The Department of History

College of Arts & Sciences


Graduate Handbook

August 2014

Introduction

Graduate School Introduction

In order to serve the mission and vision of the Graduate School and preserve the integrity of the graduate programs at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, individual departments provide information related to the process of graduate education for all graduate students.

The department Graduate Handbook does not deviate from established Graduate School policies (http://catalog.utk.edu/index.php?catoid=15) noted in the Graduate Catalog, but provides the specific ways those policies are carried out in the department.

Purpose of the Handbook

The purpose of this handbook is to inform graduate students, prospective graduate students, and other interested parties of the rules and regulations governing graduate work in the Department of History.

Graduate students are expected to be aware of and satisfy all regulations governing their work and student at the University. Students should consult the Graduate Catalog, Hilltopics, publications on the appeals procedure, and the Graduate Assistant Handbook available on the Graduate School Website.

Administrative Structure

While the department head has complete authority over all aspects of the operation of the History Department, the head delegates responsibility for administration of the graduate program to the Director of Graduate Studies (DGS). See the department webpage for contact information for the current DGS. The duties of the DGS include publicizing the department’s programs, answering questions from prospective assistants, and liaising with the Graduate School. In all these duties the DGS is assisted by the graduate secretary (currently Bernice Koprince, bkoprinc@utk.edu). The graduate committee (of which the DGS is a non-voting, ex-officio member) is appointed by the department head and oversees all aspects of graduate education in the department, making recommendations when necessary to the department head and department faculty. The graduate committee also evaluates all currently enrolled and incoming graduate students on an annual basis and recommends to the department which students will be awarded assistantships, as well as all other graduate awards. The admissions subcommittee of the graduate committee, consisting of the DGS and two committee members appointed by the chair of the graduate committee, evaluates all applications to the graduate programs and decides whom to accept. The chair of the graduate committee, appointed by the department head, convenes the graduate committee, insures that the committee addresses those issues that the department head or faculty have charged it to consider, and works with the department head and DGS to identify further graduate matters that the committee or department needs to address.

General Duties and Responsibilities of Faculty and Graduate Students

Faculty members must teach seminars that introduce graduate students to the most important current approaches to and methods of professional History; must read and react to their students’ work—especially drafts of theses and dissertations—in a timely manner; and must take the time to discuss carefully their advisees’ progress through the degree program and choice of thesis or dissertation topic. While the onus is on students to seek out their advisors and schedule appointments, advisors are obliged to give thoughtful advice. In cases of conflict between advisor and advisee, both are encouraged to consult with the DGS and/or department head. Faculty should refer to the Faculty Handbook (http://chancellor.tennessee.edu/facultvhandbook/).

Graduate students are expected to know all the requirements for their degrees and to satisfy them in a timely fashion. This includes locating the proper forms, completing them, and getting them to the proper parties on time. Graduate education in History is demanding work. While most History graduate students go to school full time, we do welcome part-time students. Both full and part-time students should bear in mind that they need sufficient time not only to complete their coursework but also to participate in other professional activities that will make them better historians, such as attending conferences and lectures.

Admission Requirements and Application Procedure

Admission to MA Program
Students are admitted to the masters program based on evidence of academic ability and promise. Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores, undergraduate grade point average (GPA), and the quality of the applicant’s statement of research intent, writing sample, and letters of recommendation are all considered. An undergraduate degree in History is not required, though undergraduate coursework in History is encouraged.

Admission to the PhD Program

Students are admitted into the PhD program based on evidence of academic ability, a clear sense of a research agenda, and fit between the prospective student’s research interests and departmental strengths. A masters degree in History or a related field from an accredited college or university is not required. If admitted, students with an accredited master’s degree in History will have fewer required coursework hours that those without one. GRE scores, previous GPA, and the quality of the applicant’s statement of intent, writing sample, and letters of recommendation are considered in admission decisions.

Application Procedures

The following admission procedures apply to both MA and PhD applicants. Admissions materials are handled electronically through the Graduate School’s Admissions Website.

Graduate School required materials include:

  1. Application form and fees
  2. GRE scores
  3. Transcripts from all colleges/universities where a student has taken courses

Additional materials are required by the Department of History, but made available and submitted through the Graduate School’s web portal:

  1. Three Graduate Rating Forms/Letters of Recommendation
  2. A Statement of Intent, including the intended field of study, research agenda, and professional goals (approximately 1,000 words)
  3. A writing sample (a thesis chapter, undergraduate or graduate seminar paper, etc.)
  4. A copy of current c.v.

For consideration for funding, all application materials must be submitted by November 30. Admission decisions are made by the History Department. Applications are reviewed as they are finalized. Notification of admission status is made by the Graduate School via the application web portal. Notification of funding is made by the Department.

Application Deadlines

  • Completed applications received by November 30 will be considered for admission and funding for the fall semester.
  • Completed applications received between December 1 and January 15 will be considered for admission without funding for the fall semester.

