Promotion to PhD

The promotion from MA to PhD is a major step, to be considered carefully by both the student and the Department. After successful completion of the MA Exam, a student who wishes to continue on for the PhD degree in the Department must submit to the Graduate Studies Committee an application to be considered for promotion to the PhD program. The materials required to apply for promotion to the History PhD program must be submitted to the History Graduate Office by the end of the quarter in which the student completed the History MA degree.

  • The student applies for promotion to the History PhD program beginning in the quarter following the completion of the History MA program.
  • Students who complete their MA exams during the Spring Quarter should be aware that, except in very unusual circumstances, the Graduate Studies Committee does not meet during the Summer Quarter. Therefore, if decisions about promotion are to be made before the beginning of Autumn Quarter, the process of consideration should begin as early as possible during the Spring Quarter.

The student must submit a 1-2 page (single-spaced) application for promotion statement that includes:

  • a summary of the student’s work for the History MA program (fields, faculty and seminar paper);
  • the student's plans for future study including a description of the student’s proposed PhD fields and faculty.  Since the faculty members who supervise the student's PhD fields serve as the student's Doctoral Supervisory Committee, the student should speak with each of them to confirm the faculty member’s willingness to serve in this capacity before submitting the promotion application to the Graduate Studies Committee.  The student should list the fields in order of importance on the statement of purpose. The faculty member who supervises the student’s first (i.e., primary) field would serve as Chair of the student's Doctoral Supervisory Committee.  Graduate fields are ranked in descending order. That is, expectations for a student's first field should be greater than for the third, and so on. PhD fields must be drawn from at least two divisions; at least one of the four fields should offer genuine diversity from the student's primary area of concentration.
  • a brief description of the student’s proposed dissertation topic.

Two letters of support submitted by History faculty with whom the student has worked previously (usually at the MA level) so they can address the student's capacity for graduate work at the doctoral level.

  • One letter must be provided by the faculty member who will supervise the student's proposed first PhD field and Chair the Supervisory Committee.
  • These letters are confidential and must be submitted directly by the faculty members to the History Graduate Office at the time that the student submits the statement of purpose for promotion to the PhD program.

Promotion application materials (including the faculty letters) should be addressed to the History Graduate Studies Committee.

The History Graduate Studies Committee is responsible for decisions on promotion to the PhD program based upon a review of the student's record. The Committee may consult with those History faculty members with whom the student has worked and with whom the student proposes to work.

Students are notified in writing of the Committee’s decision on the promotion application.

  • If the student is not promoted to the PhD program, the History Graduate Office will inform the Graduate School and the student will not be allowed to register for any further coursework as a History graduate student.
  • Students who are promoted to the PhD program must meet with the Department’s Director of Graduate Studies to discuss their promotion and their plans for the PhD  At this meeting the DGS discusses the Committee's evaluation of the student's file, answers any questions the student might have, and gives the student the Request Form For Establishing A Doctoral Supervisory Committee.