College of Arts and Sciences

Department of History

Degree Requirements


Master of Arts in History (Thesis Option)

Checklist: M.A. in History

Foreign Language: Knowledge of a foreign language is not required for admission to the master's program, although all applicants are asked to give evidence of experience in at least one (1) foreign language. A student's major professor may require a departmentally administered written translation examination in one (1) or more languages for completion of the M.A. degree. The stipulated language requirement must be fulfilled prior to registration for the Master's Thesis, Research, and/or Examination (History 700), or by the beginning of the student's third semester in the program. If a student has English as a second language and if it is appropriate to his or her program, the student may count the native language as the foreign language. Students are encouraged to satisfy this requirement as soon as possible.

Program Requirements:The program consists of 30 credit hours beyond the bachelor's degree; 6 of the 30 credit hours must be Master's Research, Thesis, and/or Examination (History 700). At least 21 hours must be in courses and seminar work at the 400 and 500 level taken for traditional letter grades (A–F). Of these 21 hours of course work, up to 6 credits of non-graduate credit may be used. Six (6) of these credit hours may be taken outside the history department from courses listed in the Graduate School Bulletin. At least 15 hours must be taken in the history department; these must include Historiography (History 580), one (1) 3-credit research seminar that is linked with three (3) credits of History 700: Master's Research (taken with student's major professor), one (1) field course in the general or primary field and one (1) field course in an area outside the primary and general fields. Course work outside of these core requirements at the 400 or 500 level should be taken in the student's fields of study. All M.A. students are expected to take at least 3 graduate-level, 3-credit, letter-graded courses in their primary or general field, and at least 2 additional graduate-level, 3-credit, letter-graded courses. If required courses are not available during the student's tenure in the program, appropriate substitutes may be taken (History 597, independent readings, etc.) with the approval of the major professor and the director of graduate studies.

Primary Fields of Study
The Primary Field is embedded in the General Field.  The Primary Field provides expertise for student's research focus as expressed in the master’s thesis.
List of Field of Study Faculty

Colonial and Early Republic 
19th Century U.S. 
Modern U.S.
U.S. Foreign Relations 
U.S. Women and Gender 
U.S. Environment   
U.S. West 
U.S. Race and Ethnicity    
Atlantic World

Reformation Europe
18th Century Europe
Modern France
Modern Germany
Modern Britain
Modern Russia/Soviet Union/Post-Soviet
Modern China
Modern Japan
West Africa
Colonial Africa 

General Fields
The General Field provides a broader geographical, chronological, and historiographical framework for the primary field.
List of Field of Study Faculty

U.S.
Early Modern Europe
Modern Europe
Public

East Asia
World

Note: For students looking to study with a General Field in World History, the additional course requirements of History 570 (World History Theory and Methods) and History 571 (Topics in World History). Checklist: M.A. in History, World History. History 570 and History 571 will serve as the field course requirements. The student must secure approval for the thesis topic from the major professor and the coordinator of world history.

 

The Master's Thesis: Students taking the thesis option in the M.A. program must complete a master's thesis for the purpose of demonstrating advanced research skills in preparation for the pursuit of the doctoral degree. The student must file a program of study with the Chair of the History Department by March 1 of the second semester of enrollment in the masters program. The program of study establishes the student's committee (with the major professor as chair), outlines a course of study, and proposes a thesis topic. M.A. students in the thesis track are expected to hold a T-1 meeting by the end of the second semester of enrollment. At the T-1 meeting, the student will present the committee with a thesis proposal for the committee's approval. If necessary, meetings with the thesis committee will continue until such approval is achieved. The major professor will place a memo in the student's file when agreement has been reached and will provide a copy to the student and other members of the committee.

