Graduate Program Questions
How many courses should I take each quarter?
A normal academic load is 3 courses (12 units) per quarter. Teaching Assistants can enroll
in University Teaching (History 399) for four units, along with two regular graduate courses to maintain the required 12 units for full-time enrollment.
Graduate students can petition for part-time status. If you're interested in this option, please consult the Graduate Administrator.
How do I sign up for courses?
Students enroll in classes using webreg.
Courses can be easily added or changed via webreg during the first 2 weeks of classes.
Course descriptions and
registration deadlines for the 2013-2014 academic year are online.
What courses should a first-year Ph.D. student take?
Generally, a first-year graduate student should take (1) History & Theory; (2) a Colloquium in their first or second field, and (3) a first year Research Seminar/Proseminar combination along with an elective. There are many variations on this basic set of courses.
A first year student would choose from the following categories:
|HISTORY & THEORY
||History and Theory (200A)
||History and Theory continued (200B)
||First Field Colloquium
|PROSEMINAR OR ELECTIVE OR SECOND FIELD COLLOQUIUM
||Elective OR 2nd Field
||Proseminar (202) OR Elective OR 2nd Field
||1st Year Rsch Seminar (203) OR Elective OR 2nd Field
Two quarters of History and Theory (200A and 200B) are required courses for all first year Ph.D. students. Terminal M.A. students are not required to take these courses. Terminal M.A. students can take another related two-quarter sequence for their second field.
Not all first fields are offered every year, so some students may need to take courses in a second field in their first year.
Students should consult with their advisor(s) about courses that will work best for their fields and topics of interest.
What courses should a first year MA student take?
Full time MA students should take a total of 9 courses in one year:
What is a Colloquia Series?
- One complete 3-course Colloquia Series
- One Proseminar Research Seminar combination (202/203)
- Two related courses (such as History & Theory (200A & 200B); 2 courses from another Colloquia, or a series of courses approved by their advisor and the Graduate Director
- One course (291) related to oral examination or thesis preparation
- One elective
The Colloquia Series (220, 230, 240, 250, 260, 265, 270, 275) are reading courses designed to provide students with broad historiographic and teaching knowledge of an entire geographic and temporal field. A completed series of one of these (e.g.: 230ABC) is required for a First or Second Orals Examination field.
Students planning a first or second field in Early Modern Europe, Latin America and Caribbean, Modern Europe or East Asia (220ABC, 240ABC, 230ABC, 265ABC, 270ABCD, 275ABC) need to be aware that these colloquia are generally offered every other year.
Most of the Colloquia Series consist of three courses, but please note that some, such as 270, may consist of four courses.
Work in Colloquia fields not offered every year can sometimes be done in Directed Reading courses (291) under special circumstances (forms required); contact the appropriate faculty member(s) for guidance in course selection.
Generally, while we recommend that you take these courses in chronological order, you may take them out of order.
What is a Proseminar (202)? What is a Research Seminar (203)?
The Proseminar/Research Seminars (202/203) are designed to give students historiographic and research expertise in a particular topical area. Together, they fulfill the first year research paper requirement. The Proseminar generally emphasizes the historiography of a particular topic, while the Research Seminar focuses on individual student research -- usually a 25-page paper based on primary research.
1st Year Research Seminar courses (203) follow a Proseminar (202) on the same subject, but Proseminars can also be taken as stand-alone electives, without taking the corresponding 203.
Upon individual petition to the Graduate Program Director, the 274 and 284 course series may substitute for a 1st-year Proseminar/Research Paper requirement.
Ph.D. students who arrive at UCI with an M.A. in history may petition the Graduate Program Committee for exemption from the First Year Proseminar/Research Seminar (202/203) requirement. The MA thesis or equivalent should be submitted to the Director of Graduate Studies with an exemption request for consideration. If the exemption is granted, students may still choose to complete a 202 course or 202/203 set of courses in their first year.
