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History Ph.D. Comprehensive Examinations

Ph.D. students must take comprehensive examinations in their three historical fields of study, but not in the cognate field.

In order to schedule these exams, the student must have completed all coursework required for the degree and have removed any grade of PR or I from those courses (other than dissertation hours). The student must take a written examination of between four and eight hours in each of the four fields. After successfully passing the written exams, the student will take an oral exam of approximately two hours in which the examiners from all four fields participate. Usually, only one faculty member supervises each of the student's fields. Occasionally, however, two faculty examiners may share responsibility for a particular field. The written exams must be taken before the oral exam. All exams, both written and oral, must be taken during a single semester during the regular academic year, during, that is, either the Fall or Spring semester. Faculty examiners are responsible for providing the student with timely notification of his or her performance—pass or fail—on each written exam prior to the oral exam. The examiners should also promptly notify the graduate office of the results.

In preparing for the exams, the student should complete the History Ph.D. Comprehensive Examination Fields Form [PDF]. The signatures of the examiner and the student on the form mean that they have agreed about the format, length, and scope of the exam and about the reading, coursework, and subject matter that the exam will cover. The student should file the completed form with the department's graduate office and arrange a date for each written exam with the examiner. The written exams must take place on Friday; the oral exam can occur at any mutually convenient time for the student and the examiners. Once the student has settled the dates of the exams, he or she must inform the graduate office. Ample, prior notification of the schedule for comprehensive exams is essential, as the graduate secretary has to insure that a room is available and that the faculty members provide copies of their exams in advance. No exam will occur without ample, prior notification of the graduate office.

Once students successfully complete their written and oral exams, their committee must file a form notifying the College of Arts & Sciences of the results of the exam: