Training to become a professional historian is not an overnight process, but the Department of History is committed to helping students move expediently through their studies, and in 2010-2012 our graduates finished in 6.5 years, well under the national average time to degree of 8.3 years. We encourage students to develop a research interest early, and to take coursework that will transform that interest into a dissertation. An ideal program would consist of about two years of full-time coursework followed by an MA defense, the development and defense of a dissertation prospectus, and then three years of work on the dissertation.
All graduate students take History 805, The Nature of History, in the fall semester of their first year. Coursework after that is less structured. All students take classes in at least three different fields of study. All students must take at least three colloquia and two graduate research seminars. Different fields have their own required coursework, so students should consult their advisors and the Graduate Handbook (pdf) for requirements.