Requests for other deviations due to individual circumstances must also be made by petition to the GPC.
What is the Second Year Research Seminar?
The Second Year Research Seminar (204A/B) is a two-quarter course required of all second year students. Students exempted from the 202/203 series may take the 204A/B series in their first year. Unlike the Proseminar/Research Seminar courses, the Second Year Research Seminar does not focus on a single historical topic. Instead, this course allows students to begin to plan their dissertation topics and do research in their exact field of interest. It also introduces professionalization issues such as grant writing and the publication process.
What are Electives?
Electives are courses that are not used to fulfill other requirements such as the First or Second Field series. All courses except for 200AB can be taken as electives.
Special Topics Courses (290) are electives. These courses vary in content from year to year. Recent offerings include Gender & Japanese History; Race, Sex and Colonialism; Nineteenth-Century West; and Spanish Borderlands.
Although scheduled classes are generally preferential to independent studies, some Directed Reading courses (291) may be taken as electives as part of preparation for your oral exams. Speak to individual faculty members about such course possibilities.
Electives can also be courses outside of the History department.
What are Directed Readings (291s)?
Directed Readings are individual reading courses that students arrange with faculty members.
Up to three students can participate in one of these courses. If more than three students enroll, the course becomes a scheduled Special Topics Course (290).
These courses can cover an area not currently taught in a regularly scheduled course or can focus on a student's particular interests.
These courses often count as electives, but upon petition to the Graduate Program Director may be part of a first or second field.
Students may take 291s for either a letter grade (A-F) or a Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory grade. Students taking a 291 must sign a contract with the professor detailing the content and requirements of the course.
The contract should be turned in to the Graduate Administrator by the second week of the quarter.
Students normally may enroll in no more than three 291s for a letter grade (A-F) from any single professor.
Students may usually take no more than three 291s on an S/U basis (4 units each) during their graduate careers. Exceptions may be granted in special circumstances upon petition to the Graduate Program Director.
Can I take courses in other departments?
The History department encourages its students to pursue interdisciplinary interests.
Students should consult with their advisor about courses in other departments that might best fit their interests.
Students have historically taken courses in fields such as Anthropology, Asian American Studies, Critical Theory, Visual Studies, Women's Studies, and East Asian Languages and Literature.
Upper division language classes (course #100 and above) can count for graduate course credit. Lower division language courses are taken on top of your graduate course load.
Can courses taken before I matriculated in the UCI graduate program count towards my degree?
Normally, students must complete their coursework at UCI after matriculation.
Students who have completed an M.A. in History at another institution may petition the Graduate Program Committee (GPC) for exemption from the First Year Proseminar/Research Seminar (202/203) requirement. The MA thesis or equivalent should be submitted to the Director of Graduate Studies with an exemption request by October 1 of your first year for consideration.
Students may count up to three graduate courses taken at UCI before matriculation in the graduate program toward their requirements. Upon petition to the Graduate Program Director, these three classes can be listed on the student's graduate transcript without grades.
Those interested in taking classes at UCI prior to matriculation should contact the Graduate Administrator for further information.
I'm an M.A. student who hopes to apply to the Ph.D. program. What should I do?
Students intending to pursue the Ph.D. should:
Begin at once to delineate doctoral interests in order to fit their work for the MA into the total program.
Speak with the Graduate Administrator about changing the status of your application by December.
Get letters of recommendation from UCI faculty who have taught you as an MA student.
How many total courses would a Ph.D. student typically take?
A typical student's Ph.D. schedule would include at least 21 courses (not including History 399, University Teaching) over several years.
All Ph.D. students are expected to successfully complete a colloquia series in two fields, the two-quarter sequence in History and Theory, and the Second Year Research Seminar or the equivalent.
Most students will also take a First Year Proseminar/Research Seminar combination.
Students should consult with their advisors about their overall course schedule, as requirements vary from field to field.