PLEASE NOTE: An MA is not a prerequisite for applying for the PhD program. To be considered for funding, applicants should apply for PhD.

The program in history at UT offers three options:

PhD without previous MA in history: This program is for students preparing for university teaching and research or other careers for which a doctoral degree is desirable. PhD with previous MA in history: This program is for students transferring to UTK with a Masters degree in History or its equivalent and preparing for university teaching and research or other careers for which a doctoral degree is desirable. MA: This program is for students wanting to learn more about history for professional or career development or to prepare for further advanced study of history.

Financial Support

Graduate Assistantships

The Department of History annually awards approximately twenty graduate teaching assistantships, which carry a tuition waiver and a base stipend of approximately $11,100 per year. Stipends may be increased depending on the availability of various “top-off” funds or additional College or University fellowships. Awards are generally renewable for four years. Students holidng these awards are normally working toward the PhD, and serve as teaching assistants for upper division courses or large undergraduate survey courses.

Students without funding who prove themselves to be diligent and able scholars, principally by doing well in their courses and participating in the intellectual life of the department, are sometimes awarded assistantships later in their degree program.

The renewal of assistantships from semester to semester is not automatic. It is contingent on student performance and compliance with the terms set forth in funding offer letters. Assistantships are very competitive; the department awards them only to the best students. Each year, students are required to fill out a progress to degree report (see Appendix) documenting substantial progress towards degree completion. Together with evaluations by professors supervising the student’s teaching, and the student’s primary advisor, the progress to degree report is used by the faculty to assess continued funding of the student.

First-year students should keep in mind that their renewal will be based entirely on their performance during the first semester int he graduate program. It is therefore very important that new students exert their maximum effort to succeed from their first day in the program. New students should be especially conscientious about communicating with their primary adivsor.

Upon beginning graduate school, students should immediately start compiling a professional dossier, and should keep the dossier up to date as he or she progresses through the program. Having such a dossier is very helpful for demonstrating progress to advisors, preparing a c.v. and applying for jobs.

Fellowships, Awards, and Travel Funds

The Milton M. Klein Graduate Fellowship in American History is a non-service fellowship that carries a stipend of $15,000.

The Department of History’s Center for the Study of War and Society gives the Jerry and Edgar Wilson Fellowship annually to a graduate student working on US history, with preference given to World War II topics.

The Charles O. Jackson Award is awarded annually to a student working on their dissertation in American social or cultural history.

The Lee L. Verstandig Award goes to a student in at least the second year of their program, working on 19th-Century US or Russian history.

The Susan Becker Graduate Teaching Award recognizes an outstanding teaching assistant or graduate teaching associate.

The Stevenson Award supports dissertation research in Tennessee History.

The Paul Bergeron Scholarship is awarded to an outstanding graduate student in American History.

The Bernadotte Schmitt Graduate Research Fund and the Galen Broeker Fund help support graduate student research travel. These awards are offered annually for summer research, and are intended to support preliminary dissertation research leading to external grant applications.

Travel

Under certain circumstances, the department will help pay for graduate student travel to professional conferences. Funding is limited to a total of $1000 during a graduate student’s tenure in the program, and is limited to students who are presenting at appropriate conferences.

Students applying for departmental travel funds must also apply for University graduate student travel funds. The department’s application deadlines are the same as the University’s, as listed on the Graduate Student Senate website. When applying for departmental funds, the student must first send an email to the DGS detailing the conference, how the travel will support their development, and a detailed budget. The DGS will respond requesting more information or with an approval for a specified dollar amount that the department will provide. This email must be provided to the graduate secretary.

Upon receiving approval from the DGS, the student must fill out an Authorization to Travel form, using the appropriate form for international or domestic travel. The student should provide their best guess on budget expenses.

When traveling internationally, students must also regiseter with Interntional Student & Scholar Services. (See Appendices.) An International Travel Card costs $25 per year. Each trip must be registered. Please be aware, the International Travel Authorization Form and trip registration must match.

Reimbursable expenses, up to the total authorized by the DGS, include airfare, taxi, or train transportation, baggage, hotel, and conference registration. Students are referred to the Graduate Secretary for specifics on requirements for individual reimbursements.

Advising and Registration

Advisor Selection

Until a student selects a major professor, he or she will work with a temporary advisor appointed by the DGS. Incoming students mus consult with their temporary advisor before registering for fall classes.

With the guidance of the temporary advisor and the DGS, the student will select a major professor under whose guidance he or she will complete the program. Students mus select a permanent advisor by November 1 of their first semester and then submit the appropriate form to the graduate secretary. Students should meet regularly with their permanent advisor to discuss the progress of their program. Students may change permanent advisor’s by filing new paperwork with the graduate secretary, should their interests or research agenda change.

Registration Procedures

To register for classes, a student mus first obtain his or her Net ID. Admitted students can find their Net ID by searching for their name in the University’s online directory. With this information, the student may go to the Office of Information (OIT) website to create a password and register your account. After a student has set up an account, he or she may log into myUTK following the information provided by the Registrar’s office.