Oral Examination: When the master's thesis has been accepted by the thesis committee, the student will present him- or herself for an oral examination. The oral examination must be scheduled in advance by the student in consultation with the major professor and should ordinarily be attended by members of the student's thesis committee. It will be conducted in accordance with the Policies and Procedures of the Graduate School and will center primarily on the thesis and only secondarily on course work. The student is required to provide the history department with a hardbound copy of his/her thesis once the degree is completed. Any departmental expenses incurred in submitting the completed thesis (office printing, xeroxing, and thesis binding) will be charged to the student's account.


Master of Arts in History (Non-Thesis Option)

A non-thesis M.A. degree is normally understood to be a terminal degree.

Foreign Language: Knowledge of a foreign language is not required for admission to the master's program, although all applicants are asked to give evidence of experience in at least one (1) foreign language. A student's major professor may require a departmentally administered written translation examination in one (1) or more languages for completion of the M.A. degree. The stipulated language requirement must be fulfilled prior to registration for the Special Problems, Directed Study, and/or Examination (History 702). If a student has English as a second language and if it is appropriate to his or her program, the student may count the native language as the foreign language. Students are encouraged to satisfy this requirement as soon as possible.

Program Requirements: The program consists of 30 credit hours beyond the bachelor's degree; at least 26 credit hours must be in course and seminar work at the 400 and 500 level, taken for traditional letter grades (A–F). Of these 26 hours of course work, up to 9 credits of non-graduate (300- or 400-level) courses may be used. Six (6) of these credit hours may be taken outside the history department from courses listed in the Graduate School Bulletin. At least 21 credit hours must be taken in the history department and must include Historiography (History 580), at least 2 field courses from 2 different fields of study and at least 2 seminars in which research papers are prepared. Four (4) credit hours of Master's Special Problems, Directed Study, and/or Examination (History 702) must be taken and should be devoted to the preparation of scholarly work approved and directed by the student's major professor and by an advisory committee made up of professors from the student's 2 fields of study. The major professor will preside as chair. If required courses are not available during the student's tenure in the program, appropriate substitutes may be taken (History 597, independent readings, etc.) with the approval of the major professor and the director of graduate studies.

The student must file a program of study with the Chair of the History Department by the end of the second semester of enrollment in the masters program. The program establishes the student's committee and outlines a course of study.

Note: For students looking to study with a General Field in World History, the additional course requirements of History 570 (World History Theory and Methods) and History 571 (Topics in World History). Checklist: M.A. in History, World History. History 570 and History 571 will serve as the field course requirements. The student must secure approval for the thesis topic from the major professor and the coordinator of world history.

Oral Examination: A final oral examination will be scheduled and conducted in accordance with the Policies and Procedures of the Graduate School. The examination will concern the areas and periods covered in the seminars and field courses taken in the master's program. The student must submit to each member of the advisory committee, at least 2 weeks prior to the date of the examination, a copy of the work prepared in History 702, as well as polished copies of the research papers prepared in the 2 seminars. (If more than 2 seminars were taken, the student and the major professor shall stipulate which 2 papers shall be submitted.) After gaining the approval of the advisory committee for each of the seminar papers, the student must pass the final oral examination. The papers must be deposited in the student's departmental file for permanent retention.

Academic Standards: The academic standards set forth in the Policies and Procedures of the Graduate School will be strictly observed. M.A. students who fall below a 3.0 cumulative grade point average in any 2 semesters will be permanently barred from further enrollment. The director of graduate studies will send a letter informing the dean of the Graduate School that the student will be barred from further enrollment in graduate study in history and stating the reasons for the decision. A copy will be sent to the student. Only grades of B or better will be accepted for program credit.


Doctor of Philosophy in History

The PhD program in History at WSU trains professional researchers who are competent in historical theory and methods.  Our program prepares students for careers in historical research, public history, and teaching at colleges and universities.

PhD students must satisfy the requirements in three fields (Primary, General, and World/Comparative), and pass preliminary examinations in Primary and General Fields.