What grades should I expect?
All graduate classes must be taken for a grade (A-F or S/U).
S/U can be used for 291s (Directed Reading) and all 299s (Dissertation Research).
Do NOT enroll in any graduate course for a P/NP (Pass/Not Pass) grade. A P/NP grade given in a graduate class automatically becomes an "NR" (no record) which then turns into an "F" after one quarter.
Acceptable grades for Ph.D. students in History department classes are A and A-. Any final course grade lower than an A- (3.7) is an indication that the student is not performing up to History department standards. You should immediately speak with your advisor(s) about such grades.
Terminal M.A. students can receive a degree with anything above a 3.0 (B) average.
As per UCI policy, an Incomplete (I) is assigned when a student's work is of passing quality but is incomplete for good cause. Typically, an "I" can be legitimately issued for a student who has attended a course, participated in its discussions, and completed at least some of its course work, but might be unable to complete its final assignment due to illness or other unanticipated situation. The instructor of record should be apprised of this situation before the submission of final course grades.
If a grade of Incomplete (I) is to be issued to a student, it must be agreed-upon by both the student and the instructor of record before the final course grades are due to the Registrar. This agreement must include a brief justification for the I grade, explanation of course work remaining to be completed, and date by which this work will be submitted to the instructor and, thereafter, date by which the instructor will issue the student's course grade. The Incomplete grade agreement form can be downloaded here. The completed form should be placed in the student's departmental file, with a PDF copy emailed to Connie Cheng (firstname.lastname@example.org) in the Humanities Graduate Office.
Please note that, as per School of Humanities policy, an Incomplete grade renders a graduate student ineligible to serve as a Teaching Assistant. Therefore, a student must resolve the I grade and receive a final grade for the course in question before s/he can be authorized to serve as a TA. For fall quarter, all incompletes must be cleared by August 31st.
Are there forms of evaluation beyond grades?
First year Ph.D. students should receive written evaluations of their work in each course they take. Copies of these evaluations are placed in their department file and used at the First Year Review. All graduate students are evaluated annually to ensure that they are making satisfactory progress in the program.
What happens after the first year?
There is more flexibility in coursework after the first year.
In the second year, students would usually complete a second colloquia series and the second year research seminar, as well as other electives/requirements.
In the third year, students are expected to be finishing up requirements to advance to candidacy. By the end of their ninth quarter, students are expected to have
fulfilled language requirements and successfully completed the two-hour oral candidacy examination covering their first field
After advancing to Ph.D. candidacy, the student begins intensive work on the dissertation.
Students are encouraged to complete their dissertations within three years of their advancement to candidacy.
Students can enroll in Hist 299: Dissertation Research for 12 units after advancing to candidacy.
Most fields consist of a 3-quarter colloquium (220ABC through 260ABC)
East Asian History (270ABCD) requires a 4-quarter colloquium or the equivalent.
What are Fields?
A field delineates a broad historiographic knowledge of the chronologic and geographic area in which the dissertation will be situated.
What is a First Field?
A first field is the major chronologic and/or geographic field in which you situate yourself and in which you are competent to teach. The first field usually consists of a 3 or 4-quarter colloquium series (many of which are offered only every other year) as well as additional elective courses in that area.
First fields currently include:
American History (260 series)
What is a Second Field?
Early Modern European History (220 series)
East Asian History (270 series)
Latin American and Caribbean History (250 series)
Middle Eastern and North African History (275 Series)
Modern European History (230 series)
South and Southeast Asian History (265 series)
World History (240 series)
Second fields include any of the above first fields, as well as thematic or regional fields that do not have regularly taught colloquium series or that consist of courses outside of the History Department, such as:
Students must take three courses in their second field.
An individual course cannot be counted for both first and second fields.
Most students do not have to be examined on their second field in their oral exams, however some fields (East Asia, for example) require dual-field exams. All students should consult with their advisors about their examination plans.
