Ph.D. Program

The duration of the Ph.D. program is five to eight years. University and departmental regulations stipulate that the maximum tenure of graduate study at UCSD is eight years while seven years is the limit for receiving any type of university financial support. For the Department of History, the "normative" time to degree is 7 years.  Normally, during the first two years, students participate in courses, write two research papers, complete language requirements, define major and minor fields of study, and take at least one minor field examination. In the third year, the student normally completes all outstanding minor field and language requirements, defines a dissertation topic, and passes a qualifying examination in the major field, at which time the student officially advances to candidacy for the Ph.D. Advancement to candidacy must occur at least before the end of the fourth year, and in some programs, such as Ancient History and East Asian Studies, extra language requirements may make fourth-year advancement the norm.

Department of History Ph.D. students will be expected to spend time between their first and sixth years doing archival and/or field research (involving travel outside of San Diego), as required by the demands of their research topic. They often spend their fifth to seventh years writing their dissertation, although exact travel requirements and time to degree varies depending on funding, preparation, and the requirements of the specific project.

Coursework Overview

Full-Time Enrollment

In order to remain eligible for financial support, all graduate students must be enrolled in 12 units of upper-division (100-199) or graduate level (200 and above) courses during the regular academic year. 

Pre-Candidacy

First and foremost, all coursework should be chosen in consultation with your faculty advisor. During your first three (sometimes four) years in the program your aim will be to fulfill the following requirements:

  • Ph.D. Course Requirements (mainly major field requirements)
  • Minor Field Requirement
  • Language Requirement
  • MA on the Way Course Requirements

The course requirements for the Ph.D. and MA on the Way largely overlap and only represent about four quarters worth of coursework. The additional five quarters of coursework should be chosen in consultation with your faculty advisor. In some cases, you may take courses to fulfill requirements for the minor field or language requirements. Many of you will enroll in a 500 class and all of you will enroll in one or more HIGR 298s. Regardless, all the coursework completed while pre-candidacy should be taken in preparation for your Qualifying Exam (which you can also think of as your major field exam). 

Newly admitted students should consult with their faculty advisor about all coursework they plan to take throughout their time in the Ph.D. program. During their first quarter in the program, most students are encouraged to enroll as follows: 

  • HIGR 200
  • Research Seminar or another course chosen in consultation w/ your faculty advisor
  • Major Field Historiography or another course chosen in consultation w/ your faculty advisor

In-Candidacy

At this stage in the program, enrollment in courses is less about what courses a student is taking and more about accounting for how the student is spending their time researching or teaching and accounting for the time of the faculty who are supporting them in writing their dissertation. Most students enroll in 8-12 units of HIGR 299 and/or 4 units of a 500 depending on how they are spending their time.

About Courses

Research Seminars
Each field group offers at least one two-quarter research seminar each year so that students have the opportunity to take one research seminar each year, preferably during the first two years of study. The goal of these seminars is the writing of a research paper based on primary sources, and the identification of a potential dissertation topic. The model and the standard for the seminar papers is a monographic article that makes a scholarly contribution to the field. In the first quarter of the course, students read and research intensively; by the end of the quarter, they are expected to develop a prospectus for a research paper. When materials are not in English, it is assumed that the student can use the appropriate language in research. The instructor provides guidance on research methods and the appropriate bibliographic tools. The selection of the paper topic requires special care to ensure that the paper can be completed within the two quarters. In the second quarter, students write their papers and present them to the seminar. In addition, the instructors may encourage students to submit their research seminar papers to be presented at various conferences and/or to be published. Please see the Field-Specific Curriculum below for a listing of field-specific Research Seminar courses.

Administrative Note: All research seminars are one 8-unit class taught over two quarters. Students receive an "IP" (in-progress) grade at the end of the first quarter, and a final grade for both quarters of the class at the end of the second quarter.

Historiographies
Each field group has a sequence of seminars, taught over the course of 1-2 years, designed to introduce students to the major works and important controversies in the field. Please see the Field-Specific Curriculum below for a listing of field-specific Historiography courses.

Crossfield Courses
In addition to the graduate courses offered by the Field Groups, the Department will offer at least one and up to three cross-field seminars each year (HIGR 200 – HIGR 209, HIGR 280-282, etc.).  These courses are designed to cross geographical and chronological boundaries.  All Ph.D. students are required to complete HIGR 200, usually during their first quarter of the program.

HIGR 298-Directed Reading
This is a variable unit (may be taken for 1-12 units) independent study course that may be taken with a senate faculty member in the history department. It can be used to fulfill all of the requirements listed above if there is no other course offered in a given quarter to meet your particular research needs. It is most often used to account for the time a student is working on their prospectus in the quarters leading up to the qualifying exam. 

HIGR 299-PhD Thesis Direction
HIGR 299 is also a variable unit (may be taken for 1-12 units) independent study course that a student enrolls in with their faculty advisor/committee chair or any other faculty member who is supporting them in writing their dissertation. In short, if a student is asking a faculty person to read a dissertation chapter or otherwise meeting with the student to discuss their dissertation research the student should be enrolled in HIGR 299 units with them. If a student is on fellowship doing research (in-residence or in-absentia) the expectation is that they are enrolled in 12 units of HIGR 299 with their faculty advisor/committee chair.

500 Courses
500 courses are the instructional component to Teaching Assistantships. In general, this course is meant to account for the time you will spend learning to be an instructor and preparing to teach. The level of instruction and support you will receive is dependent upon by whom a student is employed and the requirements and expectations of this course vary (so read that syllabus very closely). Usually, beginning in a student's second year they'll enroll in a 4 unit 500 course and 8 units of other course work. In the event you accept a TAship where a 500 course is not available, speak to your advisor and/or the Graduate Coordinator about an appropriate alternative.

Course Requirements

A normal full-time program consists of twelve units (or three four-unit courses) per quarter. Ph.D. students are expected to complete at least one of the following minimum formal courses of study prior to their qualifying examination:

Option 1

(1) two two-quarter research seminars, three one-quarter historiography courses in the major field, and four other courses (which may be a combination of colloquia, conjoined courses, or directed readings, but which must include one cross-field graduate colloquium like HIGR 200).

