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History Graduate Student Handbook

As a graduate student in the History Department, you are part of a diverse and talented group of students who are working in a variety of fields at the M.A. and Ph.D. levels. Your instructors and courses will challenge you in ways that will contribute to your professional development. Recent graduates from our program have done extremely well in securing employment in both universities and colleges and in nonacademic settings and in gaining admission to degree programs at outstanding universities. We hope and expect that you will achieve similar success.

The History Department’s graduate office oversees the department’s M.A. and Ph.D. programs and students. It consists of Director of Graduate Studies (DGS) Professor Paul Milazzo, and Administrative Specialist Brenda Nelson.

The graduate office can help with matters related to your program of graduate study, so please bring your questions, problems, or issues to our attention. The graduate secretary is usually available during regular business hours; the DGS will hold office hours that he will post at the beginning of each semester. He can be reached at any time by email and will be glad to meet with you at a mutually convenient time other than scheduled office hours. The graduate secretary has a wealth of knowledge about administrative issues. The DGS can provide information or advice about degree requirements, courses of study, and other academic matters. Please contact them as appropriate, and they will do whatever they can to help.

Graduate Students have their own organization, the History Department Graduate Association (HGSA), which can provide information and assistance on many important matters. Each year, HGSA elects two graduate students, one in the M.A. program, and the other in the Ph.D. program, to serve with faculty members on the History Department’s Graduate Committee. Student members will not attend any meetings or portions of meetings where student business is discussed.

The pages that follow contain some basic information about graduate study in history. To supplement it, please rely on other sources of information. Among the most valuable are:

M.A. Student Program Guidelines and Reminders

The History Department has two M.A. tracks, one that requires the writing of a thesis, and a second that requires a comprehensive exam rather than a thesis. Full-time M.A. students, whether they select the thesis or non-thesis option, should plan to complete their degrees in two academic years. Those students who wish to enter a Ph.D. program in history should select the thesis option.

Ph.D. Student Program Guidelines and Reminders

The History Department offers Ph.D. study in many geographic and topical fields. Because of a requirement of the Ohio Board of Regents, the dissertation field must be in―contemporary history, which is defined as the period since the end of World War I.

History Department PR Policy

At their discretion, instructors in History Department courses may assign a graduate student a grade of PR (or Progress), if that grade is permissible in the relevant course. The grade is for a student who does not complete all course requirements by the end of the semester in which the course is offered. The grade of PR is supposed to be a temporary grade to be replaced by a letter grade once the student completes the outstanding work for the course.

Students should avoid taking PRs in the courses they need for graduation. (Exceptions are dissertation or thesis hours, where, again, the grade of PR is automatic until the submission of the thesis or dissertation.) Students should remove PRs from their record as soon as possible by submitting the outstanding work and satisfying any other conditions that the instructor imposed at the time of assigning the PR grade. Students with an excessive number of PRs will receive warnings from the DGS that they are not making satisfactory progress toward the completion of their degrees. Failure to remove the PRs could result in the termination of university financial aid, such as a tuition waiver or a teaching assistantship.

The History Department discourages students from taking PRs in their courses. The department is also concerned that some students take far too long–sometimes years–to complete outstanding work in courses where they have earned PRs. Accordingly, the department adopted a policy on the grade of PR, effective with the beginning of academic year 2007-8. This is the policy:

Any grade of PR assigned in a history course that an M.A. or Ph.D. student needs for graduation, other than thesis or dissertation hours, shall be changed to a grade of F if the student does not complete the outstanding work in that course by the beginning of the first semester in which the student is enrolled that is at least one year after the end of the semester in which the student earned the PR. (For example, a student who earned a PR in a course taken in the Fall Semester would have until the beginning of the next Fall Semester in the subsequent academic year to complete the outstanding work necessary to remove the PR from his/her transcript.)

The student may ask the director of graduate studies for a one-semester extension before the PR shall be changed to an F. The extension shall be for reasons of illness, extenuating personal circumstances, or other exceptional conditions. If the director of graduate studies denies the extension, the student may appeal to the Graduate Committee, which by majority vote (with the graduate director not voting) may grant a one-semester extension.