Types of Courses and Course Credit

Courses numbered 515 through 585 are mainly readings seminars utilizing secondary sources. These seminars comprise the majority of History graduate offerings. The amount of reading and the nature of writing assignments vary, as does the scope of each seminar. Courses numbered 629 through 651 are research seminars that involve work in primary historical sources culminating in a scholarly paper. First-semester MA students are strongly discouraged from taking 600-level courses.

Some courses, especially in European History, have both 500- and 600-level numbers; students should sign up for the course under one number or the other. Those who take the course for 500-level credit will focus their written work on the historiography of the theme or topic of the course; those who take it for 600-level credit will write a research paper based on priamry sources related to the topic or theme of the course.

Minimum Number of Hours for Full-time Status

The maximum load for a graduate student is 15 hours, and 9 hours is considered full time. For the summer term, graduate students may register for a maximum of 12 hours in an entire summer term or a maximum of 6 hours in a five-week summer session.

Students funded by the department are expected to enroll in a 9 to 12 hours, which may include language instruction. Refer to the Policy for the Administration of Graduate Assistantships (pdf) for additional information.

Students receiving financial aid should consult with the DS or department head concerning appropriate course loads. Courses audited do not count toward minimum graduate hours required for financial assistance.

Registration for more than 15 hours during any semester, or for more than 12 hours in the summer term, is not permissible without prior approval. The academic advisor may allow registration for up to 18 hours during a semester if the student has achieved a cumulative grade point average of 3.6 or better in at least 9 hours of graduate work, with no outstanding incompletes.

Proper Use of 502 (Use of Facilities)

Students using University facilities, services, or faculty time, including summer term, must be registered. Normally, students are registered for coursework or thesis/dissertaiton credit. Sutdents who are not taking coursework and are noy yet eligible to register for thesis or dissertation hours must register for course 502 (Use of Facilities) if they wish to have borrowing privileges in the University libraries or to use labs or other University resources.

Thesis and Dissertation Hours

An MA student must be registered for History 500 (thesis hours) each semester during work on the thesis, including a minimum of 3 hours in the semester in which the thesis is accepted by the graduate School. Six hours of History 500 are required for the thesis option. After receiving the masters degree, a student is no longer permitted to register for History 500.

History 600 (dissertation hours) is reserved for doctoral research. Initial registration for History 600 generally corresponds to the time at which a student begins to work actively on dissertation research. From this time on, students are required to register continuously for at least 3 hours of History 600 each term, including summer. A minimum of 24 hours total of History 600 is requried.

A student who will not be using faculty services or University facilities for a period of time may request a leave of absence from dissertation research, up to a maximum of six terms (including summer terms). The request, approved by the major professor, will be submitted by the student and filed through the Graduate School using the correct form.

Degree Requirements for Master of Arts in History

Students choose between a thesis track and a non-thesis track of study for the MA degree. This decision should be made in consultation with their adviser.

Specializations

Students concentrate in one of four MA fields: Premodern Europe, Modern Europe, Asia, or United States. There is no foreign language requirement for the MA.

Thesis Track Requirements

Coursework: Thesis-track students will complete 24 hours of course work and 6 hours of thesis credit (History 500) for a total of 30 hours. As part of the 30 hours, they should also complete History 510 and a 600-level research seminar; these two courses will usually be taken during the fall and spring of the first year in the MA program. Except by prior approval of the Director of Graduate Studies, a student’s course work must be at the 500-level or above if it is to count for the 30 hours of graduate credit required.

Coursework outside the Department: Up to 9 hours of graduate-level courses taken outside of the department may count towards a student’s 30 hours of required graduate credit. Students may count up to 9 hours of graduate credits earned outside UTK (with the grade of B or higher) if those hours were not used to earn a degree at that institution and if the student does not take additional hours from outside the History Department. Students should consult the DGS for advice on this matter.

Thesis: The MA thesis should be at least 50 pages in length, plus notes and bibliography. The student will select the thesis topic under the direction of their adviser.

Exam: Thesis students will sit for a two-hour oral examination that will cover the thesis and the major field. For details about this examination, please see the relevant section under “Examinations.” To prepare for their exam, student may chose to take History 521, a directed readings course designed to fill in gaps left after completing other coursework. This course is normally taken no earlier than the semester preceding the MA examination. History 521 is graded Satisfactory/No Credit. Students must contact the graduate secretary before registering for this course to complete a consent form.

Non-Thesis Track

*NOTE: PhD students applying for concurrent MA will complete the non-thesis track requirements.

Coursework: Students who choose the non-thesis track must complete 30 hours of coursework. As part of the 30 hours, they should also complete History 510 and a 600-level research seminar; these two courses will usually be taken during the fall and spring of the first year in the MA program. At least twelve hours of coursework must be completed in the student’s major field. Except by prior approval of the Director of Graduate Studies, a student’s course work must be at the 500-level or above if it is to count for the 30 hours of graduate credit required.