1. Research Seminar (A)

2. Research Seminar (B)

3. Research Seminar (A)

4. Research Seminar (B)

5. Major Field Historiography

6. Major Field Historiography

7. Major Field Historiography

8. HIGR 200 

9. Elective

10. Elective

11. Elective

12. Elective

Option 2

(2) three two-quarter research seminars (not necessarily in the same field), three one-quarter historiography courses in their major field, and three other courses (which may be a combination of colloquia, conjoined courses, or directed readings, but which must include one cross-field graduate colloquium like HIGR 200).

1. Research Seminar (A)

2. Research Seminar (B)

3. Research Seminar (A)

4. Research Seminar (B)

5. Research Seminar (A)

6. Research Seminar (B)

7. Major Field Historiography

8. Major Field Historiography

9. Major Field Historiography

10. HIGR 200

11. Elective

12. Elective

Students are encouraged to take their first research seminar in their major field during the initial year of graduate study.

After the first year, most students' full-time program includes two regular academic courses each quarter (8 units), and enrollment in a 500 course (four units), like HIGR 500, as a component of a student's employment as a 50% Teaching Assistant.

Major Field

The major field book list should be drawn up by the student in consultation with the faculty adviser. Each major field list will reflect the unique interests of the student, while also incorporating core themes of the field. Some field groups have formal core lists that may comprise a part of each student’s total list, while others do not. In all cases, students are expected to organize their major field lists according to the specific themes/nations/issues that have informed their graduate study, since no major field list can be all-inclusive. The number of titles on a major field list should be around 100, with 80–120 titles representing a reasonable range.

The exam for the major field is the oral qualifying exam/advancement to candidacy. Unlike the minor field and language requirements, no documentation of completing the major field is needed ahead of the qualifying exam. 

Minor Field

Documenting Completion of a Minor Field

To document your fulfillment of a minor field please click the button to the right to fill out and route for signature the Report of the Minor Field Exam via DocuSign. You will need to enter:

  1. your name and email
  2. the name and email of the faculty member approving your minor field (contact them via email prior to sending the form so they know to expect it)
  3. the name and email of your faculty advisor

For reference: Report of the Minor Field Exam (PDF)

Minor Field Completion Timeline

Ph.D. candidates are strongly encouraged to take at least one minor field examination by the end of the first year and to complete the second minor exam by the end of the second year.  All minor fields must be completed before the major field/oral qualifying exam can be taken.  

Minor Field Types

Generally, the department recognizes two types of minor fields:

Teaching Fields: Passing a minor field in an area certifies, on a student’s record and resume, that the student has mastered the literature and the major issues in another geographical or chronological field such that the student is qualified to teach in that area.  (An example would be a minor field in modern Japanese history for an East Asian history, student specializing in modern China; or Early Modern European history for a Modern Europeanist.)  
Theoretical, Comparative, and/or Transnational Fields: Designed to familiarize a student with a range of theoretical, comparative, and/or transnational issues, which will be useful in the formulation of a dissertation topic and future research in the student’s major field.  In some cases, this minor field is pursued outside the department (in consultation with the student’s adviser): an example might be a minor in the Department of Ethnic Studies for a student working on race and ethnicity in the U.S.  In other cases, the student may identify a faculty member or series of faculty members within the department who focus on a particular theme, such as gender, citizenship, or imperialism.

Minor Field Reading Lists

The Minor field is defined by a reading list agreed on by the student and the minor field adviser(s).  The list is intended to establish what will be expected of the student and to prevent confusion over the material to be covered. As a guideline, the reading list should:

  • encompass about three quarters’ worth of coursework(which may be taken with up to three faculty members)
  • include about 50 titles, with 40-70 titles representing a reasonable range, depending on the combination of books and articles.  
  • be finalized at the beginning of the quarter during which the student plans to complete the minor field

Minor Field Evaluation

Completion or evaluation of a minor field takes several forms, depending on the policies of different field groups or individual professors.

  • A one-hour oral examination
  • A three-hour or twenty-four-hour take-home written exam
  • An “un-timed” synthetic essay, 25-30 pages, that organizes the scholarship of the field
  • Three shorter papers (8-10 pages) each encompassing a single quarter’s worth of reading. (This option is especially appropriate in cases (like the Global History minor field) where the student is working with more than one faculty member on a minor field.)
  • Developing a course syllabus in the field

Minor Exam Failure

Students who fail a minor field examination may petition the Graduate Committee for permission to sit for the examination again at any time during the following two quarters, as long as pre-candidacy time limits are not exceeded.  A second failure results automatically in dismissal from the program.


About the Global History Minor Field

The Global History Minor Field is usually completed by taking the three courses listed below:

HIGR 280 (required)
HIGR 281 (required)
HIGR 282

Students may use other courses in place of HIGR 282 to fulfill the requirements for the Global History minor field but should consult with Jeremy Presthodt or Uli Strasser prior to taking the class. Further, Jeremy or Uli should be listed as the minor field approver when you submit the Report of the Minor Field Exam. 

Language Requirements

Language Requirements by Field

These are baseline requirements. Please consult your faculty advisor about what specific languages would be appropriate for your project.

  • Ph.D. candidates in European and Latin American history must demonstrate competency in two foreign languages.
  • Ph.D. candidates in East Asian history must demonstrate proficiency in the appropriate language(s), as decided in consultation with the advisor.
  • Ph.D. candidates in History of Science and United States history, as well as M.A. candidates in European and Latin American history, must demonstrate competency in one foreign language.
  • Ph.D. candidates in Ancient history require two modern foreign languages, as well as the relevant ancient languages.
  • Ph.D. candidates in Middle Eastern history must possess a sound foundation in reading Arabic or Turkish (Ottoman Turkish or modern Turkish) as a requirement for admission to the program. Reading competence in two languages in addition to English is required before advancement to candidacy: the regional language Arabic or Turkish above, and a modern European language (other than English) related to the major field of specialization.

Additional languages appropriate to the special field of study as well as language requirements for a candidate in fields other than those already mentioned may be required by the Graduate Committee in consultation with the student's major field adviser.