A written exam may be required for a field outside of the department.
Critical Theory, Asian American studies, Feminist Studies, Visual Studies, and Creative Non-fiction are emphases that can be taken only as a second field option.
What is the First Year review?
To be admitted formally into the doctoral program, students must satisfactorily pass a departmental evaluation at the end of their first year of study.
This includes students who entered with an M.A. from another institution.
The first year review committee consists of the professors who have taught the student and his/her advisor.
After reading and discussing each student's work, they, in conjunction with the Graduate Program Director, will make recommendations regarding formal admission to the Ph.D. program.
This review is held in June and students will be formally notified their status by July 1.
What are the language requirements?
Ph.D. students must show proficiency in two languages in addition to English.
How do I get an advisor?
- Students show proficiency in a language either by passing a departmental examination or through extensive language use in one of the research seminars.
- The departmental exam will be administered by a faculty member proficient in the chosen language. The exam consists of writing a translation of approximately five pages of scholarly prose in two hours and is proctored by History staff in the Department office.
- For one of their language requirements, students may substitute two quarters of graduate coursework in an allied discipline at the discretion of the student's advisor and with approval by the Graduate Program Director. This is usually restricted to students with a first field in US History.
- For example, a student may use Women's Studies graduate courses for a "language" in Feminist Theory; courses in Economics for a "language" in Quantitative Analysis, etc.
- Students need to demonstrate that the courses in an allied discipline or methodology is of value to historical inquiry.
- The courses taken for the second "language" may not count toward fulfilling the requirement for the second field.
- The language requirement must be fulfilled prior to completion of Ph.D. candidacy exams unless a petition for exception has been approved by the GPC.
Throughout your first year, you should make contact with the UCI faculty in your field. No later than the end of the third quarter of your program (second quarter for M.A. students), you will be asked to submit paperwork formally identifying your advisor.
The Graduate Director acts as your advisor during your first year in the program until you formally identify an advisor.
Once you have asked a faculty member to be your advisor, you fill out a "Graduate Student Advising Agreement" form (available on the "Forms" tab of this website and in the History Department office), have your advisor sign it, and return it to the Graduate Administrator.
Students can change advisors. Consult the Graduate Director or Graduate Administrator.
What should I talk about with an advisor?
You would consult with your advisor about your short and long term graduate school plans such as what courses to take, how to best fulfill your requirements such as language proficiency, when to take your comprehensive exam and who to have on your exam committee, possible dissertation topics, professionalization, funding, etc.
You should also speak with your advisor or the Graduate Director about any difficulties or challenges you may be having in the program.
What is a qualifying exam?
A qualifying exam (also referred to as an oral exam, comprehensive exam or advancement to Candidacy) is a culmination of your first two to three years of graduate coursework. It tests the breadth and depth of your knowledge in your first (and sometimes second) field.
Students should aim to take the exam by the end of their third year of graduate coursework.
The oral exam usually lasts about 2 hours (approximately 20-25 minutes per committee member).
Five faculty members make up your exam committee. Usually, these are UCI faculty, but if students have worked extensively with someone at another University (e.g.: taken a course at another UC), they may submit a petition to the Graduate Program Director to include a non-UCI faculty member on the committee.
Grades on the qualifying exam are: Pass, Pass with Distinction, Pass with Additional Requirements, or Fail.
How do I get a committee for my qualifying exams?
You must ask five faculty members to be on your Exam Committee. Four should be Faculty in the History department and one faculty member must be from another UCI department.
The outside member need not have worked with you, nor be in a field related to your interests. They are there to insure that the exam is conducted fairly.
Your advisor can assist you in choosing a committee for your qualifying exam.
What are the requirements to take the Ph.D. qualifying exam?
Fulfill language requirements
Fulfill residency requirements (6 quarters residency)
Submit a portfolio of papers to your committee members no later than one month before the oral exam is scheduled to be taken.