Coursework outside the Department: Up to 9 hours of graduate-level courses taken outside of the department may count towards a student’s 30 hours of required graduate credit. Students may count up to 9 hours of graduate credits earned outside UTK (with the grade of B or higher) if those hours were not used to earn a degree at that institution and if the student does not take additional hours from outside the History Department. Students should consult the DGS for advice on this matter.

Exam: Non-thesis students will sit for a written examination in their major field. For the format and scheduling of this exam, see the relevant section under “Examinations.” To prepare for their examinations, student may chose to take History 521, a directed readings course designed to fill gaps left after completing other coursework. It is normally taken no earlier than the semester preceding the MA examination. History 521 is graded Satisfactory/No Credit. Students must contact the graduate secretary before registering for this course to complete a consent form.

Independent Readings Courses

History 593 is an independent readings course. It is graded A through F. It may meet as frequently as, and assign work equal to, a 500-level seminar. In rare cases, the instructor and the DGS may permit a graduate student to enroll in an upper-division undergraduate course under the 593 rubric. Before enrolling in 593, the student must obtain written consent from the instructor and the DGS. The student must contact the graduate secretary before registering for this course to complete a consent form.

Formation of Committee and Admission to Candidacy

Under the direction of their adviser, students should establish their committee no later than the end of the second semester. The committee consists of the adviser and two, or occasionally three, additional professors in the department. If the student is writing a thesis, the members of the committee will advise the student on his or her research, read and evaluate the thesis, and administer the two-hour oral exam. For non-thesis students, the committee will administer the written exam. When the committee is selected, the student must see the graduate secretary to complete the appropriate form.

After completing 9 hours of coursework in History with at least a 3.0 GPA, the student must apply for admission to MA candidacy. The appropriate form can be found at the Graduate School website. The form must be submitted to the Graduate School no later than the end of the semester prior to the semester the student intends to graduate. A copy of the Admission to Candidacy form must be filed with the graduate secretary.

Timetable for Degree Completion

The MA program can typically be completed in two years. The Graduate School allows six calendar years to complete the degree, starting at the beginning of the semester of the first course counted toward the degree.

The student must apply for graduation no later than the end of the semester before the semester in which he or she intends to graduate. The Graduate School website lists all dates and deadlines for graduation.

Transitioning to the PhD Program

A student who wishes to continue to the PhD program should, following the successful completion of the MA exam, solicit letters of recommendation from the members of the MA examination committee, write a new statement of intent, and complete a “Request for Change of Graduate Program” form through the Graduate School. The Graduate School will then send the student’s file to the History Department for evaluation by the graduate committee. The student must complete the change of program form before enrolling in the PhD program.

Degree Requirements for Doctor of Philosophy in History

Concurrent MAs for PhD Candidates: PhD students who entered the program straight from the BA should apply to get a concurrent MA while completing their course of study. The form to apply for a concurrent MA is available on the Grauate School Website

In order to receive this degree, students must complete all the requirements for a non-thesis track MA (please see the relevant section above).

Specializations

PhD students select on major (Group I) field from the following:
* United States — from colonial era to the present.
* Premodern Europe — from ancient Greece through the mid-18th century.
* Modern Europe — from the mid-18th century to the present.

Students also select one research specialization (Group II) filed within the major (Group I) field, from the following:

United States European
Colonial and Early Republic Medieval
19th Century Early Modern
20th Century Modern
Regional (e.g., Southern) Political and Diplomatic
Military and Foreign Relations Intellectual and Cultural
Social and Cultural Social and Economic
Political National (e.g., German)
Gender Gender

Students also have a teaching (Group III) field in World History.

Research Requirement

Students are required to write a dissertation. Te student will select the dissertation topic under the direction of the major professor with the advice fo the doctoral committee.

The first step in the dissertation project is the preparation of a prospectus. The exact nature of the prospectus should be worked out by the student and the major professor. It should be a document of 15 to 25 pages that includes the following: a discussion of relevant primary sources and historiography; an overview of the proposed dissertation; the contents and working hypothesis and/or argument of the dissertation; and a bibliography of archival and historiographical sources. Students should seek approval of the prospectus from the major professor by the end of the semester following the semester in which they passed the Comprehensive Examinations. Students should also submit the prospectus to their other dissertation committee members during that same semester; however, approval by the other committee members is not required at that time.

After completing the prospectus, students will present their dissertation proposals in a department-wide Dissertation Proposal Colloquium. All faculty and graduate students are encouraged to attend this event and offer the students feedback on their projects.

A student must register for at least 24 hours of dissertation credit (History 600) before finishing the dissertation. History 600 will be open only to students who have passed their Comprehensive Examinations. A student must be engaged in some phase of active research to receive credit for History 600.

