Ph.D. Requirements

Updated Fall 2020

  1. Schedule of Ph.D. Program
  2. Satisfactory Progress
  3. Residence and Course Requirements
  4. Language Requirements
  5. TATTO Teaching Program
  6. Comprehensive Portfolio
    1. Comprehensive Portfolio Components
    2. Comprehensive Portfolio Fields Declaration Form and Comprehensive Portfolio Committee
    3. Comprehensive Portfolio Submission and Oral Defense
    4. Comprehensive Portfolio Evaluation
  7. The Dissertation Prospectus and the Dissertation
    1. The Prospectus Committee and the Prospectus
    2. The Dissertation Committee and the Dissertation
  8. Transfer Credit for Students Entering with the M.A. Degre
  9. Exceptions
  10. Grievance Policy

 

Please note: Program forms, best practices, sample faculty and graduate students grants, and much more are located on the History Graduate Program Canvas site. Kindly consult both the Pages and Modules sections.

 

I. Schedule of Ph.D. Program

The History Ph.D. program encompasses course work, examinations demonstrating language facility, a comprehensive portfolio, and the research and writing of a doctoral dissertation.

Normally, students will take coursework for two academic years, the Comprehensive Portfolio in the Fall of the third year, and, upon passing the portfolio (see Section VI), proceed to the dissertation. A Dissertation Prospectus must be submitted and approved by the end of the semester following satisfactory completion the Comprehensive Portfolio (see Section VI below).

Upon passing the Comprehensive Portfolio (see Section VI) and approval of the Prospectus students are eligible to apply for admission to Ph.D. candidacy. In addition to the LGS requirements for candidacy, History PhD students must complete all coursework, pass their language examinations (see Section IV below), pass the Comprehensive Portfolio, and successfully defend their dissertation prospectus. Typically, students will have also completed TATT0: 610 Teaching Associateship before entering candidacy. The interim master's degree is earned on the basis of Ph.D. candidacy. The Laney Graduate School requires that students take no more than seven years to complete their dissertations.

II. Satisfactory Progress

Students are expected to proceed through the program making satisfactory grades and at a satisfactory pace. Satisfactory grades are defined as receiving at least as many A's and A-'s as B+'s, B's and B-'s in any given year. Satisfactory pace is defined as avoiding incompletes and keeping to the schedule outlined in Section I above. The department reviews the records of all students annually. Students failing to make satisfactory progress may be refused permission to submit a Comprehensive Portfolio (see Section VI). Students failing to make satisfactory progress may lose financial support.

Incompletes are granted by permission of the course instructor. Although Laney Graduate School regulations permit students one academic year to complete incomplete work, students should understand that a grade of Incomplete formally constitutes unsatisfactory progress. Moreover, students will be placed on probation the term following receipt of a grade of F in any course or more than one Incomplete in any academic term. Students will become ineligible for financial support unless the failed course is retaken or all Incompletes are removed.

The Director of Graduate Studies reviews students’ records each semester. Students judged not to be making satisfactory progress on the basis of these reviews will be issued a warning. Subsequent failure by a warned student to achieve sufficient improvement may result in a recommendation to the Laney Graduate School to issue a notice of probation. (The Laney Graduate School will automatically place any student on probation falling below its own standards of acceptable progress, as described in the Laney Graduate School Handbook.) Students on probation for two consecutive semesters, and facing the prospect of a third term in this situation, confront the possibility they will lose financial support and/or be terminated from the graduate program.

III. Residence and Course Requirements

The usual minimal residence requirement is three academic years, this includes fall and spring semesters while summer semesters often include national or international travel to conduct pre-dissertation research. (Please note: the Laney Graduate School requires continuous enrollment until degree completion.)

The normal course load is three courses per semester for four semesters. Of these twelve courses, up to two may be taken as HIST 597R: Directed Reading and up to two may be taken as supplemented undergraduate courses, HIST 596R, Special Studies. Students may take up to three courses (including HIST 597R: Directed Reading) with the same instructor. Students may also take up to three courses from instructors outside of the program, meaning they are not offered by or cross-listed with History. One semester of coursework may be taken at another institution (see VIII below) and the three remaining semesters of coursework must be spent in continuous residence at Emory University. Should a program petition be submtted for one semester of coursework taken at another instituion: all or part of the final year of residence, if circumstances make it advisable, may be spent in dissertation research in libraries and manuscript repositories elsewhere.

Students entering the doctoral program will normally be required to enroll in HIST 583: Introduction to Advanced Historical Study, in the fall of their first year. Some fields may also require students to take a historiographical course specific to the field. In the spring of their first year, students are required to enroll in HIST 584: Research Workshop in History.