 Completing the Language Requirement

Students may satisfy the foreign language requirement in one of the following ways:

  1. By completing, with a grade of B- or better in each term, a two-year language sequence from the student's undergraduate institution. Such a sequence must have been completed within two years of the time the request is made to the Graduate Committee for certification of competency.
  2. By completing, while a graduate student, a two-year, lower-division sequence in the language approved by the Graduate Committee, with a satisfactory (S) grade in each term.
  3. By completing, while a graduate student, a one-year upper-division sequence in the language approved by the Graduate Committee, with a satisfactory (S) grade in each term.
  4. By passing a translation examination administered by the department. (This is the only option available for Chinese and Japanese.) A faculty examiner chooses a text that is approximately 3-4 paragraphs, and historical in nature. Students are given two hours (three hours for Latin) to take the exam and are permitted the use of a dictionary. The criteria for evaluation are somewhat subjective but will focus on the grasp of meaning and concepts, rather than word for word translation. Exams will also be offered twice a year, once in the fall quarter and once in the spring quarter. Students may also petition the graduate coordinator to take them at an alternate time. At the beginning of the fall and spring quarters, the graduate coordinator will poll students about their intentions to be tested and will schedule an exam time, usually in the sixth week of classes.

Language Completion Timeline

Students are urged to complete at least one foreign language examination by the end of the first year of study and must do so by the beginning of the third year of study. Failure to meet this requirement is grounds for denial of financial support. No student may take the oral qualifying examination before completing all language requirements.

The Report of the Language Exam (PDF) is used to document the completion of a language. Please use the Report of the Language Exam DocuSign power form under the Departmental Forms section of the webpage to document the completion of the language requirement for all instances except the department administered translation exam.

Committee Constitution and Management

About the Committee

The Qualifying Exam and Dissertation Defense are conducted by a student's Dissertation Committee. The Dissertation Committee is comprised of at least four members. A minimum of two members must be faculty members of the Department of History, and usually, they will be in the student’s major field. The third can be either a faculty member from inside the department but outside the major field, or someone from another department. The fourth must be a tenured faculty member in another department. The student’s minor field advisor(s), whether inside the department or in another department, often serve in this “outside” capacity on the committee, although this is not required.

Committee Constitution

Students should consult with their faculty advisor about the composition of the examining committee well before their qualifying exam. In addition, the membership of the committee must be approved by the department chair and the dean of Graduate Studies before the exam. The student must submit the Committee Constitution Request form below to the Graduate Coordinator at least one month (the earlier the better) prior to their Qualifying Exam. The Graduate Division website has additional information about committees and a Committee Membership Table which may be helpful in determining what role a faculty member may serve on your committee. Please also review the committee requirements in the Graduate Student Handbook. A few notes about that:

  • Five of your members must be UC San Diego faculty.
  • One member must be a UC San Diego tenured or emeritus faculty who is outside the History Department (e.g. Literature, Communications, Anthropology, Ethnic Studies, etc.).
  • Faculty members who are not part of the UC system may only serve as the fifth member of the committee.

Submitting Your Committee

The completed committee form must be electronically submitted to the Graduate Division by the Graduate Coordinator no later than two weeks prior to the date scheduled for the qualifying examination/dissertation defense. Please use the Committee Constitution Request form to request that the Graduate Coordinator submit a constitution of your committee to the Graduate Division. This request should be made at least one month prior to your Qualifying Exam:

Requesting to Constitute Your Committee

To constitute your committee please click the button to the right to fill out and route the request form to the Graduate Coordinator via DocuSign. You will need to enter:

  1. your name and email

The completed committee form must be electronically submitted to the Graduate Division by the Graduate Coordinator no later than two weeks prior to the date scheduled for the dissertation defense. Please use the Committee Reconstitution Request form to request that the Graduate Coordinator submit a reconstitution of your committee to the Graduate Division. Unless someone has asked to be removed from your committee, changes to your committee should be made no earlier than two quarters before you plan to defend and must be made at least one month prior to your Defense:

Requesting to Reconstitute Your Committee

To reconstitute your committee please click the button to the right to fill out and route the request form to the Graduate Coordinator via DocuSign. You will need to enter:

  1. your name and email

Committee Management

It is the responsibility of the student, in consultation with their advisor/committee chair, to ensure the policy-appropriate participation of all committee members at their Qualifying Exam and Dissertation Defense. This includes documenting each committee member's participation by obtaining the original signatures of all committee members on the necessary documents for both of those events.

Necessary Documents for the Qualifying Exam

  • Report of the Qualifying Exam (routed for signature by the Graduate Coordinator)

Necessary Documents for the Dissertation Defense

  • Final Report (routed for signature by the Graduate Coordinator)

Best Practices for Completing the Report of the Qualifying Exam and Final Report via DocuSign:

  • Ahead of your exam/defense ask faculty to add dse@docusign.net as a “safe sender” so those emails are less likely to go to junk/spam. Although campus IT has taken steps to identify DocuSign as a safe sender, it is still recommended that individual users do so as well.
  • At the end of your Exam/Defense ask your committee members to check their email for the DocuSign email with the link to the form and sign while you're all online together. 
  • If the link is not in their inbox:
    • ask the faculty to check their junk folder, spam quarantine, or other spam folders
    • next, ask them to log into their DocuSign account using their @ucsd.edu email address and SSO credentials to access the form/s directly (https://docusign.ucsd.edu) *some people have personal DocuSign accounts so ask them to ensure they are logging into the UCSD DocuSign account
  • Get verbal confirmation of who has signed and who has not, then follow up with the Graduate Coordinator to resolve any issues your committee members have with signing the form.
  • Once the appropriate form is submitted to the Graduate Division, the appropriate fee will be charged directly to the student’s financial TritonLink account. 

Qualifying Exam

Qualifying Exam Timeline

Students are normally expected to take their qualifying examination no later than the spring of their third year of study (except as otherwise specified by the individual fields) and required to do so within four years. Students must fulfill all course work, minor field, and language requirements before taking the qualifying examination. 

Qualifying Exam Administrative Checklist (.docx)

About the Qualifying Exam

The qualifying examination is an oral test in the student’s major field of study, conducted by the student's Dissertation Committee. The purpose of the major field oral examination is twofold: 1) to evaluate the student’s knowledge of the major research field and 2) to discuss the student’s dissertation project (with the exception of the US field, which holds a separate meeting for this purpose, no later than two months after the exam).