Once having registered for history 600, a student must continuously register for at least 3 hours each term (including summers) until they finish. If a student will not be using faculty services or university facilities for a period of time, he or she may request a leave of absence from continual registration from teh Graduate School up to a maximum of six semesters, including summers. Students who do not register and have not been granted a leave of absence from continual registration by the Graduate School will have to pay tuition and fees, plus late registration penalties, for every semester they did not register, before they will be allowed to defend the dissertation.

Foreign Language Requirement

Students must demonstrate reading competency in a foreign language or languages through coursework or examination. In other words, they should be able to demonstrate a sufficient understanding of a scholarly text in the language in which they are being tested. Students in Premodern Europe must pass three language exams, including Latin. The other two languages are determined in consultation with the major professor. Students in Modern Europe are required to qualify in two languages, as determined in consultation with the major professor. Students in US history will be required to qualify in one language. The foreign language exam requirement must be fulfilled before taking the Comprehensive Examinations.

The language exam requirement is satisfied by passing a written exam administered in the History Department. The exams are held twice yearly, once in each semester Fall and Spring, on a date determined by the department and announced via email at the beginning of each semester. The selections for translation are chosen by the appropriate departmental language coordinator.

Each student will receive an exam packet with a passage to translate. For Latin and ancient Greek, the translations will be 100 words in length; for the modern languages, the passages will be 200 words.

Students will have 90 minutes to finish their translation of the assigned passage.

Students may use PAPER dictionaries, verb charts and grammar textbooks, but MAY NOT use any electronic resources.

Student should bring pen and paper with them to the exam.

If the student’s language is French or German, he or she may also fulfill the requirement by completing French 302 or German 332 with a grade of B or higher. For other languages, coursework will not satisfy the certification requirement, though the student may take courses to develop expertise before sitting for the language exam.

To reiterate, the language requirement must be met before the student takes the Comprehensive Examinations, and thus must be complete during or before the semester that he or she finishes coursework.

Students who have demonstrated a reading knowledge of an acceptable foreign language in a graduate program before coming to UTK, will not be required to re-examine, provided that they pass the Comprehensive Examinations within five years of the coursework or examination that demonstrated foreign language competence. Students must provide to the DGS in their first semester at UTK documentation of their reading knowledge of an appropriate foreign language.

Nature of the Courses to Be Taken

The student must take between eight and sixteen 3-hour courses, depending on credit given for previous graduate work in History. Only one of these courses may be graded Satisfactory/No Credit; in other words, the student must have between 21 and 45 hours of coursework graded A-F. Under normal circumstances, students may not count courses taken at another institution, particularly courses that counted towards MA requirements. Students entering with an MA in History must complete at least eight courses, but potentially more as determined in consultation with their major professor.

“All PhD students must complete at a minimum the following courses: History 510; History 512; 9 hours in the major (Group I) field; 9 hours in the teaching (Group III) field (History 511 and two 500-level courses with subject matter outside of Europe and the United States under normal circumstances); and two research (600-level) seminars. Students who have written an MA thesis need only one research seminar and History 621. When planning your coursework, please note that the Graduate School requires students to take at least two 600-level courses at the University of Tennessee in order to fulfill the requirements for the doctorate. History 600, the course number for dissertation hours, does not count for this requirement, and transfer credits cannot be used to meet this requirement. There is no course requirement for the research specialization (Group II) field, though comprehensive exam reading lists should cover this field.”

History 593 is an independent readings course. It is graded A through F. It may meet as frequently as, and assign work equal to, the reading seminars. In rare cases, the instructor and the DGS may permit a graduate student to enroll in an upper-division undergraduate course under the 593 rubric. See the Graduate Catalog. Before enrolling in History 593, the student must obtain written consent from the instructor and DGS. The student must contact the graduate secretary before registering for this course to complete a consent form.

History 621 is a directed readings course designed to fill gaps left after completing other coursework. History 621 is graded Satisfactory/No Credit. Enrollment in 621 requires the consent of the major professor and the DGS. The student must contact the graduate secretary before registering for this course to complete a consent form.

Residency Requirements

University regulations define residence as full-time registration for a given semester on the campus where the program is located. The summer term is included in this period. During residence, it is expected that the student will be engaged in full-time on-campus study toward a graduate degree. All PhD students are required to register as full-time students for at least two consecutive semesters. This requirement must be met before coursework is completed.

Applicability of Coursework Taken Outside the History Department

With written consent from the advisor and the DGS a student may take up to 6 hours of courses in other UTK departments. Students must contact the graduate secretary in advance of registering for such courses to complete a consent form.

Formation of Committee and Admission to Candidacy

As student should establish his or her committee, under the direction of the major professor, no later than the end of the second semester of study. The doctoral committee consists of the major professor, two additional professors from the History Department, an done professor from outside the department. All must be tenured or tenure-track faculty.

At least three members of the committee, including the major professor, must be approved by the Graduate School to direct doctoral dissertations. Members of the committee are selected on the basis of the expertise they bring to the direction of the dissertation, and should be consulted throughout the student’s program of study, research, and writing. After selecting a doctoral committee, the student must complete a “Recommended Doctoral Committee” form and submit it to the Graduate School, with a copy to the graduate secretary. Subsequent changes to the doctoral committee should be filed using the appropriate form with both the Graduate School and the graduate secretary.