Checklist: Ph.D. in History


Primary Fields
(eight-hour Preliminary Exam)
The Primary Field is embedded in the General Field.  The Primary Field provides expertise for student's research focus as expressed in the doctoral dissertation.
List of Field of Study Faculty

Colonial and Early Republic 
19th Century U.S. 
Modern U.S.
U.S. Foreign Relations 
U.S. Women and Gender 
U.S. Environment   
U.S. West 
U.S. Race and Ethnicity    
Atlantic World

Reformation Europe
18th Century Europe
Modern France
Modern Germany
Modern Britain
Modern Russia/Soviet Union/Post-Soviet
Modern China
Modern Japan
West Africa
Colonial Africa 

Please note:
All students must consult with their major professors to select appropriate General and Comparative Fields. A Public History student has the option of choosing the U.S. General Field as his/her Primary Field (8-hour exam) with approval of his/her major professor.
                           
                                                                                            
General Fields (six-hour Preliminary Exam)
The General Field provides a broader geographical, chronological, and historiographical framework for the primary field.
List of Field of Study Faculty

U.S.
Early Modern Europe
Modern Europe

Public
East Asia
World


World/Comparative Field

The World/Comparative Field provides spatial and temporal context to complement Primary and General Fields and to provide research and teaching breadth. The World/Comparative field must be different from the Primary and General Fields.
List of Field of Study Faculty

All PhD students, except those who take World History as their General Field,* must take 9 credits of graduate courses to fulfill the requirements of World/Comparative Field as their complementary field. The World/Comparative Field will have dual purposes of (1) providing opportunities that allow students to learn and explore global and comparative perspectives of students' research subjects, and (2) offering credible training in world history as a teaching field. All students are required to take 570, 571, and one more field course (either 571, a graduate field course outside their General Field, or a 400 or 500-level course outside History. They must pass all three courses with the minimun grade of B+. No preliminary examination is required for the World/Comparative Field.

*Students who pursue World History as their General Field must define their complementary field in consultation with their major professor, and take at least 9 credits of graduate field courses that will focus on specific geographic areas outside their Primary Field, or 6 credits of those courses and one course outside discipline of history.


General Program Requirements:
The program consists of 72 credit hours beyond the bachelor's degree.  The student's program of study will be formulated in close consultation with his/her faculty advisor subject to approval by the Graduate Studies Committee.  The student must file a program of study with the Chair of the History Department by the end of the second semester of enrollment in the doctoral program. The program establishes the student's committee, outlines a course of study, and proposes a dissertation topic. The Program of Study Form should be submitted to the Chair of the History Department. If students are seeking the transfer of graduate credits from another institution, they must list those courses when filing their program of study. See the Graduate School policy on transfering graduate credits for specifics.

Preliminary Examinations: Students will be examined in two fields: Primary and General.  The PhD program is designed to achieve depth and breadth of training.  Toward these ends, students are strongly encouraged to work in close consultation with their major advisor in selecting their examination fields.

Seminar Requirements: Six (6) credits in research seminars.  Seminars are research workshops taken in conjunction with the primary field.  Each 3-credit seminar is linked with three (3) credits of History 800: Dissertation Research (taken with student's major professor).  All six credits of seminar must be taken prior to Preliminary Examination (i.e., before fifth semester of study). Research seminars taken during masterís programs may not be transferred in or subtitled for this requirement.

Field Course Requirements: Nine (9) credits in the General and World/Comparative fields.

Other Requirements: History 580: Historiography (3 credits)
                               History 595: Teaching History in College (3 credits)
                               400/500 Elective (21 credits)
                               History 800: Dissertation Research (21 credits)

Pertinent courses taken for the master's degree may be included in the core program. Nine (9) credit hours may be taken outside the History Department.  Students transferring hours from another school may use up to a maximum of ½ of the graded credits for the master's and doctoral degrees. If required courses are not available during the student's tenure in the program, appropriate substitutes may be taken (History 597, independent readings, etc.) with the approval of the major professor and the Director of Graduate Studies.