The exam lasts between two and three hours and is structured to give each of the five committee members an opportunity to ask questions of the student, based on the major field reading list. When the prospectus is also under discussion, usually the last half-hour is reserved for this purpose. When the exam is over, the student leaves the room and the committee decides whether the student has passed the exam and advanced to candidacy.

  1. The major field book list should be drawn up by the student in consultation with the faculty adviser and should be finalized at least thirty days before the date of the exam. Each major field list will reflect the unique interests of the student, while also incorporating core themes of the field. Some field groups have formal core lists that may comprise a part of each student’s total list, while others do not. In all cases, students are expected to organize their major field lists according to the specific themes/nations/issues that have informed their graduate study, since no major field list can be all-inclusive. The number of titles on a major field list should be around 100, with 80–120 titles representing a reasonable range. The date of the examination is determined by consultation between the candidate and the examining committee.
  2. The discussion of the dissertation project will be framed by a five- to ten-page prospectus written by the student and submitted to the committee with the book list at least three weeks before the exam. The purpose of the discussion is to determine the feasibility of the scope of the project and to offer suggestions about source materials and research strategies.

Qualifying Exam Failure

Should a student fail the examination, the examining committee will clarify the weaknesses in the exam, so that the student can prepare to take it a second time. If a second oral examination is warranted, the department requires that it should be taken no later than one quarter after the first examination. If the student fails the oral examination a second time, his or her graduate studies in the department will be terminated.

Previous Graduate Study

The various requirements noted above apply to students who have done no previous graduate work in history. If a candidate has completed some graduate work before entering UC San Diego, appropriate adjustments in course work may be approved by a general petition to the graduate committee. Nevertheless, all candidates are required to meet language requirements, pass field examinations, and complete and defend a dissertation prospectus.


MA on the Way

An MA may also be awarded to continuing Ph.D. students (who do not already have an MA in History or closely related fields) upon successfully passing the oral qualifying examination. The MA is not automatically awarded; students must apply in advance to receive the degree, but no additional work is required. 

Note: Students who wish to receive an MA as part of the Ph.D. program must apply for master’s degree candidacy by the end of the third week of the quarter in which they expect to receive the degree. Please see the graduate coordinator regarding this application.


Necessary Documents for the Qualifying Exam

  • Report of the Qualifying Exam

Necessary Documents for the MA on the Way

  • Application for MA (due week three) 
  • Final Report for MA 

Best Practices for Completing the Report of the Qualifying Exam and Final Report via DocuSign:

  • Ahead of your exam/defense ask faculty to add dse@docusign.net as a “safe sender” so those emails are less likely to go to junk/spam. Although campus IT has taken steps to identify DocuSign as a safe sender, it is still recommended that individual users do so as well.
  • At the end of your Exam/Defense ask your committee members to check their email for the DocuSign email with the link to the form and sign while you're all online together. 
  • If the link is not in their inbox:
    • ask the faculty to check their junk folder, spam quarantine, or other spam folders
    • next, ask them to log into their DocuSign account using their @ucsd.edu email address and SSO credentials to access the form/s directly (https://docusign.ucsd.edu) *some people have personal DocuSign accounts so ask them to ensure they are logging into the UCSD DocuSign account
  • Get verbal confirmation of who has signed and who has not, then follow up with the Graduate Coordinator to resolve any issues your committee members have with signing the form.
  • Once the appropriate form is submitted to the Graduate Division, the appropriate fee will be charged directly to the student’s financial TritonLink account. 

Dissertation Defense

The Dissertation Defense is the culmination of all of your work within the Ph.D. program. Please read all of the information on the Graduate Division's website about "Preparing to Graduate" and make an appointment to speak with the Graduate Coordinator preferably a year out from when you plan to defend.

Departmental Roles and Responsibilities for the Defense

The Student will:

  1. Read the "Preparing to Graduate" page of the Graduate Divison's website.
  2. Schedule the Dissertation Defense with their committee. The Dissertation Defense is normally scheduled for three hours. (You are responsible for reserving a room or scheduling the zoom meeting). 
  3. Notify the Graduate Coordinator of the date and time of the defense and please include the following information: 
    1. your name as you would like it to appear on your degree
    2. the title of your dissertation as you would like it to appear on all university records (including the announcement of your defense and the Placement page of the website)
  4. Follow-up with your committee, the Graduate Division, and the Graduate Advisor about any issues surrounding the completion of your degree.
  5. Schedule an appointment with the Graduate Division for a preliminary check of your dissertation. The first appointment should be scheduled once you have sent the completed (and formatted) draft of your dissertation to your committee and scheduled your defense.

The Faculty Advisor will:

  1. Ensure the policy appropriate participation of all members of the committee at the Dissertation Defense. It is also helpful to remind all committee members to sign the forms by checking their inboxes for the DocuSign request to sign the forms. These sometimes end up in a person's spam folder.

The Graduate Coordinator will:

  1. Fill out the appropriate form via DocuSign and route the form the morning of the exam/defense for signature to all committee members, the department chair, the student, and the Graduate Division.
  2. Follow-up with committee members re: signatures on the final report and general petition (if needed) forms
  3. Send out the announcement of the defense to department faculty and graduate students.

Additional Information and Tasks

Preliminary Dissertation Appointments with the Graduate Division: Divisional Advisers will be conducting all student meetings remotely. Students should continue to schedule their preliminary and final appointments with Graduate Division Academic Affairs Advisers the way they have always done so, by utilizing the online calendaring system they have in place: https://gradforms.ucsd.edu/calendar/index.php

Committee Management: If you need to make any changes to your doctoral committee please follow the instructions above in the "Committee Management" drawer. 

Embargo Your Dissertation: Talk to your faculty advisor about embargoing your dissertation. You may want to embargo your dissertation if you are planning to turn it into a book. The embargo will delay the university's publication of your dissertation and prevent other academics from using your research.

Embargo Form: https://grad.ucsd.edu/_files/academics/DissertThesisReleaseTemplate.pdf

Documentation of Completion: Once your committee and department chair sign off on the Final Report via DocuSign (approving your defense and dissertation) you will receive a copy of the form. This signature page is sometimes adequate documentation of the completion of your Ph.D. The rest of the final signatures from the Graduate Division and the Registrar’s Office are not completed until the end of the quarter.

