In addition to the requirements imposed by the Graduate School, the following requirements must be met:
The coursework requirements for the Professional Track and the Academic Track differ somewhat, as can be seen in the chart below:
Additional Notes on Coursework:
1. Core Seminar (HIS 524/HIS526, HIS 525/HIS 527: 3 credits each semester): This course provides an intensive, year-long introduction to historical theory and research. It also familiarizes students with the thematic organization of the graduate program. All full-time students in the Academic Track of the master’s program, as well as in the doctoral (Ph.D.) program, are required to take this course, which is offered only as a fall/spring sequence, during their first year.
2. Two or Three Field Seminars (3 credits each): The department offers a number of Field Seminars designed to familiarize students with the history and historiography of specific regions and periods. These courses include: Medieval and Early Modern Europe (HIS 501) and Modern Europe (502); Early American History (521) and Modern American History (522); Colonial Latin America (541) and Modern Latin America (542), all of which are offered on a one- or two-year cycle. In addition, the following Field Seminars are offered in African and Asian history: Introduction to African and/or Asian History (562), South Asian History (563), Chinese History (564), and Japanese History (565); note that some of these Field Seminars may be offered slightly less frequently. Some Field Seminars are populated with students in the Master of Arts in Teaching program (M.A.T.), as well as with M.A. and Ph.D. students. Master’s students in the Academic Track are required to take two field seminars, while master’s students in the Professional Track are required to take three field seminars. Students interested in concentrating in the history of a specific region are encouraged, but not required, to complete both parts of the Field Seminar sequence for that region where available.
3. Two Theme Seminars (3 credits each). The theme seminars are the heart of the department’s commitment to the theoretically informed, interdisciplinary study of history. Topics, approaches, and instructors vary, but these seminars generally fall within the rubric of our program’s theme clusters: Gender, Race, and Sexuality; Nation-State, Civil Society, and Popular Politics; Empire, Colonialism, and Globalization; and Environment, Health, Science, and Technology. Master’s students in both the Professional and Academic Tracks are required to take two theme seminars. A minimum of two theme seminars are offered each semester. Topics change regularly, and students are free to choose among the theme seminars being offered.
4. Directed Readings for M.A. Candidates (HIS 584/HIS 585, 3 credits each): Three credits of directed readings will normally be taken in the Fall of the initial year, to enable the student to meet regularly with his or her Advisor and address any deficiencies in preparation for the graduate program. The course may be repeated with the same or other members of the faculty as an elective in later semesters.
5. Four or Five Electives (3 credits each): The remaining 15 credits (for students in the Professional Track) or 12 credits (for students in the Academic Track) can be selected from Field Seminars, Theme Seminars, the graduate courses offered in conjunction with other departments (e.g., Sociology, English, Art History, Africana Studies, Women’s and Gender Studies, and Cultural Analysis and Theory), and Directed Readings. Directed Readings may or may not be in connection with preparation for the Oral Exam or for an optional Master’s Thesis (see below).
B. Oral Examination: By the time the student has completed 24 credits (e.g. fall semester of his/her second year for a full-time student), he or she must secure the agreement of two faculty members (one of whom must be the student’s Advisor) to serve on the orals examination committee. The Advisor will examine the student in his or her major geo-political field (Modern Europe, Colonial North America, etc.); the second faculty member will examine the student in a complementary field (usually based on a theme seminar). The exam will be taken at the end of the student’s course of study. At least two months before the student’s desired date for the Oral Exam, the student will present the members of his or her orals committee with a list of books and topics to be examined. Students may enroll in a Directed Readings course (sometimes termed an Orals workshop) to prepare for the examination. Students are responsible for arranging a mutually acceptable date and time for the exam (and for notifying the Graduate Program Coordinator well in advance so that the necessary paperwork can be processed). The exam will last approximately one hour, and it will be graded as “pass with distinction,” “pass,” or “fail.” In the event of failure, the student may petition to take the exam a second time at a later date.
C. Master’s Thesis Option: Students may elect to write a master’s thesis. While there is no specified length for this, the expectation is that the thesis will be in the range of 40 to 70 pages. Students pursuing this option must enroll in HIS 586 (Orals and Thesis Preparation for M.A. Candidates) and/or HIS 584/585 (Directed Readings for M.A. Candidates). The thesis writing will be supervised by the student’s Advisor, and—for students pursuing this option—a substantial portion of the oral examination will be devoted to the defense of the thesis.
D. Language Requirement: Master’s students with a concentration in European history must pass a written exam in an appropriate foreign language. Students in Latin American history must pass a written exam in Spanish or Portuguese. The other areas of concentration currently do not require a foreign language for the master’s degree.
E. Master’s Students Seeking to Enter the Ph.D. Program: Master’s students seeking to enter the Ph.D. Program must submit a formal application to the Graduate School. Admission into the Ph.D. program is not guaranteed. Meanwhile, M.A. students are welcome and indeed encouraged to participate in all departmental activities (see below).
F. Advising and Evaluation: When students are accepted into the master’s program, they are assigned a first-year Advisor based on the areas of interest indicated by the student in his or her application. Students may change Advisors with the permission of the Graduate Director (of course, the permission of the faculty member who is to be the new Advisor is also required, as is the permission of the original Advisor).
Advisors will meet with new students to discuss program requirements and the student’s individual course of study, and they will meet with their advisees on a regular basis as they progress through the program. Ideally, students should consult with their Advisors about their course of study (including general course selection, language requirements, and enrollment in courses outside the department) at the beginning of each semester.
For more detailed information on the department’s policies on evaluation for all graduate students (including Master’s students), please click on Graduate Student Policies.
G. Activities Outside the Classroom: Many students become involved in a variety of scholarly and collegial activities within and outside the History Department, and we welcome student initiatives to help us build a collegial community. Students are encouraged to take full advantage of the activities of interdisciplinary and community-building programs on campus: the Humanities Institute, the Latin American and Caribbean Studies Center, the Initiative in the Historical Social Sciences, the Graduate Student Organization, etc., as well as our own departmental Colloquium for faculty and graduate students and the Department’s various welcome, end-of-the-year, and holiday parties (when we really count on the volunteerism of everybody!). We also urge you to take full advantage of scholarly activities in the greater metropolitan area, and, if you are interested, to seek out opportunities to participate in scholarly conferences both here and at other institutions.
Please feel free to bring ideas, initiatives, or concerns to the Department’s Director of Graduate Studies, and/or to the Department Chair. For more administrative issues, our Graduate Program Coordinator, Roxanne Fernandez, is ready to answer questions or help you in any other way she can. Susan Grumet, Departmental Administrator, is on top of just about all facets of this department, and is especially helpful when it comes to the Undergraduate Program.