Honors and Awards

The History Department offers several awards to graduate students, and our graduate students have been successful in winning university awards as well. 

The History Department recognizes outstanding scholarship at the masters and doctoral level. Faculty, the Director of Graduate Programs, and the Director of Public History often nominate graduate students for a number of university, state, and national awards.

Outstanding Thesis and Dissertation Awards

Sponsored by the North Carolina State University College of Humanities and Social Sciences, the Thesis and Dissertation Award program is designed to reward outstanding scholarly research at the graduate-level. Students may not apply directly for these awards. Graduate Programs may submit a maximum of two nominations. The two nominations chosen by the department will receive a certificate during the history department graduation ceremony. At the college level, one thesis and one dissertation will be chosen to receive the college award/recognition and the authors will each receive a cash award. Depending on the number of nominations that may be forwarded to the university thesis and dissertation awards committee, the winners and the next highest ranked theses and dissertations will be nominated for the next level award.

Past Award Winners

Sarah Billheimer, M.A. History, ‘17
C.J. Rice, M.A. History, ‘16
Jeff Guilford, M.A. History, ‘14
Mike Mortimer, M.A. History, ‘13
Rachel Trent, M.A. Public History, ‘12

Thesis Distinction

An award of “distinction” for the M.A. thesis recognizes History and Public History graduate students who excel in the preparation of their thesis. A thesis earning distinction explores significant historical questions, demonstrates mastery of the relevant historiography, advances a sophisticated argument, supports that argument through insightful interpretation of primary sources, and exhibits exceptional writing. Members of the student's advisory committee decide upon thesis distinction at the oral exam.

2018-2019 Awards of Distinction

Andrew Sperling, European History (Under the direction of Noah Strote)
Andrew Collins, British History (Under the direction of Megan Cherry
Kevin Shuford, Medieval History (Under the direction of Julie Mell)

2015-2016 Awards of Distinction

Melanie Burkett, British History (Under the direction of Dr. Brent Sirota)
Sarah Billheimer, Early 20th Century US (Under the direction of Dr. Katherine Mellen Charron)  
CJ Rice, Ancient History (Under the direction  of Dr. S. Thomas Parker)

2014-2015 Awards of Distinction

Ashley Jones, Ancient History (Under the direction of Dr. S. Thomas Parker)
Jesica Lewis, Ancient History (Under the direction of Dr. S. Thomas Parker)
Sarah Wenner, Ancient History (Under the direction of Dr. S. Thomas Parker)
Kelsey Zavelo, Modern American Diplomacy (Under the direction of Dr. Nancy Mitchell)

Graduate Awards More Stories

Outstanding Teaching Award

The Outstanding Graduate Teaching Assistant Awards serves as the primary university-level forum for recognizing exceptional contributions made by Graduate Teaching Assistants to the educational excellence of the University. The Director of Graduate Programs typically announces a call for nominations for the Outstanding Graduate Teaching Assistant Awards in early January. Faculty are encouraged to nominate students they believe exemplify the values of an outstanding TA. In late January, the DGP nominates the department level award recipients (usually two) for the UGSA Outstanding Teaching Assistant Awards. The nominations are reviewed by the Teaching Effectiveness Committee, and those evaluated as winners will be announced at a luncheon attended by the nominees during Graduate Education Week. Departmental winners will receive a certificate during the history department graduation ceremony. 

Past Award Winners


Mandy Benter, M.A. Public History, ‘15
CJ Rice, M.A. History, ‘16 (Recognition for Excellence in Mentorship)
Jordan Karlis, M.A. History, expected ‘17 (Recognition for Excellence in Mentorship)


Sarah Billheimer, M.A. History, ‘16 
Samantha Vandermeade, M.A. Public History, ‘15


Jeff Guilford, M.A., History, ‘14


Kelsey Zavelo, M.A., History, ‘15

Public History Award

The Public History Award is given to a graduating MA student who exemplifies the enterprising spirit of public history. The Director of Public History requests nominations from the Public History faculty in April. The winner is announced at graduation and receives a certificate during the ceremony.

Past Award Winners

2019 Award Winner

Hanna Howard, M.A. Public History, '19

2018 Award Winner

Gillian Mahoney, M.A. Public History, ‘18


Marie Nicole Coscolluela, M.A. Public History, ‘17


Abigail Jones, M.A. Public History, ‘16 


Samantha Smith, M.A. Public History, ‘15


Rachel Moore, M.A. Public History, ‘14

Graduate Capstone Project Award

The purpose of the Graduate Capstone Project Award is to recognize outstanding capstone/culminating projects completed in non-thesis Master's degree programs. The Director of Graduate Programs announces a call for nominations in late September. Nominations are student initiated. Capstone projects qualifying for the award include research articles, internships, research/grant proposals, and research exhibits. Selected student nominations at the department level are sent for review by the College of Humanities and Social Sciences committee. Winners are announced at the end of the fall semester.