Also, once the Graduate Divison has all the signatures, your dissertation is approved, and all co-author letters are submitted (if required), they also provided a letter from the Dean for temporary confirmation of completion. You should check to find out what is acceptable for proof of completion from the requesting entity. This timeline is also contingent on whether your committee requests any revisions at the defense and how long those revisions delay the submission of your final dissertation after the defense.

Necessary Documents for the Dissertation Defense

  • Final Report (routed for signature by the Graduate Coordinator)

Best Practices for Completing the Final Report via DocuSign:

  • Ahead of your exam/defense ask faculty to add dse@docusign.net as a “safe sender” so those emails are less likely to go to junk/spam. Although campus IT has taken steps to identify DocuSign as a safe sender, it is still recommended that individual users do so as well.
  • At the end of your Defense ask your committee members to check their email for the DocuSign email with the link to the form and sign while you're all online together. 
  • If the link is not in their inbox:
    • ask the faculty to check their junk folder, spam quarantine, or other spam folders
    • next, ask them to log into their DocuSign account using their @ucsd.edu email address and SSO credentials to access the form/s directly (https://docusign.ucsd.edu) *some people have personal DocuSign accounts so ask them to ensure they are logging into the UCSD DocuSign account
  • Get verbal confirmation of who has signed and who has not, then follow up with the Graduate Coordinator to resolve any issues your committee members have with signing the form.
  • Once the appropriate form is submitted to the Graduate Division, the appropriate fee will be charged directly to the student’s financial TritonLink account. 

Paying Associated Fees: For students who will need to pay fees (advancement to candidacy, thesis submission fee, filing fee, re-admit fee), they will be charged the appropriate fees on their student financial TritonLink account once the form is received by the Graduate Division. There is no need for students to go to the cashier’s office.

Email and Mailing List: Please read over this information for managing your ucsd.edu email account. Also, please let the Graduate Coordinator if you would like to be added to the graduate Program Alumni Mailing which is used to contact you about departmental alumni events, and to forward announcements about job openings and funding opportunities.

Returning to Defend

Students In-Candidacy who do not defend within their Support Time Limit and withdraw or are administratively withdrawn from the program may return and register for one day to defend their dissertation. Below is a chart of what fees are required, based on when the student was last enrolled. The three fees total around $300 (as of 1/2022).

Students may also need to reconstitute their Dissertation Committee and should contact their Dissertation Committee Chair and the Graduate Coordinator to assist with this process.

Fees for Dissertation Defense

  Filing in Lieu of Registration Re-Admit Fee Re-Advancement Fee
Currently Enrolled      
Last Enrolled Previous Quarter X    
Last Enrolled Two Quarters Ago X X  
Last Enrolled More than 5 Years Ago X X X

 

Evaluation of Academic Work

Grades

The department expects all graduate students to do "A" level work. Grades below "B-" are considered evidence of unsatisfactory progress; a "C+" or any lower letter grade is recorded on the transcript, but is regarded as the equivalent of a failure. Required field courses must be taken for a letter grade. Students are strongly encouraged to take their entire first-year program for letter grades. These grades assist the department in evaluating the student's academic progress and in determining future financial support. Post-first-year students may take elective courses for satisfactory/unsatisfactory evaluation. Grades of "I" (Incomplete) must be changed to a letter grade by week 10 of the quarter following the quarter in which the course was taken. The grade will be recorded as a failure if the work has not been completed by then. Faculty do not have the authority to grant extensions of incompletes. A request for an extension of an incomplete must be made to the Graduate Division via the Graduate Program Coordinator in week 8 or 9 and these types of requests should only be made under exceptional circumstances.

Grade Point Average

Students whose grade point average falls below 3.0 during an academic year may continue in the program only in exceptional circumstances.

Spring Evaluation

Each spring in the years before the student has advanced to candidacy, faculty members from the field group will meet with each student individually to discuss the student's progress. In addition, the faculty adviser will submit a written evaluation for the student's file. Students are entitled to include a response in their permanent records. Once they are advanced to candidacy, graduate students continue to receive annual written evaluations of their progress from their respective faculty dissertation advisers. These evaluations are to be read and signed by the student, the adviser, at least three of the faculty members on the student's dissertation committee, and the department chair.

Time Limits

The duration of the Ph.D. program is five to eight years. University and departmental regulations stipulate that the maximum tenure of graduate study at UCSD or Total Registered Time Limit (TRTL) is eight years; while seven years is the limit for receiving any type of university financial support or a student's Support Time Limit (SUTL). For the Department of History, the "normative" time to degree is 7 years. Students are expected to pass their qualifying exam and advance to candidacy in year three, but no later than year four which is the university's Pre-candidacy time limit (PCTL)

To learn more about time limits please visit the Graduate Division website.

Time Limits: https://grad.ucsd.edu/academics/progress-to-degree/time-to-doctorate-policy.html

You can check your time limit by logging into the Graduate Student Portal.

Graduate Student Portal: https://gradforms.ucsd.edu/portal/student/

Also, please read about how your Support Time Limit and 18 quarter employment limit affect your financial support and track your employment quarters: https://history.ucsd.edu/graduate/funding.html#How-do-the-Support-Time-Limit-a

Scholarly Articles

Students who have written seminar or M.A. papers of high quality are encouraged and assisted by faculty to revise them for publication in scholarly journals.

Opportunities for Teaching

Teaching Assistantships

In addition to providing funding opportunities, Teaching Assistantships are an integral part of the graduate program at UCSD, providing training and experience in undergraduate teaching. All students, regardless of their funding needs, are encouraged to spend at least one year as a Teaching Assistant.

The training of teaching assistants is the responsibility of the program in which the teaching is done. For teaching assistants employed within the History Department, an orientation seminar will be offered at the beginning of the fall quarter. The seminar will be organized by the faculty teaching coordinator, in collaboration with a senior TA, both of whom serve as advisers for first-time Teaching Assistants throughout the year. In addition, departmental teaching assistants attend one four-hour training session given by the Center for Teaching Development prior to the beginning of instruction in the Fall Quarter.