After completing all coursework and language requirements and passing the Comprehensive Examinations, the student must apply for admission to candidacy. The “Admission to Candidacy” form must be completed the same semester that the Comprehensive Examinations are passed. The form and instructions for its completion can be found on the Graduate School website. The completed form should be submitted to the Graduate School, and a copy submitted to the graduate secretary.

Timetable for Degree Completion

Students have a total of eight years from the time of enrollment in the doctoral program to complete the PhD. Students who have not successfully defended the dissertation by then must pass the Comprehensive Examinations again, before being permitted to defend the dissertation. If a student takes a leave of absence during this time, the time still ocunts towards the eight years.

The student must apply for graduation no later than the end of the semester before the semester in which he or she intends to graduate. The Graduate School website lists all dates and deadlines for graduation.

Examinations: MA Program, Non-Thesis Option

The Examination

Students who do not write a thesis will complete a written exam in their primary field. In this exam, students will explain how their current research interests fit into broader historiographical trends within their major field; they will also synthesize what they see as the most important current debates in their field. The exam should include specific references to relevant secondary literature. The graduate secretary will distribute the exam to the student, and they will have one week to complete their responses. The MA committee will grade the exam. There are only two possible grades on the examination, Pass and Fail.

Scheduling the Exam

The MA examination may occur at a mutually agreed upon time during the fall or spring semesters. MA examinations are not given during the summer. The Graduate School website lists examination deadline dates. It is very important to observe these deadlines when scheduling the exam. If the exam is taken after the published deadline, the student will have to register for the next semester.

The student must inform the graduate secretary of the scheduled examination date so that the necessary paperwork can be processed.

Students may take the examination during the same semester they are completing the final courses for the degree. If a student passes the examination but fails to complete a required course satisfactorily, he or she must complete the course in the next semester (excluding summer). If the course is not completed by the next semester, the student will be required to repeat the MA examination.

Students must take the examination no later than the semester following the semester in which they have completed 30 graduate hours, provided that they have fulfilled the distribution requirements for the MA and have at least a 3.0 GPA. (Summer sessions are not considered semesters when making these calculations.) Any variation from this schedule requires a letter in the file, with consent from the major professor and the DGS.

Examination Failure and Appeal Policy

If a student fails the MA examination, the committee will explain where the student’s exam was unsatisfactory and help him or her prepare to take the exam again the following semester (excluding summer). A student who fails the MA exam twice will be dropped from the program.

A student may appeal a grade of Fail. (The Graduate Council appeal procedure is explained here (pdf). Normally, grievances should be handled first at the department level through the faculty member, the student’s academic adviser, the DGS, or the department head. Further appeal may be made to the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, the Graduate Council through the Assistant Dean of the Graduate School, and ultimately to the Dean of the Graduate School.

Examinations: MA Program, Thesis Option

The Examination

The examination consists of a two-hour oral examination that includes questions on the field and the thesis. The student must submit a copy of the thesis to teh committee memebers four weeks in advance of the scheduled oral examination.

Administration Procedure, Scheduling, and Grading

The student must schedule the examination at least four weeks in advance. The student is responsible for working with the committee to schedule the examination.

The Graduate School website lists examination deadline dates. It is very important to observe these deadlines when scheduling the exam. If the exam is taken after the published deadline, the student will have to register for the next semester.

The student must inform the graduate secretary of the scheduled examination date so that the necessary paperwork can be processed.

Note: MA examinations are not given during the summer semester.

There are only two possible grades on the examination, Pass and Fail. The grade is awarded at the conclusion of the examination. The student is immediately informed of the committee’s decision. The result of the examination must be filed with the Graduate Secretary, who will provide a Pass/Fail form for the committee to fill out.

Examination Failure and Appeal Policy

If a student fails the MA examination, the committee will explain where the student’s exam was unsatisfactory and help him or her prepare to take the exam again the following semester (excluding summer). A student who fails the MA exam twice will be dropped from the program.

A student may appeal a grade of Fail. (The Graduate Council appeal procedure is explained here (pdf). Normally, grievances should be handled first at the department level through the faculty member, the student’s academic adviser, the DGS, or the department head. Further appeal may be made to the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, the Graduate Council through the Assistant Dean of the Graduate School, and ultimately to the Dean of the Graduate School.

Examinations: PhD Program

The Examinations

The student is examined in both the major (Group I) field and the research specialization (Group II) field. Together these are termed the Comprehensive Examinations. The teaching (Group III) field is not examined.

The Group I examination is a written examination covering the student’s major field (US, Premodern Europe, or Modern Europe). The examination is eight hours long (8:30am – 4:30pm) and may be taken at any location on or off campus. Students may use notes, books, outlines, etc., during the written examination. The student must pick up the examination and return it to the departmental office.

