Graduate Student Handbook
At the University of Kansas, our graduate programs in History prepare students to engage in rigorous historical inquiry and debate, to enhance our discipline’s methodologies for unearthing the story of our shared human past, and to communicate the importance of historical perspective and empathy to the public. Our students learn how to design and conduct archival research projects, become fluent in the major concepts that guide historical inquiry, master scholarly literatures in a variety of geographic, temporal, and thematic fields, and educate non-historians in the skills of historical thinking and knowledge of our shared past.
The Master of Arts program in History at KU provides students with an opportunity to develop geographic, temporal, and thematic expertise, learn the methodologies of our discipline, develop original research projects, and communicate their findings to a broad audience. Our M.A. program serves students from a variety of walks of life including secondary education, library science, public history, and the military, among others.
The mission of our doctoral program in History is to train the next generation of historians to the highest professional standards in our discipline, from which they can work in the fields of academia, information management, public history, and the non-profit sector, among others. Earning a KU Ph.D. in History requires a mastery of research skills, including the ability to contextualize and interpret primary sources, knowledge of the languages relevant to one’s research, and the ability to develop an original historical argument that contributes to the historiography of one’s field. Moreover, a KU Ph.D. in History certifies that students can communicate complex ideas persuasively in writing and orally. It also attests to the readiness of a graduate of our program to teach history and advise undergraduates at the level of the university classroom and to train graduate students.
Many students enter the graduate program at the University of Kansas after completing an undergraduate degree in History and, if they are pursuing doctoral work, perhaps, even a Master’s degree. Others have training in related fields. Regardless, applicants are expected to demonstrate competence in the foundational skills of historical thinking, research, and writing. Moreover, students who are applying in fields where the primary research language is not English must also show sufficient capacity in the primary research language in their proposed field in order to demonstrate proficiency in their first year in Department's graduate program (see Foreign Language policy).
Because the number of applicants to the program far exceeds the number of spaces available, candidates are evaluated not only on the basis of their academic and professional records, but also on the focus they bring to the program of study they propose, the originality of their research interests, and the relevance of their proposed direction of study to the expertise of Department faculty. Under Office of Graduate Studies rules, applicants must have a minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0 on a 4-point scale in order to qualify for regular admission. Most successful applicants have undergraduate GPAs significantly above the minimum. Preference in admissions decisions will be given to applicants who do not yet possess the terminal degree in a humanities discipline.
Applying to Study History at KU
In History at KU, we privilege high-quality graduate advising and mentorship at every stage of a student’s interaction with our department. As such, our application processes for the M.A. and M.A./Ph.D. are geared towards ensuring the best possible fit between faculty and graduate students. Graduate applicants who seek to study at the University of Kansas are required to correspond with at least one prospective faculty advisor well in advance of the application deadline. On the most basic level, these preliminary contacts with faculty give applicants a sense of whether or not the prospective advisor is currently taking new students. More than this, these conversations offer candidates for admission a better sense of how they might fit into the program at KU. Our admissions process is designed to educate prospective students about what studying at KU would really be like and about the resources the Department and University possess in their areas of interest, as well as offering an opportunity to get to know some of the people they’d be working with during their time here. Moreover, the early establishment of a relationship between prospective faculty and applicant permits students to refine their applications to better articulate the candidate’s fit with our program. The prospective faculty advisor will be able to more effectively advocate for the applicant’s candidacy based upon this correspondence.
Thus, students interested in pursuing a graduate degree in History at KU should first visit our department webpage to learn about our faculty and their research. Then, students should reach out to individuals whose research interests align with their own. It serves applicants well to reach out to multiple faculty whose interests might overlap with theirs. Our faculty anticipate these kinds of messages and welcome inquiries of this nature precisely because of how much emphasis we place on these initial conversations in the admissions process. In fact, the Graduate Committee does not consider applications from students without an endorsement from at least one prospective faculty advisor, so getting in touch with potential advisors early is a requirement for a successful application to our program.
Once candidates for admission have established correspondence with at least one prospective advisor, they must complete the online application through the KU Office of Graduate Studies. International or domestic applicants who are non-native speakers of English should carefully review Graduate Studies’ English Proficiency Requirements.
The application deadline for is January 5. International students, please schedule the TOEFL exam with these deadlines in mind—scores must be received by the application deadline.
All students who are admitted for full-time study, except those who have secured guaranteed external institutional funding, are provided with 5 years of funding in the form of a fellowship, teaching, or research position. International students whose native language is not English are eligible to hold a GTA appointment, provided they meet the University's and the Department's standards for written and spoken English. Applicants who indicate that they are seeking Department funding will be considered automatically for nomination for University-wide fellowships and grants for entering graduate students. The Office of Graduate Studies offers a limited number of fellowships and supplemental scholarships for first-year students. Graduate students in African, East Asian, Latin American, and Russian/Eastern European history are strongly urged to apply simultaneously for Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) fellowships from the appropriate KU Area Studies centers. FLAS fellowships provide recipients with tuition remission and a stipend while they pursue their degree program and enroll in formal language study.