The Portfolio consists of at least 45 pages on at least three different subject areas within the major field.
Portfolio papers cannot be from the colloquia courses in that field.
Students should be prepared to answer questions regarding their portfolio during their exams.
Complete all First and Second Field requirements. Students may take the qualifying exam during the year in which they are completing the second field colloquia series/requirements, but they will not be advanced to Ph.D. candidacy until all requirements are fulfilled.
You must also complete a variety of bureaucratic tasks:
Notify your advisor and the Graduate Administrator at least one quarter in advance, of the intention to take the oral examination to advance to Ph.D. candidacy.
You should discuss the content of the exam and composition of the committee with your advisor at least one quarter in advance of your examination.
Submit a departmental form, Petition to Take the Ph.D. Qualifying Exam, which delineates examination field(s) along with a list of the responsible professors and the three Doctoral Committee members, to the Graduate Administrator two weeks before planned completion of the Ph.D. oral qualifying exam. This form is available on the "forms" tab of this website and in the History Department office. All five members of the Candidacy Committee, the date and time of the exam and other relevant information must be included. After being approved by the Graduate Program Director, this data will be transferred to the Ph.D. Form I by the Graduate Administrator.
What is a Doctoral Committee?
A Doctoral Committee is made up of three faculty members who will be the readers of your dissertation. It includes your advisor and two other readers.
You must specify your doctoral committee on your advancement paperwork, but it can later be changed.
Doctoral Committee members do not need to have been advancement committee members.
Doctoral Committee members are usually UCI faculty, but can, in consultation with your advisor and petition to the Graduate Program Director and Graduate Dean, be academic senate faculty from other institutions if appropriate.
How does a Ph.D. student recieve an M.A.?
Complete nine courses:
History and Theory (History 200A and 200B)
Three courses in a colloquia series
First year research seminar series (History 202 and 203)
One additional history course
One elective course (may be outside History if desired)
You must fill out paperwork to advance to MA candidacy one quarter prior to completing these requirements. Please see the Graduate Administrator with questions.
What is a Colloquy?
Within one academic quarter of the oral examination, new Ph.D. candidates meet in a colloquy with their Doctoral Committee to present their dissertation proposal. The written dissertation proposal is to be distributed to Candidacy and Doctoral committee members prior to the colloquy.
The colloquy, which is to be scheduled and chaired by the Doctoral Committee Chair, begins with a presentation by the student. If the student wishes, interested faculty and students are invited to attend. Once the Doctoral Committee approves the proposal, the student begins intensive work on the dissertation. The research and writing involved in this effort are expected to require one to four years. At the end of this period an oral defense of the dissertation, focusing on the adequacy of the student's research and thesis, may be held. This is at the discretion of the doctoral committee.
The doctoral committee chair will notify the graduate administrator in writing (for the student's department file) that the student has successfully completed the colloquy.
What is Normative Time to Degree?
Normative Time to Degree is the number of years in which a student is expected to complete their degree.
Normative time for Ph.D. students in the Department of History is seven years.
Ph.D. students must advance to candidacy by the end of August of their third academic year. Students not advancing in normative time will be unable to TA until they have advanced to candidacy.
Normative time for full-time MA students in the Department of History is one year, although students are allowed up to three years to complete the MA, as many MA students continue working during the program.
How do I file my thesis or dissertation?
The student needs to submit the thesis or dissertation electronically to the University Archives for approval once it has been approved by the Thesis or Doctoral Committee. Filing paperwork can be obtained from and submitted to the Graduate Administrator. Please notify the Graduate Administrator one week in advance of your filing to allow for ample processing time.
Please note that filing paperwork requires original signatures from all members of the committee. If a member of the committee will be out of town or unavailable, it is the student's responsibility to ensure that signatures are gathered ahead of time.
The UCI catalogue
is the contractual agreement for entering students and will supercede the more informal information on this page.
*Updated June 2013*