For teaching assistants employed by the college programs or in the Linguistics Department, training sessions are organized by these programs to orient students in specific course content and methodologies. These seminars are often scheduled during the week prior to the beginning of instruction in the Fall Quarter. Training continues throughout the academic year in weekly staff meetings.

Teaching assistants both inside and outside the department are evaluated by the course instructor. The instructor visits a teaching assistant's section at least once each quarter and reviews a representative sample of papers and exams for fairness and consistency of grading. The instructor prepares a written evaluation of the teaching assistant at the end of the quarter, and the teaching assistant acknowledges the instructor's comments by signing the evaluation. The TA also has the opportunity to include a written response in their file.

Associate-In

There are some opportunities for advanced graduate students in the final year of their program to serve as the primary instructor ("Assoc-In") for an upper-division course in the history department. First, a graduate student may be asked to teach an existing course to replace a faculty member on leave. Second, a graduate student may apply to teach a course of their own design during one of the summer school sessions. Third, students in the last year of the program may apply for the Faculty Fellowship, which provides a two-year adjunct teaching position in the History Department. Students should consult with the Graduate Coordinator for relevant deadlines and application procedures.

Part-time Study

Students who enroll in fewer than twelve graduate or upper-division units per quarter are considered part-time students and are not eligible for support funding (eg. stipends, tuition and fee remission, tuition and fee scholarships, Academic Student Employment, etc.).

Approval for individual students to enroll on a part-time basis may be given for reasons of employment, family responsibilities, or health. Individuals who are interested in part-time study and meet the department's qualifications should speak with the Graduate Coordinator.

Part-time students must satisfy the same admission requirements as full-time students and are eligible, at the discretion of the department, for 25 percent time teaching or research assistantships (but not tuition and fee remission). Students who are approved by the Dean of Graduate Studies for enrollment in a program of half-time study or less (a maximum of six units) may be eligible for a reduction of fees. All other students pay the same fees as full-time students.

Job Placement

Students expecting to complete the Ph.D. normally work with their major adviser on job placement. When a graduating or former student accepts a position they should inform the graduate program staff who will update the Placement page of the website and inform the Graduate Division for data tracking purposes.

Qualifying Exam and Defense Temporary Policies [COVID-19]

Temporary Policy for Qualifying Exams and Dissertation Defenses

Due to the current exceptional circumstances related to the spread of COVID-19 and at the request of the Graduate Division, the Graduate Council authorized a limited-term exception to the general rules approved by the Graduate Council on October 8, 2018, for how master’s and doctoral committee members conduct master’s thesis defenses and doctoral qualifying exams and defenses. Effective until September 18, 2022, any and/or all members of a master’s or doctoral committee or the student being examined may be telepresent (meaning participation by live video teleconference) for a thesis defense, qualifying examination, and final oral examination (the dissertation defense). If these circumstances remain in effect beyond December 11th, the Graduate Council may authorize an extension upon request by the Dean of the Graduate Division or Chancellor.

As a temporary solution the Graduate Division has shared with Graduate Coordinators DocuSign forms for the following paperwork: 

  • Final Reports of Graduate Degrees (MAs, PhDs)
  • Report of the Qualifying Examination and Advancement to Candidacy for the Doctoral Degree
  • Application for Candidacy for the Thesis or Comprehensive Examination (PLAN I OR II) for the Degree of Master of Arts or Master of Science
  • General Petition

Original temporary policy email dated 3/10/2020

 

Field Specific Curriculum

Ancient

Students in ancient history will be expected to demonstrate a broad mastery of the entire field, with special concentration as follows:

Major Fields

  • The history of Israel in the biblical period
  • The history of the Jewish people in antiquity
  • The history of Classical Greece
  • The history of the Roman Empire (including late antiquity)

First Minor

  • One of the fields listed above not chosen as the major field
  • Greek and Roman history
  • The Middle East before Islam (western Asia and northeastern Africa from the sixth century B.C.E. to the seventh century C.E.)

Second Minor

  • A field of history outside of ancient history
  • A related discipline, offered through another department

Language Requirements

All students will be expected to demonstrate a reading knowledge of two modern foreign languages, usually French and German. This requirement may be satisfied by any of the means recognized by the department.

All students will be expected to demonstrate a reading knowledge of at least one and usually two of the three following ancient languages: Greek, Hebrew, and Latin. The languages will be chosen as appropriate to the student’s particular interests and the requirement will be satisfied by departmental examination.

The second and sometimes third language not elected under (2) may be required if necessary for the student’s research. Additional languages, such as Akkadian, Aramaic, Egyptian, Ugaritic, Phoenician, Coptic, Syriac, and middle and modern Hebrew, may be required as necessary for the student’s research. The required level of competence will be set as appropriate to the student's needs and the requirement will be satisfied by departmental examination.

Research Seminars

HIGR 260A-B. Research Seminar in Ancient History

HIGR 223A-B. Research Seminar in Medieval History

Historiographic Scholarship

HIGR 254. Historical Scholarship in Ancient History

HIGR 258: Historical Scholarship in Medieval History

East Asia

Students in East Asian history will be expected to demonstrate a broad competence in the entire field, with special concentration as follows:

Major Fields

  • The history of modern China
  • The history of modern Japan
  • The history of modern Korea

First Minor Field

A coherent “teaching field,” such as

  • The history of same country as the major field, but a different time period
  • The history of different region within East Asia, including transnational studies

Second Minor Field

A “theoretical, comparative, or transnational field,” such as

  • The history of a place outside of East Asia
  • A discipline outside of history

Language Requirements:

The student must demonstrate:

1) native or near-native fluency in English speaking and writing;

2) proficient reading and speaking knowledge of the main language(s) appropriate to the major field, including classical language where needed; and

3) when appropriate for a proposed research project, working knowledge of another language, decided upon in consultation with the advisor.  

 

Research Seminars

HIGR 215A-B: Research Seminar in Modern Chinese History

HIGR 216A-B: Research Seminar in Modern Japanese History

HIGR 218A-B: Research Seminar in Pre-Modern Chinese History

HIGR 219A-B: Research Seminar in Korean History

Historiographic Scholarship

HIGR 210: Historical Scholarship on Modern Chinese History (3 qtrs.)

HIGR 211: Historical Scholarship on Modern Japanese History (2 qtrs.)