Students will write two seminar research papers by the end of their second year.  Both are normally written in the semester following the basic seminar.  The first research paper is usually written in the spring semester of the first year under the rubric of HIST 584: Research Workshop in History. The second research paper is written in the “P” course (P suffix to basic course number) offered in the semester following the basic seminar.  Both research papers will normally be written in courses offered by faculty or associated faculty of the History Department.  In exceptional cases, permission to write a research paper under the direction of a faculty that is not in or associated with the History Department may be granted by the Director of Graduate Studies. 

IV. Language Requirements

Reading competency in at least two foreign languages is required of Ph.D. candidates in all fields, except American History, which requires competency in a minimum of one.  In any focus area, however, a student's major adviser may elect to require language facility beyond these minimum guidelines. Students in Latin American History must show facility in both Spanish and Portuguese.  To satisfy program language requirements, students must demonstrate competency in one foreign language by the end of their first academic year. Competency in further foreign languages must be demonstrated by the end of the second academic year.

Facility in a foreign language will be demonstrated either by passing a translation examination (with dictionary) administered each semester or by passing, with a minimum grade of B, an approved reading or translation course above the 100-level at Emory. Facility demonstrated by examinations from other schools or by the Princeton Examination will not be accepted. One language may be waived for native speakers of a language other than English, provided that this language is deemed relevant to their proposed research area as determined by their faculty advisors and approval by the Director of Graduate Studies.

V. TATTO Teaching Program

All graduate students are required to participate in the Teaching Assistant and Teacher Training Opportunity (TATTO) program. TATTO is designed to provide a systematic introduction to college teaching. The TATTO program offers the following:  (1) a Laney Graduate School two-day summer workshop course (TATT 600, 2 credit hours) covering general topics of importance, taken immediately prior to the first teaching experience; (2) a department seminar (HIST 786A: Introduction to College Teaching, 2 credit hours) in the fall semester of the second year which addresses pedagogical issues and teaching strategies; (3) two teaching assistantships (TATT 605) in the fall and spring semester of the second year overseen by the faculty member who is the instructor of record. TA assignments are made at least six-eight weeks prior to the beginning of the semester by a committee consisting of the Director of Graduate Studies, Director of Undergraduate Studies, and chair of the Department based on enrollments and students’ fields of interest. Or a teaching assistantship (TATT 605) in the fall or spring semester of the second year and an internship (HIST 594R) in the fall or spring semester of the second year; (4) a teaching associateship (TATT 610) in the third or fourth year, following successful completion of doctoral exams or comprehensive portfolio in which students have the sole responsibility for teaching an introductory-level survey course, with supervision of a faculty member.  Students propose two possible courses of their choosing in consultation with their mentors.  The decision as to which course the student will teach is made by a committee consisting of the Director of Graduate Studies, Director of Undergraduate Studies, and chair of the Department based on curricular balance and student interests; and (5) Dean's Teaching Fellowships for fifth to seventh year students, available competitively through the Laney Graduate School.

VI. Comprehensive Portfolio

The comprehensive portfolio aims to provide students with a format for showcasing teaching and research that more closely resembles modes of professional evaluation that they will encounter later in their career, i.e. materials requested for job interviews and the tenure dossier. Some of these materials such as the annotated bibliographies will provide them with a career-long resource to which they may turn for teaching, or develop into a publication such as a review essay. Teaching materials such as annotated syllabi will help them as they apply for teaching fellowships and jobs, and as they prepare courses. Portfolio preparation is a dialogic process; committee and student interaction should take place consistently as the student builds the portfolio. Advisers have a coordinating role in the process but the students themselves should communicate consistently with members of the committee.

