The Alma College History Department offers a rare opportunity for undergraduates to combine an international educational experience, spending three weeks in Britain in our intensive May (Spring) Term, with research in one of the world’s greatest documentary repositories, the British National Archives (formerly the Public Record Office/PRO) in Kew, London(Shown Above).
Advanced undergraduates receive individual mentoring as they engage in research in a closely supervised small class setting; the program is not just for academic “superstars” capable of self-directed Honors level work, but offers an opportunity for any well-motivated student willing to put the time into a demanding but ultimately very rewarding experience.
The London program offers such students the chance to:
- Take a semester-long on-campus “Pre-seminar” to learn the rudiments of advanced research and use of archives, developing a long research paper on a World War II topic tailored to the specific interests of the student and to the holdings available in the College Library that can support developing such a topic.
- Build on this with a month-long May Term course in London. Students work in the PRO and see major related sites such as:
- Churchill’s wartime underground headquarters
- Battle cruiser HMS Belfast (fired first shots on D-Day)
- Imperial War Museum
- Royal Air Force Museum at Hendon
- Portsmouth (Headquarters of the Royal Navy)
- Visit a variety of sites of broader historical interest; in recent years we have visited:
- Hampton Court Palace (Henry VIII’s lavish residence, where he dated two unfortunate wives before he beheaded them)
- Blenheim Palace (Churchill’s grandiose birthplace near Oxford)
- Medieval Westminster Abbey and Winchester Cathedral
- The Roman baths and Medieval Abbey in Bath
- Stunning Conwy Castle in mountainous north Wales
- Edinburgh, the scenic capital of Scotland
Where appropriate, students develop these papers in their Senior year into theses for graduation with Honors.
Students present the best papers at conferences such as those of the Michigan Academy and Phi Alpha Theta, the history honorary society. Alma College has, especially considering its size, earned a disproportionate share of best paper prizes at the regional Phi Alpha Theta annual meetings.
- Applications for graduate/professional school make you stand out as an exceptional candidate in a highly competitive market
- Evidence of extraordinary experience in project development, sophisticated writing, and problem-solving skills also gives you an advantage in searching for positions directly out of College
- A significant international experience, as instead of spending a few days in a tourist hotel, students live in apartments in a “real” London neighborhood.
Professor Furlong has lead several student trips to study in the British National Archives.
Dr Furlong's primary interests are; 20th century South Africa (especially Afrikaner nationalism, World War II, politics of science and AIDS, African National Congress), and comparative fascism