Frequently Asked Questions

Is Lawson Hall open on the weekends so I can drop off an assignment/take-home exam to the drop box?

The essay drop box is located outside of the History Department Main Office, in Lawson Hall room 2201.  Students can access the drop box Monday-Friday 6:30am-10:30pm.  Lawson Hall is locked on weekends and holidays.  

When can I apply to the History program?

You can apply to the History program after you have completed 5.0 credits in first year. The time period to apply is in February and March during the Intent to Register period. The Intent to Register period runs each year. Each student in every year is required to participate. This lets the University know what program you are interested in pursuing for your academic career.

What programs are available in the History department?

  • History - Honors Specialization, Specialization, Major, and Minor
  • International Relations - Honors Specialization
  • Jewish Studies - Major and Minor
  • American Studies – Honors Specialization, Major, and Minor
  • Public History - Minor

Can I take a course at an affiliate college?

Students can take a maximum of 1.0 course at an affiliate college. “Main campus students require home faculty permission” indicates that you must receive special permission before being allowed to enroll in the Affiliate course. “Restricted to students registered at an affiliated college” indicates that this course is closed to Main Campus students, but permission to enroll can be requested from the History Department. Permission will not be granted if the course at the affiliate college is offered on main campus.

What is a special permission?

A special permission is used by a student when they need to receive approval from their home faculty of registration for something that would not be allowed under usual circumstances. An example is when a student needs to take a course without the stated prerequisite(s). If a student requires special permission, they must first email Rebecca Northcott, Undergraduate Program Advisor,  Include in the email:

  • Full name
  • Student Number
  • The course you would like to enrol in
  • Why you need special permission
Special permissin requests typically take about 5 business days, but during high demand periods it can take up to 14 business days

What is the difference between the Directed Readings and the Senior Thesis courses?

Directed Readings:
This is your opportunity to devote an entire course to one historical field that interests you. Working under the supervision of a faculty member, you will read and discuss the foundational and recent literature from that field. Assignments (to total roughly fifty pages in length) will be historiographical in nature, including annotated bibliographies, book reviews, and/or historiographical essays.

Senior Thesis:
With the thesis course, you do intensive research, under the supervision of a faculty member, on a specific subject that interests you. The process is similar to what you would do for a course research paper, but you are able to go into much more depth with the primary sources on which the thesis will be based. The thesis should be roughly fifty pages in length.

How do I enrol in the Directed Readings or Senior Thesis course?

You will need special permission to enrol in the Directed Readings and the Senior Thesis course.  Students must have an average of at least 80% in their third-year history courses.  If you would like to enrol in either course, please contact Rebecca Northcott, Undergraduate Program Advisor,, with the following information:

  • Full name
  • Student number
  • Preferred supervising professor
  • Thesis/Directed Readings topic

With whom do I speak regarding the programs that the History department offers?

Please contact Rebecca Northcott, Undergraduate Advisor at 519-661-84962,

With whom do I speak about changing my degree module?

You will need to see the academic counselling office of your home faculty of registration.

If a course is full, can I get special permission to enter the class?

When a course is full students are encouraged to add themselves to the online waitlist.  Special permission will not be granted to enroll in a course once it is full.  

I've tried registering, but it won't work. Why?

The Registrar's office assigns registration appointment times for all students based on Intent to Register. These appointments are the first time that you are allowed access to online registration. Since courses can fill quickly, it is recommended that you register as soon as you are able.

Registration appointment dates begin mid-June. The earliest registration dates are assigned first to 4th year students, 3rd year, and then 2nd year. Please consult the academic calendar for beginning and end dates for web registration. Check your Student Centre website and follow MyPossibilities to find your registration appointment date.

If you did not complete Intent to Register, you won't be assigned an appointment date and will be unable to register. Please contact your home faculty's Academic Counselling office for a late Intent to Register (for Social Science: download Request for Degree Change).

If you are having problems adding courses through online registration, try contacting the Registration Telephone Help Line 519-661-2100 available Monday - Friday 9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.

I want to take a course at another University. How can I get my Letter of Permission (LOP) approved?

We are happy to approve Letters of Permission for students to take courses abroad. However, we no longer grant Letters of Permission for courses that are not officially administered by an accredited University and taught by a faculty member with an advanced degree in History. This means that in order to receive a Letter of Permission, your course must be part of the official timetable at that University and the instructor must have either a Master’s or PhD (or equivalent level degree) in History or a related discipline. In order to have a Letter of Permission approved for the course you wish to take, you MUST provide us with the following documentation:

1) A link to the University’s course listing in the course calendar showing a brief course description, and any prerequisites that apply
2) A link to the course listing in the University’s timetable showing that the course is being offered during the session in which you plan to take it
3) The course instructor's official listing (eg., the faculty listing from the instructor’s home university)
4) The number of contact hours (hours of official instruction - lecture hours; length and frequency of tutorials or labs, etc.) associated with the course
5) A link to the current course syllabus (if the current syllabus is not available, you may submit a link to the previous year’s syllabus but please make every effort to provide us with accurate and up-to-date information)

Please do not pay tuition or arrange travel and/or accommodation for a course until you receive official notice that your Letter of Permission has been approved by Western University. We cannot guarantee approval in advance, even if that course has been approved in previous years.