Foreign Language: The language requirement for the Ph.D. shall consist of the language(s) stipulated by the major professor, with the understanding that a reading knowledge of at least one foreign language will be required. Continued funding is contingent upon passing the language examination by the end of the third semester of the doctoral program. All language requirements must be fulfilled prior to the scheduling of preliminary examinations (see Language Examination Guidelines).

Preliminary Examinations: Upon satisfying the core program and foreign language requirements, students will be eligible to take their preliminary examinations. Candidates are required to present themselves for examinations in two fields of study. Students should select their 3 preliminary examination fields in consultation with their major professor during their first semester of study. Examinations in the two fields will be both written and oral. Student's work in their World/Comparative Field may be evaluated in their preliminary examinations (either written or oral).  Students are expected to take their preliminary examinations no later than their fifth semester of full-time enrollment in the doctoral program. Examinations will be given during the fourth and fifth weeks of the fall and spring semesters. The Director of Graduate Studies will coordinate the development of both the written and oral stages of the preliminary examination and will be responsible for scheduling them. Continued funding is contingent upon passing the preliminary examinations by the end of the fifth semester of the doctoral program.

The Written Examination: The professor or professors responsible for composing the written examinations will determine their nature and scope. The Primary Field ordinarily provides the intellectual basis for the dissertation and the student's later emphasis in teaching and research. The student is expected to achieve depth and breadth of scholarly sophistication and mastery in this field. In the General and Comparative fields, the student is ordinarily expected to show broad and comprehensive knowledge to place his/her research into a broader spatial, temporal, and comparative context, and to support the ability to teach undergraduate courses.

The two portions of the written examination must be passed before the student may proceed to the oral preliminary examination. The examination in the two fields will be judged separately by the examiner(s) in each field. After all written examinations have been completed and evaluated, the examiners will report results of each field to the committee chair who will then report overall results to the Director of Graduate Studies.  The Director of Graduate Studies will then report exam results to the student.  Prior to this notification, each examiner is strictly enjoined to maintain absolute confidentiality with respect to the student's performance on the examination.

Students who fail part of their examinations will be required to retake only the part failed before proceeding to the oral examination. Second examinations are a final opportunity and may not ordinarily be scheduled sooner than 3 months after the date of the first written examination.

The Oral Examination: The oral preliminary examination will be conducted in accordance with the Policies and Procedures of the Graduate School and will be approximately 2 hours in length.  At least three faculty must be present at the oral examination, including one from each preliminary examination field.

The oral examination must be held during the same academic term in which the written examination is passed, except in the case of a reexamination. The History Department will not approve and forward to the Graduate School requests to schedule the oral preliminary examination until the director of graduate studies has confirmed that the student has passed all portions of the written examination. Because the Graduate School requires two weeks advance notice to schedule the oral preliminary examination, there will be an interval of at least two weeks between such notification and the taking of the oral examination.

The Doctoral Dissertation: The doctoral dissertation must be an original work of historical research in the candidate's primary field.  The committee will advise the student on all aspects of the preparation and presentation of the dissertation in accordance with the Policies and Procedures of the Graduate School. Students must hold a D‑1 meeting with the committee within four months of passing the oral exams at which time the student will present a dissertation proposal for the committee's approval. If necessary such meetings will continue until such approval is achieved. The major professor (chair of the committee) will at that point file a report on the proposal for the student's file and provide the student with a copy.

When the dissertation is written and approved by the committee, the candidate must schedule an oral dissertation defense. The dissertation defense will be conducted in accordance with the Policies and Procedures of the Graduate School. The student must enroll for the minimum hours as specified by the Graduate School during the semester in which the final examination is held. After passing the final examination, the student must provide a hardbound copy of the dissertation to the history department. Any departmental expenses incurred in submitting the completed dissertation (office printing, xeroxing, and thesis binding) will be charged to the student's account.

 

 

Department of History, PO Box 644030, Washington State University, Pullman, WA 99164-4030
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