The examination committee is the student’s doctoral committee minus the outside member. After the committee has been appointed, students should meet with each member of the committee to discuss the nature of the examination. The examination covers a field, not just the courses the student has taken or the books he or she has read for coursework. Copies of previous Group I exams are available from the graduate secretary.

The Group II examination is taken after the student has successfully completed the Group I examination. It is a two-hour oral exam on the student’s research specialization field. The examination will be conducted by the student’s doctoral committee. The Group II examination should take place two weeks to one month after the Group I examination. The student should schedule the Group II oral examination in consultation with the doctoral committee members.

Once the dissertation is completed and has been reviewed by the full doctoral committee, the student will have a final oral examination to defend the dissertation. The student must provide all members of the committee with what he or she considers the final version of the dissertation at least six weeks before the defense so it can be carefully reviewed. The committee may require further revisions before accepting the dissertation or even, in extreme cases, reject the dissertation.

Note: Dissertation defenses are not held during the summer except in extraordinary circumstances.

Administration Procedure, Scheduling, and Grading

The student’s dissertation committee writes the Group I examination and conducts the Group II examination.

The Comprehensive Examinations must be taken no later than the semester following the semester in which the student completes the residence, coursework, and language requirements (summer excluded). Failure to take the Comprehensive Examinations within the required time will be counted as a failure on the examination. No student will be permitted to take the Comprehensive Examinations unless he or she has an overall grade point average of at least 3.0.

The Graduate school specifies that students must take the Comprehensive Examinations within five years of entering the doctoral program.

Note: Any variation from this schedule requires a letter in the student’s file, with consent from the major professor and DGS.

A student may take the Comprehensive Examinations (With approval of the doctoral committee and DGS) during the same semester he or she is completing course requirements.

Students may take the Comprehensive Examinations during the same semester they are taking a course to fulfill the foreign language requirement. Students who fulfill the language requirement through examination, however, must pass the examination before taking the Comprehensive Examinations.

Students must schedule the time and date of their Group I and Group II examinations with the Graduate Secretary to ensure the administration of the Group I and availability of a room for the Group II examinations. The major professor will provide the exam questions to the Graduate Secretary, who will then provide them to the student on the appointed day.

There are only two possible grades for the Group I and Group II examinations, Pass and Fail. A Pass grade on both amounts to certification that a student has a comprehensive knowledge of the chose historical field and possesses the analytical and conceptual skills necessary to complete a doctoral dissertation. Results of the examination must be recorded by the committee on a form provided by the Graduate Secretary, and then returned to the Graduate Secretary.

Examination Failure and Appeals Policy

A student who fails the Group I examination may not continue to the Group Ii examination and must repeat the Group I examination the following semester (summer excluded). A second failure on either exam will cause the student to be dropped from the program. A student who does not repeat a failed exam within the required time will likewise be dropped from the program.

A student may petition for an extension under special extenuating circumstances that seem to warrant a longer time than one semester to retake the exam. Written approval from the major professor, the DGS, and the department head is required for an extension.

A student may appeal a grade of fail. (The Graduate Council appeal process is explained here (pdf). Normally, grievances should be handled first at the departmental level through the faculty member, the student’s academic advisor, the DGS, or the department head. Further appeal may be made to the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, the Graduate Council through the Assistant Dean of the Graduate School, and ultimately the Dean of the Graduate School.

Standards, Problems, and Appeals

Required GPA

To remain in good standing, a student must maintain at least a 3.0 GPA. Students who hold an assistantship must maintain at least a 3.25 GPA. Any student who receives two grades below B in graduate seminars (not including language courses) during their tenure as a graduate student will be dropped from the graduate program in History.

The Department of History defines grades as follows:

A = excellent; B+ = good; B = satisfactory; C+ = undistinguished; C = failure to maintain an acceptable level of graduate work and/or failure to complete course assignments on time; D = poor (does not satisfy degree requirements); F = very poor (does not satisfy degree requirements).

S/NC = Satisfactory/No Credit (used in History 502, 521, and 621); has no impact on GPA.

P/NP = Progress/No Progress (used for History 500 and 600); denotes progress or no progress toward completion of thesis or dissertation; does not affect the GPA.

I = Incomplete. An incomplete is issued only when a student suffers an unusual circumstance late in the semester. Failure to complete assignments on time is not a valid reason to receive an incomplete. The student must have at least a B average in the class to receive an incomplete. Before the professor can assign a grade of I, he or she must compose a “contact” with the student in question. This document will clearly explain the reason for the incomplete and clearly explain the work to be done to remove the grade. The document will also include a timetable for the completion of the work. It must be signed by the professor and the student, and a copy must be forwarded to the department head. If th work is not completed within one semester (with summer counting as a semester), the incomplete automatically converts to a grade of F.

MA Evalution of Progress

MA thesis option: MA students doing the thesis option should have selected a permanent advisor by November 1 of their first semester; should have a thesis topic and a committee approved by mid-way through their first semester; and should defend their thesis by the end of the fourth semester, though in unusual cases the thesis may be defended just before the beginning of the subsequent fall semester (theses may not be defended in during the summer months).