This policy shall not prevent the instructor of record in any course from imposing a shorter deadline or attaching any other conditions to the granting of a PR.

This policy took effect at the beginning of Fall Quarter 2007-8. It will not apply retroactively to grades of PR earned in previous years.

Enrollment during the Semester in Which You Graduate

The university requires that you must be enrolled during the semester in which you graduate. Current rules require you to take at least one credit hour if you are an M.A. or PhD. students. If you have a teaching assistantship, tuition waiver, or fellowship that carries a tuition waiver during the semester in which you graduate, that financial award will cover your tuition. Otherwise, you will be responsible for paying your tuition costs during that final semester of university enrollment.

If you complete all requirements for your degree, apply for graduation, defend your thesis or dissertation, and submit the final version of your thesis or dissertation after the deadline for any given semester but shortly before the beginning of classes for the following semester, you will not have to enroll during that subsequent semester, provided you were enrolled for the required minimum number of hours in that earlier semester. You will have to pay a nominal fee to renew your application for graduation during that subsequent semester, which will be the semester during which you receive your degree. TAD has a deadline for Early Filers—those who missed the deadline for the intended semester of graduation but who are able to meet a later deadline before the beginning of the following semester. Please consult the DGS and/or TAD office for further guidance.

Office Matters

The main office of the History Department is on the fourth floor of Bentley Annex (BA). The mailboxes are in BA 452. The department administrator is Sherry Gillogly, Bentley Annex 460, 740-597-1853. The department chair is Associate Professor Brian Schoen.

TA Offices

TAs have offices in the basement of Bentley Annex. The department does not have sufficient office space for graduate students who are not teaching. Most offices have computers. The department has a limited supply of computers and gives first priority to offices assigned to Ph.D. students.

The key to your office will also open the doors to the main office, Bentley Annex 452, which contains the mailboxes, and to the conference rooms, Bentley Annex 402 and Bentley Annex 462. Please lock the doors to these rooms if you use them after regular business hours. Be sure to lock your office door, too, when you leave. Do not give your key to anybody else. I f you lose your key, you will have to pay for a replacement and, perhaps, for a change to the lock. It is also important to return your key at the end of the academic year or the end of your service as a TA. Failure to do so may mean that you will have to pay for a change to the lock.

TA offices do not have telephones. Please do not give out the department’s number as a work telephone, if doing so means that the office staff will get reminders about your medical appointments or inquiries about your employment from credit card companies.

Because of space limitations, most offices have two occupants. Please be considerate of your officemate.

Mailboxes and Email

All full-time, resident graduate students have a mailbox in Bentley Annex 452. Please check your mailbox frequently. We will send you as many communications as possible by email. But some information will come the old-fashioned way. Even if you have a mailbox in Sing Tao, you should check your Bentley Annex mailbox often. Some communications from the History Department will go only to your Bentley Annex mailbox, not your Sing Tao mailbox. Failure to check your email or your mailbox is not a legitimate excuse for being unaware of official notifications from the History Department.

If you use an email account other than the one the University has provided you, please make sure that you set your university account to forward your mail to your primary account (e.g. gmail, yahoo, hotmail). University communications will be sent to your university email address.


If you need to make copies, please check with the graduate secretary to get a code that will allow you to use the copy machine. The machine will automatically log the number of copies you make. The department will pay for any copies that you must make for a course in which you are a TA. It will also pay for some professional copies, such as submitting a proposal for a conference paper or an article for publication. You should not make copies for personal use. Abuses of this honor system could result in the loss of copying privileges.

Supplies, Postage, and Fax

The department will provide supplies–pens, folders, etc.–that you need to meet your responsibilities as a TA. Please talk to one of department administrators about getting those supplies. If you need to send a fax or a letter for professional purposes, check with the graduate secretary.


All Ohio University buildings are smoke-free.