HIGR 212: Historical Scholarship on Modern East Asian History

HIGR 213: Sources on Modern Chinese History

HIGR 214: Historical Scholarship on Modern Korean History

HIGR 217A-B-C: Historical Scholarship in Pre-Modern Chinese History (3 qtrs.)

Europe

The graduate program in European history aims to achieve a dual objective: to develop a broad mastery of the major themes and scholarship in the field, as well as to encourage a special focus of research within a single nation or region in either the modern or early modern era.

Major Fields

Within the major field, national specialization is offered in modern Germany, Spain, Russia and Greece, and in early modern Italy and Germany. Regional specialization is offered in central/eastern Europe and in the Mediterranean.

  • Modern Europe
  • Early modern Europe

First Minor Field

The first minor field should be selected from within the parameters of European history or in world/global history, but in a chronological period outside that of the major field.

  • Ancient Mediterranean
  • Medieval Europe
  • Early modern Europe
  • Modern Europe
  • A second national history
  • World/global history

Second Minor Field

The second minor field is designed either to develop a non-European teaching expertise or to pursue broader theoretical reading related to the research interests of the student or in a chronological period outside that of the major field.

  • A geographical area outside Europe
  • History of science
  • World/global history
  • A transnational thematic or theoretical concentration, such as gender history, citizenship, nationalism, etc.
  • A thematic or theoretical concentration rooted in another discipline, such as anthropology, sociology, art history, ethnic studies, or literature.
  • Early modern Europe (only if the world/global history was taken as the first minor field)

Language Requirement

All European PhD students must show reading proficiency in two European languages other than English.

Research Seminars

HIGR 230A-B: Research Seminar in European History

HIGR 223A-B: Research Seminar in Medieval History

Historiographic Scholarship

HIGR 220: Historical Scholarship on European History, 1500-1750

HIGR 221: Historical Scholarship on European History, 1715-1850

HIGR 222: Historical Scholarship on European History, since 1850

HIGR 225: Readings in Modern Russian History

Latin America

Doctoral candidates in Latin American history are expected to gain a broad chronological and geographical mastery of the field as a whole. The oral examination in the major field, while concentrating on the student’s special area of interest, will be a comprehensive examination covering the whole field of Latin American history.

Major Fields

  • The national period of Latin America, with a specialty in the Andean Republics, Brazil, the Caribbean, Mexico, or the Southern Cone countries
  • Colonial Latin America, with an emphasis on one major region

First Minor

The student should select either the national period or the colonial period as a chronological supplement to the major.

Second Minor

  • The history of another geographic area outside Latin America and the Caribbean
  • An area of discipline, offered through another department, related to the student’s dissertation or preparation for university teaching

Language Requirement

Competency in two languages in addition to English before advancement to candidacy is required. Normally the first of these will be Spanish. The second may be Portuguese or another European or non-European language, including an indigenous language of the Americas.

Research Seminars

HIGR 247A-B: Readings and Seminar on Colonial Latin America

HIGR 248A-B: Readings and Seminar on Latin America, National Period

Historiographic Scholarship

HILA 267: Scholarship on Latin American History in the Colonial Period

HILA 268: Scholarship on Latin American History in the Nineteenth Century

HILA 269: Scholarship on Latin American History in the Twentieth Century

Middle East

The objective of the doctoral program in Middle Eastern history is to achieve broad expertise in the modern history of the Middle East and to develop a special focus on the history of the late Ottoman Empire or its successor states.

Major Fields

  • Late Ottoman history (approximately 1780 to 1920)
  • Colonial and national period of the post-Ottoman Middle East with a specialty in the Arab East, Turkey, Egypt, etc.

Minor Fields

Any two of the following:

  • The field of Middle Eastern history not chosen as a major field (see above)
  • The modern history of a geographic area outside of the Middle East (ordinarily in European history)
  • A related geographical or topical field (e.g., medieval Middle East, Iran, gender studies) offered through another department

Language Requirement

Students must possess a sound foundation in reading Arabic or Turkish (Ottoman Turkish or modern Turkish) as a requirement for admission to the program. Reading competence in two languages in addition to English is required before advancement to candidacy: the regional language Arabic or Turkish (above), and a modern European language (other than English) related to the major field of specialization.

Research Seminars

HIGR 275A-B: Research Seminar in Middle Eastern History

Historiographic Scholarship

HIGR 274A: Historical Scholarship on the Early Modern Middle East

HIGR 274B: Historical Scholarship on Modern Middle East, Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries

HIGR 274C: Historical Scholarship on Modern Middle East, Colonial, National, and Post-colonial Eras

United States

Major Fields

United States History

First Minor

One of the following topical fields:

  • African-American history
  • Asian-American history
  • Atlantic history
  • history of the borderlands and Southwest
  • Chicano history
  • economic history
  • legal and constitutional history
  • political history
  • social and cultural history
  • history of the South
  • history of the West
  • history of women, gender, and sexuality,
  • one designed in consultation with the adviser

Second Minor

  • A geographic area outside the United States in either the premodern or modern period
  • A related discipline offered through another department

Language Requirement

Competency in one language in addition to English before advancement to candidacy is required.

Research Seminars

HIGR 267A-B: Research Seminar in United States History

Historiographic Scholarship

HIGR 265A-B-C: Historical Scholarship on American History

Specialization in History of Science

Major Fields

  • Science in early modern Europe
  • Science in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries
  • Science in the twentieth century
  • Another field of comparable breadth, defined in consultation with the major field adviser

First and Second Minor Fields

  • Any two of the following may be selected, in consultation with the major field adviser
  • Science Studies (mandatory for students in the Science Studies program).
  • Any of the other fields offered by the department, provided that it offers general historical understanding of the same period as the major field.
  • A field of history of science not chosen as the major field.
  • A second field of history, provided that it concentrates on a period or region other than that chosen for the first minor field.
  • A related discipline, offered through another department. (This field may be in the physical or life sciences.)

Language Requirement

Competency in one or two languages in addition to English before advancement to candidacy is required. The requirement will vary depending on chosen major field.

