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Graduate Department of Religion

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Historical Studies

Historical Studies PhD Requirements (Spring, 2012)

Doctoral students in historical studies are to provide the following documents with the assistance of their advisor.

I.  First Year Program Petition: No later than the middle of the second semester of residence each student must submit a Program Petition comprised of the following information:

A. A list of courses taken in the first year of residence and intended in the second.The degree requires 72 hours of coursework. At least 15 hours must be completed in the historical period of concentration. Another 12 hours are assigned to the minor area. Up to 24 hours credit may be given for graduate work completed prior to admission. The final 12 hours may be used for dissertation research.

B. Date of languages certified and date of any subsequent examinations.One modern language certification must be completed no later than the first day of classes of the second semester of study. The second modern language must be completed no later than the first day of classes of the fourth semester of study. The petition must show a relationship between the chosen language expertise and intended area of research. Additional languages and the methods of their certification will be included in the dissertation proposal. (See below at III.)

C. A list of intended qualifying examinations and proposed examiners.The qualifying exams are comprised of two written exams, the second having two options, and an oral exam in defense of the written. The written exams are as follows:

1. A major period exam (either Early and Medieval; Reformation; or American) which will be a closed book, eight hour exam (4 hours of organization and 4 hours of writing);

2. A minor area exam related to (1) the remaining two periods or (2) one other period and a focused topic (person, idea, or event). This second exam will be open book and given to the student on Monday of the exam period. It is to be returned the following Friday at noon. Though there is no page limit for this exam, it is anticipated that it will consist of approximately twenty, double-spaced pages. The oral defense will be held within ten days of the completion of the two exams.  The oral exam will be in defense of the two written exams.

D. A short (no more than 1.5 pages) description of the intended dissertation topic and tentative question for its analysis.

The Program Petition will be reviewed by the historical studies faculty and revisions may be required prior to its approval. The faculty member specified as the dissertation director will work with the student in making these revisions, if any.

II.  Second Year Program Petition: No later than the second week of the fourth semester of residence and with the assistance of the faculty advisor, the student will:

A.  Update the First Year Program Petition to specify which parts have been completed and which are outstanding

B.  Demonstrate successful completion of two courses in another field, e.g., sociology, anthropology, and women’s studies. If grades have yet to be received in either of these courses, they may be provided as an addendum to the petition at the end of the semester.

C.  Include a copy of a research paper written as part of regular coursework.  The paper need not be on the dissertation topic, though some relationship is advisable. The major purpose of the paper is to demonstrate the student’s ability to present and argue a thesis from appropriate evidence.

The entire area faculty will review the petition and decide whether the student may proceed to petition to take his or her qualifying exams. Students who are not permitted to proceed to exams or who fail their exams will receive the MA upon successful completion of the MA thesis of approximately 40 pages.

III.  Examination Petition: No later than the fifth semester of residence, the student must petition to take the Qualifying Examinations. The examinations themselves are to be taken no later than the sixth semester of residence. The Examination Petition must include the following information:

A.  A request for the appointment of a dissertation committee, according to the current regulations of the GDR;

B.  Identification of the exams to be taken;

C.  Designation of all faculty who have agreed to administer the qualifying exams; and

D.  A copy of the reading list for each exam, as approved by the examiner.

The qualifying examinations will graded by their respective examiner and reviewed by the historical studies faculty. At a meeting in which at least half the area faculty is present, the successful completion of examinations and the awarding of honors as appropriate will be determined by a vote of no less than four members of the faculty. 

Students who successfully pass the examinations will proceed to the dissertation proposal. The faculty may — but need not — allow the remediation of any deficiency in the examinations. In such cases, the examinations must be passed by the beginning of the seventh semester of residence. Those who do not successfully pass the examinations will be awarded the M.A. degree upon the completion of the Master’s thesis and will not continue in the program.

IV.  Dissertation Proposal: Upon successful completion of the qualifying examinations, the student is to prepare a dissertation proposal. This proposal may be submitted to the student’s dissertation committee for approval at any time, but no later than the end of the seventh semester of studies. Any revisions required by the committee must be completed no later than the end of the subsequent semester. The dissertation proposal is to contain the following elements:

A.  List of faculty who have agreed to constitute the dissertation committee and designation of the first reader;

B.  Description of the dissertation project, including hypothesis, argument, availability of resources in support of the argument; and historiographical significance;

C.  Chapter outline; and

D.  Selected bibliography.

The dissertation must be completed and approved no later than four years following the successful completion of qualifying exams