1. Comprehensive Portfolio Components

  1. Introduction to the portfolio (750 words). This should explain the coherence of the student's chosen fields and their relationship to the student's overall intellectual trajectory, from program initiation to the dissertation.
  2. Mastery of field-specific literatures
    1. One historiographical essay. Students should choose a historiographical essay they wrote during coursework, and revise and polish it for the portfolio. These will generally be equivalent in length to a journal article.
    2. Three annotated bibliographies modeled on Oxford Bibliographies Online format in which the bibliography is organized thematically with short introductory essays introducing the field, and each separate theme within the field. The bibliographies will be based on lists approved by committee members by the end of May in the students second year. The number of books and/or articles for each bibliography should be between 50-70.
    3. Two revised research papers, which by definition are equivalent in length and scope to a journal article. In addition, students should write a proposal for the papers’ publication. For example, they may outline a particular conference presentation, used to workshop one paper, and they could describe a target journal to which they could submit. One of these papers may be a digital or multi-media project.
    4. Grant proposal. This should be targeted toward an external funding opportunity and should have all of the sections normally included in a significant proposal (i.e., project statement, methods, sources).
  3. Teaching preparation
    1. Two annotated syllabi. These should explain the overall approach and rationale for the course and should identify the connections between assignment selection and learning objectives. Similarly, choices of readings should be contextualized within the fields and debates explored by the courses. Students can annotate by week or by unit, with the expectation of roughly 50-word annotations for the former and roughly 250-word annotations for the latter. Students should weigh questions of diversity in readings, forms of assessment, and classroom teaching.
    2. TA-ship teaching evaluations.
    3. A teaching observation from each TA-ship semester.
  4. Oral defense/discussion of portfolio. The defense offers both a forum for reflecting on the portfolio and an opportunity for the student to present in oral or discursive fashion the intellectual profile described therein.

2. Comprehensive Portfolio Fields Declaration Form and Comprehensive Portfolio Committee

By the end of the first year of residence, and after appropriate discussion with the assigned adviser(s), each student will complete a Comprehensive Portfolio Fields Declaration Form. The form identifies the committee members by field and contains signatures indicating the members’ willingness to serve. The student will return the form to the Graduate Program Coordinator for filing. Changes to either the fields or Comprehensive Portfolio Committee must be indicated in an amended declaration form.

Students will define the fields covered by their annotated bibliographies in the following ways:

  • Field I: Defined chronologically and/or geographically.
  • Field II: Defined chronologically and/or geographically, related to or complementing Field I.
  • Field III: Defined by theme, topic, or theoretical literature.

Each field will be administered by at least two faculty; faculty may overlap across two fields but no faculty member may participate in all three fields. Permission to include non-University faculty must be received from the Director of Graduate Studies. Advisers and at least one member of each committee must be a member of the graduate faculty in History.  Overall approval authority for the fields and the faculty administering them will be given to each student's adviser.

3. Comprehensive Portfolio Submission and Oral Defense

In the student's third year, they may submit their portfolio on September 15th, November 15th, January 15th, or April 15th. Changes to these prescribed submission dates must be approved by the committee and the Graduate Studies Committee with the Graduate Program Coordinator carbon copied.

The portfolio should be aggregated into a single pdf. Overall document pagination should appear in the header while the pagination for internal sections (e.g., a research paper or a bibliography) should appear in the footer. The student should prepare a table of contents reflecting the overall pagination. By the chosen due date, the student will submit the document to the Director of Graduate Studies, the Graduate Program Coordinator, and each member of the committee.

The student should schedule the oral defense at the beginning of the semester, choosing a date that allows the committee at least two weeks to review the material after submission. The oral examination will take no more than two hours, will be chaired by the student’s adviser, and will address all sections of the portfolio. The faculty present at the oral examination will include at least one representative from each of the student’s three fields, with a minimum of three faculty present.

4. Comprehensive Portfolio Evaluation

The committee will judge during the defense whether the components of the portfolio merit a pass. If one or more sections are deemed not to merit a pass, including the defense itself, the student’s adviser (and committee chair) will alert the student immediately after the defense. Should the committee have differences of opinion about whether sections of the portfolio merit a pass, a simple majority vote will decide the question.

In cases where corrections to only one section of the portfolio are in order, the corrected portion will be due one month after the original submission date. If revisions of more than one component are required, the student will resubmit an additional month later (November 15th, January 15th, March 15th, or June 15th). In either case—a one-section or multi-section revision—a second oral defense must take place. The student and committee members should schedule this promptly. In the case of a second failure, the student will not be allowed to continue working toward the PhD.


VII. The Dissertation Prospectus and the Dissertation

1. The Prospectus Committee and the Prospectus

Within one month of passing the comprehensive portfolio the student and adviser should identify a prospectus committee and schedule the presentation of the prospectus during the designated period in the following semester.

Prospectus Committee

The prospectus committee normally consists of five members:

  1. the prospectus director (who, if not already the student’s adviser, will assume that responsibility),
  2. two readers of the prospectus (who are also anticipated dissertation committee members), and
  3. two additional faculty.

The prospectus director and at least one of the anticipated readers must be members or associated members of the Department. At least one member of the prospectus committee must be a full-time or joint member of the Department.

Typically the prospectus director and the two anticipated readers constitute the future dissertation committee.

