. (If you’re a current student, we require you to commit a minimum of 10-15 hours/week.)
Payment: Approximately $15-25 per hour depending on experience.
Desired experience: Must be meticulous, organized and detail-oriented. Previous experience with ArcGIS, R, and Python is beneficial. Ideally experience with spatial analysis and data management. A background in economics is not necessary. We welcome applicants from all fields in and out of academia. (The position is a particularly good fit for someone who plans to apply for a PhD in the future.)
Overview: The project involves using data from surveys collected in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The RA will organize and clean the data, match with other datasets spatially, and analyze the data. The project(s) are interested in understanding the determinants and consequences of traditional religious practices and rituals within the DRC.
To apply: Interested applicants should send their CV and a statement of interest (~500 words) to Sara Lowes at: email@example.com. We will continue to accept applications until all positions are filled.
Posted: December 16, 2019
Research Assistant Positions
Project title: Examining the Long-Term Consequences of the Tulsa Race Massacre of 1921.
Principal investigators: Nathan Nunn (Harvard University), James Feigenbaum (Boston University) and Alex Albright (Harvard University).
Start date: As soon as available.
Duration: The equivalent of 20 hours per week for 15 weeks. There is the possibility of additional employment. The exact timing of when the work is done is flexible. (If you’re a current student, committing 10-15 hours/week works.)
Payment: Approximately $15-25 per hour depending on experience.
Desired experience: Must be meticulous, organized and detail-oriented. Previous experience with ArcGIS, Stata, R, or Python is beneficial, but not at all necessary. A background in economics is not necessary. We welcome applicants from all fields in and out of academia. (The position is a good fit for someone who plans to apply for a PhD in the future.)
Overview: We are looking for multiple RA’s to work on a project that studies the long-term consequences of the Tulsa Race Massacre of 1921. During the Riot, 35 square blocks of the thriving African-American community were completely destroyed. African Americans were taken to internment centers at gunpoint. Their homes and businesses were looted and then set on fire. The business district was also firebombed from the air, resulting in its destruction. The vibrant African-American community, once hailed as “Black Wall Street,” had been burned to the ground. The analysis uses archival documents and Census data to empirically trace out the long-term effects of this event on those involved and their descendants.
Research assistants will be involved in digitizing, organizing, and maintaining a database built on documents from the Tulsa archives. One RA will be involved in mapping the data spatially.
To apply: Interested applicants should send their CV and a statement of interest (~500 words) to Alex Albright at: firstname.lastname@example.org. We will continue to accept applications until all positions are filled.
Posted, March 18, 2019
Teaching Opportunity in Ghana
Right to Dream is a boarding school and soccer academy in Ghana’s Eastern Region. One of the leading youth soccer academies in the world, while offering complete scholarships to all of its student-athletes, RTD focuses on education, character, and soccer as it raises talented young girls and boys to achieve their dreams and give back to their communities as ethical leaders. RTD is looking for a history teacher to take over a creative curriculum that explores an African global history.
For questions, please contact: email@example.com
For more info. about the program please see below and attached flyer.1. Our girls program: https://www.facebook.com/righttodream/videos/2303714566575370/
2. Scouting for talent: https://facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=314734489176136&id=88799484030
3. An archetypal story of a student: https://www.facebook.com/righttodream/videos/585169398597568/
Posted, February 11, 2019
Harvard History Dept. Lecturer seeks Research Assistant
Dr. Wendell Adjetey, Lecturer in the History Dept., seeks a research asst. to assist with a project on the politics of deportation and extradition between the United States and Canada, extending from the antebellum period to Black Power (1970s).
The compensation is $15 per hour.
If interested, please contact: Dr. Adjetey: firstname.lastname@example.org
Posted, November 27, 2018
The Harvard Kennedy School’s Carr Center for Human Rights Policy seeks to hire a number of student research assistants for spring 2019.
(Students must be affiliated with Harvard). The positions involve working on the following topics: Solidarity in Contemporary Movements, Political Mobilization, and Non-Violent Movements
For more info. visit: https://carrcenter.hks.harvard.edu/news/research-assistant-positions-solidarity-contemporary-movements-political-mobilization-non
Posted, Sept. 17, 2018
One-day Research Asst. Job.
Partisan Pictures in NYC is producing a TV documentary and is seeking a research assistant to scan Anna Chennault papers at Schlesinger Library for most likely a one-day job, to be completed by the end of September.If interested, please contact: Rena Zager <RZager@partisanpictures.com>
Posted Sept. 11, 2018
Professor Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham seeking research assistant
Professor Higginbotham is looking for an undergraduate or graduate student to assist her with research and the creation of a bibliography for the 10th edition of From Slavery to Freedom: A History of African Americans. She anticipates needing approximately 10 hours/week for the duration of the academic year.
Interested students should submit a current resume/CV and a brief cover paragraph outlining interest to email@example.com.
Listings for Summer Opportunities
Summer opportunities abound for history concentrators. Many choose to spend at least part of one summer either conducting research or participating in an academic program. If you are a junior interested in grants for summer thesis research, please visit our page dedicated to this subject and mark your calendars for our annual fellowships meeting on January 30, 2018, where the ADUS and DWF will discuss how to make your grant application as strong as possible. Harvard's Centralized Application for Research and Travel (CARAT): https://apps2.registrar.fas.harvard.edu/carat and the Office of Undergraduate Research and Fellowships are also terrific resources.
Even before thesis research, many opportunities exist for concentrators to spend their summer abroad. Some of these academic internships are quite specialized, such as the opportunity to work at Dumbarton Oaks, a research library that specializes in Byzantine, Garden and Landscape, and Pre-Columbian studies; Villa I Tatti, the Harvard University Center for Italian Renaissance Studies, offers a similarly focused internship program. Closer to home, concentrators interested in early America might want to check out the summer internship at Old Sturbridge Village, and library enthusiasts might be interested in the Junior Fellows Summer Program at the Library of Congress (application due January 26, 2018). Other programs offer more general opportunities for summer research, such as the Harvard Center for History and Economics' summer travel grant to Cambridge University, or the many classes offered around the world by the Harvard Summer School—keep in mind that any history courses taken with Harvard History faculty can be counted towards concentration credit!
History concentrators also of course spend their summers in positions completely unrelated to their academic work as they try to figure out what to do after college. We not only support this, we highly encourage it! As you begin to look for these opportunities, use all the resources available to you, including the experiences of your fellow concentrators. The earlier you start planning for the summer, the better, and the staff at the Office of Career Services can help you with your search, interview prep, resume feedback, etc.