MA non-thesis option: Students doing teh non-thesis option should have selected a permanent advisor by November 1 of their first semester, and should take their MA exam by the end of the fourth semester.

All MA students should be earning grades of B+ or higher in their courses to be considered as making adequate progress.

PhD Evalution of Progress

PhD students must select a permanent advisor by November 1 of their first semester. After fulfilling the language requirement(s) and passing the Comprehensive Examinations, students will apply for admission to candidacy. Students should maintain a B+ average in all graduate coursework. The Comprehensive Examinations must be taken within five years, and all requirements must be completed within eight years, from the time of a student’s first enrollment in the program.

All graduate students, but especially those funded through the department, are expected to participate in the intellectual life of the department, attend departmental events, and perform assigned duties.

There may be legitimate reasons why some of these milestones cannot be achieved at the appropriate time (especially the selection of an advisor); students are urged to discuss such problems with the DGS.

The graduate committee and individual caucuses evaluate the progress of all students early in the spring of each academic year. These evaluations play a central role in determining funding decisions and continuations.

Fourth Semester Review and Terminal MA

In their fourth semester, all PhD students will go through a review prior to taking their exams. By February 1st of the spring semester, the student will create a portfolio that includes the following items:

  1. All substantial written work completed since arriving in the program. This should include all research papers, as well as historiographical papers five pages in length or longer. Students should submit copies of their papers that include grades and professorial comments whenever possible. Also, yearly reports on progress should be included.
  2. A separate written statement describing their progress in the program and detailing their plans for the coming years. This statement should not just list the courses students have taken, but describe how their activities both inside and outside of the classroom have advanced their research agenda and professional development.

The student’s doctoral committee will review the portfolio. If the committee agrees that the student is ready to proceed in the program, the student will continue on to take the Group I and Group II exam. If the student is not approved to continue in the doctoral program, but will have successfully completed 30 hours of graduate coursework by the end of the fourth semester, he or she will take a written MA exam with the aim of receiving a terminal non-thesis MA from the department.

For Institutional review Board (IRB) policies on conducting oral history research, see University research policies.

Terms fo Probation

University regulations state that on complation of 9 hours of graduate coursework, a student will be placed on academic probation if his or her cumulative GPA falls below 3.0. A student will be allowed to continue graduate study in subsequent semesters as long as each semester’s GPA does not drop below 3.0, and the student receives no more grades below B. On achieving a cumulative GPA of 3.0, the student will be removed from probationary status.

Academic Honesty

Academic integrity is a responsibility of all members of the academic community. An honor statement is included on the application for admission and readmission. The applicant’s signature acknowledges that adherence to the statement is confirmed. The honor statement declares:

An essential feature of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, is a commitment to maintaining an atmosphere of intellectual integrity and academic honesty. As a student of the University, I pledge that I will neither knowingly give nor receive any inappropriate assistance in academic work, thus affirming my own personal commitment to honor and integrity.

Termination from the Program

If a student is on academic probation, the degree or non-degree status will be terminated by the Dean of the Graduate School if the student’s semester GPA falls below 3.0 in a subsequent semester. When the particular circumstances are deemed to justify continuation, and upon recommendation of the appropriate academic unit and approval of the Dean of the Graduate School, a student on probation whose semester GPA is below 3.0 may be allowed to continue on a semester-by-semester basis.

Any student who receives two grades below B in graduate seminars (not including language courses) during their tenure as a graduate student will be dropped from the graduate program in History. Dismissal of a student is accomplished by sending written notice to the student, with a copy to the Graduate School. In cases where the department’s requirements for continuation are more stringent than University requirements for graduate programs, the Dean of the Graduate School will evaluate the student’s record to determine whether the student is eligible to apply for a change of status and register in another area of study. Registration for courses in a department from which a student has been dismissed will not be permitted, except by written authorization from that department.

Department and University Appeal Procedure

The Graduate Council appeal procedure is explained here (pdf). Normally, grievances should be handled first at the department level through the faculty member, the student’s advisor, the DGS, or the department head. Further appeal may be made to the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, the Graduate Council through the Assistant Dean of the Graduate School, and ultimately to the Dean of the Graduate School.

Appeals may involve the interpretation of and adherence to University, College, and department policies and procedures as they apply to graduate education and the issuance of grades based on specific allowable reasons stipulated in the Graduate Council Appeal Procedure.

Appeal procedures in regard to allegations of misconduct or academic dishonesty are presented in Hilltopics under “Disciplinary Regulations and Procedures.” Students with grievances related to race, sex, color, religion, national origin, age, disability, or veteran status should file a formal complaint with the Office of Equity and Diversity.


INFORMATION


Contribute to a big idea. Give to the Department of History.


The University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Big Orange. Big Ideas.

Knoxville, Tennessee 37996 | 865-974-1000
The flagship campus of the University of Tennessee System