Participation of non-Laney Graduate School faculty and/or non-University faculty on prospectus committees is encouraged but restricted thus:

Permission to include non-Laney Graduate School faculty and/or non-University faculty must be received from the Director of Graduate Studies. Participation of non-Laney Graduate School faculty and/or non-University faculty on the prospectus committee will be in addition to three faculty from Emory.  (If non-Laney Graduate School faculty and/or non-University will also be asked to serve on the dissertation committee, permission must be received from the Director of Graduate Studies and from the Laney Graduate School.  Participation of non-Laney Graduate School faculty and/or non-University on the dissertation committee will be in addition to three Laney Graduate School faculty.)

Once the prospectus committee has been formed, the student is expected to work closely with its members in drawing up the prospectus. The prospectus is a brief explanation of the projected dissertation, outlining the proposed research, defining its validity as a dissertation subject, and suggesting the principal sources to be employed (plus bibliography). At least two weeks before the date of the prospectus meeting, the written document is to be turned in to the graduate degree program coordinator, along with a completed draft approval form certifying by their initials that the prospectus committee considers the prospectus "ready to defend." A prospectus announcement will then be made to the department.

The prospectus meeting is a public presentation and defense of the dissertation project, based on the written prospectus which has been distributed in advance. The candidate will introduce the subject briefly and then entertain questions from the committee and the audience. After a suitable length of time, the audience will be dismissed, including faculty members who are not on the prospectus committee, and the candidate will be asked to step out of the room while the prospectus committee confers. They will then invite the candidate to join them and discuss with the candidate any concerns they may have about the proposal.

In the event that a majority of the prospectus committee considers the proposal unacceptable in its present form, the committee will discuss the problem with the candidate and devise at that time a procedure for rectifying it. This procedure must be approved by a majority of the five prospectus committee members, including the dissertation director; the director is to take responsibility for implementing it. The committee might prescribe a further revision of the document or schedule future meetings. There will be no second public prospectus defense. The committee and the candidate should not adjourn until everyone has a clear understanding of the procedure to be followed.

When this entire process has been completed to the satisfaction of the majority of the prospectus committee including the dissertation director, the five members will sign a form signifying that the prospectus has been approved. The dissertation director will submit this form to the graduate coordinator.

2. The Dissertation Committee and the Dissertation

Following approval of the prospectus, the student will undertake the final component of the Ph.D.: completion of the Ph.D. dissertation. In completing their dissertations, students will work with their dissertation committees.

Dissertation Committee

The Laney Graduate School requires a minimum of three faculty members on a dissertation committee and at least three members of a dissertation committee must be Laney Graduate School faculty.

The dissertation committee will consist of:

  1. the dissertation director (who, if not already the student’s adviser, will assume that responsibility), and
  2. at least two other Laney Graduate School faculty.

The dissertation director and at least one other faculty must be members or associated members of the Department. At least one member of the dissertation committee must be a full-time or joint member of the Department.

Changes in the composition of dissertation committees must be approved by the Director of Graduate Studies and the Laney Graduate School.

Participation of non-Departmental faculty on dissertation committees is encouraged but restricted thus:

Permission to include non-University faculty must be received from the Director of Graduate Studies and from the Laney Graduate School.  Participation of non-University faculty on the dissertation committee will be in addition to three Laney Graduate School faculty.

VIII. Transfer Credit for Students Entering with the M.A. Degree

Students entering with an M.A. degree may, after one semester of satisfactory coursework, submit a program petition to the Director of Graduate Studies to transer one semester of coursework taken at another institution. Such students will normally take courses for three semesters of coursework and submit their Comprehensive Portfolio in their fourth semester. Such students may also petition the department to have any M.A. thesis they may have written accepted in lieu of one research paper.

IX. Exceptions

Exceptions to these rules can be made for cause by the Director of Graduate Studies.

X. Grievance Policy

Students who have a grievance related to some aspect of their program in the Department of History should report it to the Director of Graduate Studies.  The document should describe the grievance and relevant details in a letter addressed to the DGS, who will try, if possible, to resolve the grievance in conversation with the student and relevant parties. If this is not successful, the Director will appoint a committee of three History faculty members (or faculty members outside the department if the situation warrants) to review the grievance and propose an appropriate response. If it is impossible to resolve the grievance within this committee or within the framework of the Department's administrative structure, the Director will forward the grievance to the Office of the Senior Associate Dean of the Laney Graduate School. From this point forward, the grievance will be handled according to the Grievance Procedure outlined in the Laney Graduate School Handbook. If the issue is with the Director, the student should go directly to the Senior Associate Dean of the Laney Graduate School.