Research Seminars

HIGR 239: Seminar in Science Studies

Historiographic Scholarship

HIGR 238: Introduction to Science Studies

HIGR 241: Advanced Approaches to Science Studies

HIGR 240: Colloquium in Science Studies

HIGR 243: Historical Scholarship in Technology

Specialization in Critical Gender Studies (CGS)

UCSD's Critical Gender Studies program began as Women's Studies in the 1970s, alongside both an active non-academic women's rights movement and the nascent institutionalization of women's studies as an academic presence. The program was initiated with participation from students and faculty across the humanities and social sciences, including many of the same departments that continue to be involved. From the beginning, it understood itself as an interdisciplinary countercurrent, drawing from these disciplines and simultaneously offering a critique of accepted ideas and beliefs within them.

In the late 90s, the program's faculty introduced curricular revisions and the name change to Critical Gender Studies. With this, UCSD became one of the first institutions formally to acknowledge and to embrace the importance of sexuality and racial formation for the interdisciplinary study of gender. Always forward-thinking and rigorously interdisciplinary, the program has proven immensely useful and enriching for the undergraduate students who have partaken in it for the last several decades. Given the rich history and roots of this program, we are pleased to announce that such benefits now extend to graduate students through the CGS graduate specialization.

UCSD has long been a vibrant site for the study of gender and sexuality, with many graduate students and faculty already engaged in gender-related projects. These students and faculty have collaboratively organized toward recognition of this focus in their research. The specialization has been put in place to respond to such demands, providing a central program through which graduate students may develop their work among peers who take up similar questions. The program encourages applications from all graduate students (who have been admitted to the participating departments) whose work takes up questions of gender. Through the contributions of CGS faculty who specialize in women of color feminism(s) and queer of color critique, the program helps to develop and foster an understanding of gender as necessarily linked to race, sexuality and other social formations.

https://cgs.ucsd.edu/

 

Departmental Forms

Field Curriculum Status Sheets

About the Status Sheet

The Status Sheet was originally developed for use by staff as an administrative tool. It tracks only the elements of the PhD requirements that staff need to check in order to ensure you are administratively prepared for the Qualifying Exam and to receive an MA on the Way (if you are eligible). This should be filled out to the best of your ability prior to meeting with the Graduate Coordinator about preparing the paperwork for your Qualifying exam or MA on the Way.

Status Sheets 

All status sheets are word docs. Please download the form, click on each line to fill out the form, and save the form using the following naming convention: [FamilyName]_[First Initial]-Status Sheet [YEAR-MO-DA], ex. Triton_K-Status Sheet 2020-09-23. Further, please list the dates Minors or Language Exams were passed. Also, please indicate the quarter all courses listed on the status sheet were taken (this is especially important for 298s), ex. HIGR 200 (FA20). Finally, if you plan to use a 298 to fulfill the course requirement for either the Research Seminar or Historiography you need to fill out a general petition to have that substitution approved and documented.

Report of the Minor Field Exam

Documenting Completion of a Minor Field

To document your fulfillment of a minor field please click the button to the right to fill out and route for signature the Report of the Minor Field Exam via DocuSign. You will need to enter:

  1. your name and email
  2. the name and email of the faculty member approving your minor field
  3. the name and email of your faculty advisor

Report of the Language Exam

Documenting Completion of a Language

Please use this form only to document the fulfillment of a language by means other than the departmental Language Exam (e.g. course work, petition, etc). Please click the button to the right to fill out and route for signature the Report of the Language Exam via DocuSign. You will need to enter:

  1. your name and email
  2. the name and email of your faculty advisor 
  3. the name and email of the Graduate Coordinator (or Graduate Program Assistant in Grad. Coords. absence)

You may also need to attach a PDF of either an approved departmental petition, your transcripts, or other documentation.

Department General Petition

Department General Petition

Please use this form to petition alterations to curriculum as stated in the university catalog. Please click the button to the right to fill out and route for signature the Departmental General Petition via DocuSign. You will need to enter:

  1. your name and email
  2. the name and email of the Graduate Coordinator (or Graduate Program Assistant in Grad. Coords. absence)
  3. the name and email of your faculty advisor

You may also need to attach a PDF your transcripts, or other documentation.

 

Wording for Common Petitions

298's for Historiographies or Research Seminars
Request: I would like to use HIGR 298 taken ([quarter year-eg: FA21]) in place of HIGR [number] to fulfill
the [your field] [Historiography or Research Seminar] course requirement.
Reason: HIGR [number] wasn't slated to be offered within the time frame I would have needed to take it in order to qualify on time. I worked with Dr. [faculty name] to cover the same material. See attached documentation.
Documentation: paper abstracts for each class, reading list, email correspondence with instructor, etc, as appropriate

 

Ancient History Modern Languages
Request: I would like LIFR 11-Elementary French Reading and LIGM 11- Elementary German Reading to fulfill the modern German and French language requirement for the Ancient History Field.
Reason: Research and study of ancient history requires a reading level proficiency of modern French and German, whereas it requires a translation level proficiency in Latin and Greek.  The catalog copy needs to be updated to reflect this distinction in proficiency between the modern and ancient languages and to allow this coursework to fulfill the language requirement in this instance.

 

East Asian History Third Minor Field
Request: I would like to waive the third minor field requirement.
Reason: East Asian faculty have agreed that a third minor field is not necessary for mastery—which is in line with the requirements of all other field groups in the department.

Department Letterhead Request

Department Letterhead Request

Please use this form to request a copy of the History Department letterhead (in Word format). Department letterhead may only be used by current PhD students for the following purposes:
  • Personal statement or cover letter for a job application
  • Personal statement or cover letter for a fellowship application or other type of financial support application
  • Personal statement of cover letter for a conference presentation application
Please note the following policies regarding the use of History Department letterhead:
  • It may only be used during the time in which individuals are active PhD students in the department.
  • Students must request and receive written permission (from the Graduate Coordinator) to use the letterhead for any purpose not listed above.
  • All uses of the letterhead should make clear that the document is originating from the individual student (sender details begin with student’s name and student’s name is added as the signature at the end of the document).
  • No student may use the letterhead to express the opinions of the History Department, other students, faculty, or any other entities beyond themselves.

If you have any questions about the proper uses of the History Department letterhead, ask the Graduate Coordinator before using it. Once you complete the application below and receive a copy of the letterhead, it is your responsibility to follow all policies and standards.