Satisfactory Academic Progress

GRADUATE DEGREE REQUIREMENTS, DEPARTMENT OF HISTORY

The department of history admits candidates for study leading to the masters and Ph.D. Students admitted to the Ph.D program will obtain an M.A. as part of the process of completing work towards the Ph. D. The Graduate School of the College of Arts and Sciences and the Department of History guarantee five full years (12 months each) of financial support for Ph.D. students who maintain satisfactory academic progress. This support will be in the form of teaching fellowships, research assistantships or graduate fellowships.

SATISFACTORY ACADEMIC PROGRESS

The following achievements are required to maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress according to the guidelines of the department and the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, Boston University:
. Maintain a GPA of 3.0 or higher.
. Have no more than 2 failing grades (lower than B- or an incomplete grade older than 12 months)
. Pass qualifying exams and prepare a prospectus on the recommended schedule specified under the listed PhD Requirements.

GENERAL TIMETABLE

END OF FIRST YEAR

COURSE REQUIREMENTS Ph.D STUDENTS: Take and pass 8 approved courses, including, ideally, GRS HI 800: European Historiography, HI 850: American Historiography, HI 870: African Historiography, and HI 801: The Historian’s Craft. The candidate should also take a research seminar that results in the production of a major research paper of between 25 and 40 pages, on a topic approved by the instructor and the student’s major advisor. Students entering the program with a B.A. degree take sixteen courses over a period of four semesters, with eight courses at the 700 level or higher, and all other courses at the 500 level or higher. Students entering with an M.A. degree take eight courses over two or three semesters with four courses at the 700 level or higher and all other courses at the 500 level or higher.
LANGUAGE REQUIREMENTS, Ph.D STUDENTS: Pass at least one foreign language exam. Students must demonstrate reading competence in two modern foreign languages, or languages appropriate to their field of study. This can be accomplished in one of the following ways: through an examination given by the department, by earning a score of 570 in the Graduate Student Foreign Language standardized exam, or by successfully completing a language reading course numbered 621 offered through the Graduate School. Completing the language requirement is a prerequisite for the Qualifying Examination, and to be awarded either the MA or the Ph.D.
COURSE REQUIREMENTS, MASTERS DEGREE: Take and pass 8 approved courses, including GRS HI 800: European Historiography, HI 850: American Historiography, HI 870: African Historiography, and HI 801: The Historian’s Craft. The candidate should also take a research seminar that results in the production of a major research paper of between 25 and 40 pages, on a topic approved by the instructor and the student’s major advisor. MA candidates must also pass one foreign language exam.

END OF SECOND YEAR

Take and pass 8 more courses, including another research seminar that produces another major research paper of near professional quality.
Take and pass a second foreign language exam.

END OF THIRD YEAR

Pass Oral Qualifying Exams: Early in their careers students begin the initial preparation for this examination. Students choose courses and make personal contacts with faculty members while keeping their qualifying examinations in mind. Students should have identified their examination fields by the time they complete course work, and then undertake intensive reading in those fields under faculty direction. The major fields should correspond to the student’s area of interest and the areas of history—American, African and European history—in which the department offers degrees. Students consult with their examining faculty to define their minor fields. Each student should submit an Approval Form to the department before the exam is scheduled to occur. This form lists the members of the examination committee and defines the character and scope of the major and minor fields and examiners before the student sits for the examination. Students consult with their examining faculty to define their major fields.
Each examination is unique because it tests the knowledge of a specific student. The examination is conducted orally in three major fields and one minor field. There should be four faculty present. Each examines the candidate for one half hour. At the conclusion of the Qualifying examination, without the student present, the chair polls the committee on the student’s performance. The student must perform satisfactorily in all fields, the major and both minors, and satisfy all examiners, in order to receive a grade of PASS. If a student fails, the student may take a second examination at a date decided by the examination committee and the Director. In some cases, it might be noted that the student passed with distinction.
Qualifying examinations generally are administered prior to the end of classes each semester, or at the beginning of each term.

Submit approved Dissertation Prospectus: Within four months after they successfully complete their qualifying exams, students present a dissertation prospectus for approval by the first and second reader. The prospectus is 20 double-spaced pages maximum (excluding bibliography) and briefly explores three aspects of the dissertation topic: previous scholarship on the subject, techniques and methods to be employed and documentary or other sources to be consulted. Before a prospectus is submitted to the program director for final approval, it must be approved and signed by the first and second readers of the dissertation. Dissertation readers must be members of the Graduate School Faculty of Boston University, either by regular or special appointment.
COMPLETION OF THE DISSERTATION: The dissertation should be an original piece of research, on a topic approved by the dissertation advisor, that is the basis for an academic monograph that will make a strong contribution to ongoing scholarly debate. The research topic and design should originate with the candidate. Students must file an application to graduate with the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences Office for the semester in which they intend to defend their dissertation. Deadlines vary, but typically the application for January graduation is due November 1; for May graduation the deadline is February 1; for September graduation the deadline is July 1.
The dissertation is written under the supervision of the first and second readers who approved the prospectus. It is the responsibility of the student and the first reader to assemble the Dissertation Defense Committee, which consists of at least five members: the first and second readers, the examining chair (who cannot be a reader), and at least two additional committee members. In some instances, students may have a third reader on their committee and one additional committee member. A maximum of six committee members is allowed. Students should finalize their additional committee members approximately two months prior to the defense. They must be members of the Graduate School Faculty of Boston University, either by regular or special appointment. The manuscript should be given to the first and second reader at least six weeks before the defense. After all revisions have been made for the readers, the final version of the manuscript should be given to all other committee members at least four weeks before the defense.
Preparing the Manuscript: Click here for a pdf-version of “A Guide for the Writers of Dissertations and Theses,” which presents information on preparing the manuscript. This guide can also be provided by the Graduate School upon request. Students are required to schedule appointments with the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences Records office to review the manuscript before and after the defense. The Records office must approve the format of the manuscript before it can be filed with Mugar Library.
The Dissertation Defense Abstract: At least three weeks prior to the defense, students must submit a defense abstract of no more than 350 words to the Records office. Prior to submission, the abstract must be read and approved by the first reader, the director of graduate studies, and the department chair. The student will be notified of the approval of the abstract or if revisions are required. Upon final approval by the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, the Final Oral Examination may be scheduled.  The Abstract Approval form is available here: http://www.bu.edu/cas/students/graduate/forms-policies-procedures/. Students must file the original form and abstract with the Records office and give one copy of the form and the abstract to the History Department office.
Scheduling the Final Oral Examination: It is the responsibility of the student and the first reader to schedule the defense. At least two weeks prior to the defense, students must file a Schedule of the Final Oral Examination with the Records Office, with the approval of the department chair. Two copies of the approved abstract must accompany the scheduling form, which is submitted to the Records office. Students must also file one copy of the form with the History Department office.
The Final Oral Examination: The defense usually lasts for one hour. The examining chair will receive the final paperwork from the Records office approximately one week prior to the defense. The major professor and examining committee chair should sign the “Signature Page.” The major professor, department chair, and examining committee chair should sign the “Report of Examinations” form.