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Department Of History Images In History


Master of Arts in History

Promotion to the PhD Program

The promotion from M.A. to Ph.D. is a major step, to be considered carefully by both the student and the Department. After successful completion of the field examinations or the divisional examination, a student who wishes to continue on for the Ph.D. degree in the Department should submit to the Graduate Studies Committee a request to be considered for promotion to the Ph.D. program.
Students who complete their M.A. 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 promotion request should include a brief (1 or 2 page, single-spaced) statement of purpose indicating the student's plans for future study and specifying which fields the student proposes to offer for the Ph.D. field exams. The student should list the fields in order of importance. Graduate fields are ranked in descending order. That is, expectations for a student's primary (first) field should be greater than for the student's second field, and expectations for the second field should be greater than for the third, and so on. If a student has done a two-field M.A., these two fields are usually continued at the Ph.D. level. One of the two will normally constitute the student's first field. If a student has done the divisional M.A. in U.S. history, the student will not have any formal fields to carry over into the Ph.D. program. However, since students specializing in U.S. history are required to offer at least one chronological (early America, 19th or 20th century) U.S. field at the Ph.D. level, most divisional M.A. students select this field based on their divisional M.A. work.
Students should determine their fields and their supervising faculty members in consultation with their major adviser. The 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. Since the faculty members who supervise the student's Ph.D. fields serve as the student's Doctoral Supervisory Committee, the student should speak with each of them to confirm that they are willing to serve in this capacity before submitting the promotion request to the Graduate Studies Committee. Please note that the faculty member who supervises the student's first (i.e., primary) field will serve as Chair of the student's Doctoral Supervisory Committee.

The Graduate Studies Committee is responsible for making the promotion decisions. Upon receipt of the student's promotion request, the Committee reviews the student's record and may consult with those History faculty members with whom the student has worked and with whom the student proposes to work. Written notification of the Committee's decision is sent to the student together with a request for the student to make an appointment to meet with the Chair of the Graduate Studies Committee (the Graduate Program Coordinator) by a specified date. At this meeting the GPC discusses the Committee's evaluation of the student's file, answers any questions the student might have, and if the student has been promoted, gives the student the Request Form For Establishing A Doctoral Supervisory Committee (otherwise known as the "blue form").

Students who are promoted to the Ph.D. program will normally be expected to establish their Doctoral Supervisory Committee officially by the end of the next quarter (excluding Summer Quarter).

If the student is not promoted to the Ph.D. program, the Graduate Advisers will inform the Graduate School and the student will not be allowed to register for any further coursework as a History graduate student.