- Teaching: Beginning in the second year, PhD students have the opportunity to work as Teaching Fellows assisting faculty members in the History Department. Teaching Fellowships allow students to cultivate their own teaching style, strategies, and experience for future use in their academic careers. Once students have taken and passed their oral qualifying exams, they are also permitted to design and teach their own courses during Summer Term at BU.
- ABD Status: Once all course work, research paper, language, and exam requirements have been completed, students become PhD candidates with ABD status, or “all but dissertation.” During this phase of the doctoral degree, PhD candidates apply for grants and fellowships that would allow them to travel and conduct research toward their dissertation. Normally, research grants and fellowships are only open to those who are ABD. We strongly encourage students to think ahead and apply as soon as possible for these funds.
- Conferences: The Department of History sets aside funds for PhD candidates to present their research at conferences in North America. Students can apply for a conference travel grant to attend or present at a conference. Grants cover costs associated with conference travel: airfare, airline fees, baggage fees, transportation costs, conference fees, and accommodations, but does not cover meals. Reimbursement regulations will be announced by the Director of Graduate Studies or Department Administrator each year. Students are still encouraged to apply to outside sources for conference grants as well, and to disclose any additional conference funding to the Department Administrator. The Director of Graduate Studies will periodically send news and updates on upcoming conference opportunities to all graduate students in the department. Among the conference opportunities hosted by Boston University are those offered through the American Political History Institute and the International History Institute.
- Formal Academic Advising: All prospective students should consult the Direct of Graduate Studies about contacting an appropriate faculty member to serve as their academic advisor. Students may select a different faculty advisor should their interests change. Normally the advisor chairs the qualifying examination committee and serves as first reader for the dissertation. Students should work closely with their advisor to develop a compact schedule for completing PhD program requirements, research, writing, and revision.
- Informal Advising: The Department of History at BU benefits from a small and close-knit academic community. Students are strongly encouraged to reach out to other faculty members and fellow graduate students at BU and in the Boston Consortium for guidance and information about the graduate school experience.
- Graduate Student Cohorts: The Department aims to build strong graduate cohorts through its curricular design and area strengths. The faculty also encourage graduate students to collaborate with each other outside class. Because preparing for intellectual work is only partially a solitary exercise, the Director of Graduate Studies encourages students to create informal working groups to provide each other with the kind of intellectual and emotional support that will help them through the process, whether it is during orals, when writing up your prospectus, or as you complete dissertation chapters. The Director of Graduate Studies also encourages students to reach out to more advanced students every step of the way. The transmission of information between cohorts is essential to the graduate program’s vitality and an excellent way to understand better how to navigate our requirements and learn more about faculty you might want to work with.
Community Resources for Graduate Students
- The Graduate School has compiled a list of resources pertaining to diversity and inclusion here.
- The Boston University History Graduate Student Organization (HGSO) hosts social events as well as academic and professional programs for all current graduate students in the History Department.
- The Boston University Graduate Student Organization sponsors social activities and other events that are open to all graduate students in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.
Life as a graduate student can be challenging. The faculty members of the Department of History are committed to making your experience at BU a stimulating intellectual and positive social experience. The mental health and emotional well-being of our students is important to us. If you are feeling stressed by the demands of grad school or overwhelmed by the social isolation that sometimes accompanies intellectual life, remember that there is no shame in seeking help. We all experience similar challenges in life. Students experiencing difficulties should know that they can come to the Director of Graduate Studies with any problems or questions at any time. You should also feel free to take advantage of the resources on campus, listed below, that are devoted to supporting students.
Similarly, we strive at BU and in the History Department to treat everyone with fairness and dignity. Our faculty do not tolerate sexual harassment, racial discrimination, or any other form of prejudice. If you have been subjected to objectionable behavior, we strongly encourage you to alert the Director of Graduate Studies and contact the support services listed below.
- The Behavioral Medicine staff at Boston University Health Services consist of psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers and clinicians who offer a wide array of counseling resources to promote mental health and well-being.
- The Office of the Ombuds at BU is an independent, impartial and confidential problem-solving resource open to all graduate students. The Ombuds can be a very useful and supportive outlet for discussing conflicts that may arise in academic, professional or personal settings. All conversations remain completely confidential and are advisory in nature.
- No student should tolerate sexual harassment. The Sexual Assault Response & Prevention Center (SARP) provides assistance to all BU students who have experienced or are experiencing sexual assault or misconduct.
- GRS provides emergency loans to all graduate students and advances on stipends to qualified PhD students. The stipend advance may be of particular use to PhD students receiving a non-service fellowship, where the fellowship is paid out monthly. PhD programs are encouraged to let incoming PhD students know in a timely manner (ideally at the start of the summer) that they can receive a mid-September advance on their stipend, in order to bridge the gap between the start-up costs of moving to Boston and their first stipend payment at the end of September.
- While Boston University does not operate a food pantry, the Dean of Students’ Office offers meal assistance.
- In addition, the Graduate Program in Religion has a new website that lists other resources in the community available to graduate students who are experiencing food insecurity.
- Writing Workshops: A series of workshops, organized by and for history graduate students during the academic year, are intended to provide participants with strategies to improve the quality and effectiveness of their writing in a peer setting. Students present a draft of a prospective paper, whether for publication, conference presentation, or other purposes, and receive feedback from a designated commentator with similar academic concentration, after which the floor is open to discussion. Students interested in presenting should contact the current coordinator via the History Department office.
- Local History Programs: The Boston area offers a vibrant and active setting for seminars, lectures, and other programs in the historical field. Graduate students are encouraged to consult the departmental websites below for news and upcoming events of interest.
- Research: There are numerous opportunities for archival research in digital and local archives. The following archival resources are most commonly used by history graduate students at BU:
- H-Net: H-Net, or ‘Humanities & Social Sciences Online’, is an interdisciplinary forum for scholars in the humanities and social sciences. It curates electronic mailing lists organized by academic discipline. It also publishes reviews of books and other publications and announces opportunities for conferences, programs, fellowships, and calls for papers. Its Job Guide is the most important source of information about job opportunities.
- American Historical Association: The American Historical Association is the largest organization serving historians in all fields and professions. The AHA is dedicated to promoting history and historians in civic life and the professional job market. Its annual conference serves the entire discipline and remains an important site for job interviews. The AHA also circulates the American Historical Review, the only journal that publishes discipline-wide articles and reviews. It comes free with your AHA membership.
- The BU Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) hosts an Orientation for new Teaching Fellows every year. The center also compiled a handbook containing useful classroom tips, strategies and reminders.