If you have secured external funding (fellowship, employer-funded program, etc.), please note this clearly on your application.
Please be sure to also specify the track to which are applying: Accelerated M.A., M.A., M.A./Ph.D., or the Ph.D. (Requirements and application instructions for current KU History majors (B.A. track) interested in pursuing an accelerated M.A. can be found under Accelerated M.A. in History tab below).
Beyond this information, each candidate must submit a complete packet of application materials, which includes:
- Statement of Academic Objectives (two pages, double-spaced), including a clear plan for graduate research in a specific field of study. This statement should be largely academic rather than biographical and should achieve the following objectives:
- Suggest a potential direction for your research at KU as concretely as possible;
- Outline how you see an M.A. or Ph.D. in History fitting into your broad career goals; and
- Identify specific chronological, geographical, and thematic areas of interest
- Curriculum Vitae
- Writing Sample (maximum twenty-five pages, double-spaced). The Department is interested in reviewing the best-crafted, most persuasively argued writing sample that applicants are able to provide. Such papers are often derived from an upper-level undergraduate history class in which the student conducted independent research and employed both primary and secondary sources. Applicants with an M.A. in history should provide a writing sample taken from the M.A. thesis or a major paper written in a graduate seminar. (Firm page limit of twenty-five pages of analytical text, in addition to an appended bibliography)
- Official Transcript from each institution that has granted you a degree, or at which you are currently enrolled. (Students who have received a degree from KU do not need to submit KU transcripts)
- Three letters of recommendation – The letters can be directly uploaded online directly by those who write the recommendations, or they can be mailed to the Department of History, ATTN: Graduate Academic Advisor, Wescoe 3650, 1445 Jayhawk Boulevard, University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS 66045. A recommendation form for hard copy letters may be downloaded below.
Letter of Recommendation Form (.pdf)
Please note that documents, including a writing sample and transcripts, should be uploaded to the application. Applicants should not send hard copies of application materials to the Department of History.
When you submit your online application, it is made available to the Department of History for review, yet it is the applicant's responsibility to ensure the Office of Graduate Studies has received all materials by the deadline. The Department of History Graduate Office cannot process your application and move it forward for consideration by the Graduate Committee until all materials have been received. The Department of History reviews applications for completeness, and the Graduate Academic Advisor will contact you if your application is not complete.
All completed applications are provided to all members of the Department faculty for review, and student- proposed primary advisors recommend their preferred candidates to the Department of History’s Graduate Committee for evaluation. The Graduate Committee reviews all applications that have received endorsement from at least one prospective faculty advisor. The Committee then ranks applicants according to their suitability for the program. The top candidates are then recommended to the Office of Graduate Studies for admission.
In mid-February, applicants who have been selected for admission to the graduate program are informed of the outcome of their applications by an emailed letter from the Department of History. In early March, the
Department of History hosts a recruitment event in Lawrence that introduces admitted students to the program and offers an opportunity to meet Departmental faculty and graduate students, as well as to explore the resources available through the University of Kansas. The Department of History adheres to the national agreement to allow students until April 15 to make final decisions on admission, although we encourage students to make their decision known as early as possible.
Because admission to pursue graduate work in History at the University of Kansas is highly competitive, most applications are not successful. However, the Department maintains a waiting list of alternates and will occasionally admit additional students based upon the availability of funding. Students who are not offered admission to the program will receive an official email from the Office of Graduate Studies by the middle of April.
KU History majors pursuing a B.A. degree in History are eligible to apply for admission into our Accelerated M.A. program. This program allows students to earn their B.A. degree and count 12 hours of 500+ level coursework toward an M.A. degree to be completed in the year following the conferral of their undergraduate degree, usually their fifth year of study. The program has two tracks, one leading to an M.A. in US History and one leading to an M.A. in World History. The M.A. may be pursued as a terminal degree or as preparation to petition for doctoral studies at KU or to apply elsewhere.
An M.A. degree in history or a related discipline is an increasingly necessary qualification for an entry-level position in public history-focused institutions or businesses (e.g., secondary education, museums, archives, or commercial research firms). Moreover, the M.A. has largely become a requirement for admission to the top doctoral programs in History or related disciplines. Because M.A. students gain a broad-based understanding in historical theory and methodology, their career pathways are diverse. We encourage our students to cross-train in fields such as Museum Studies, Urban Planning and Public Administration, and languages and cultures (via KU's area studies centers), and will work with them to seek out internships at archives, libraries, and other institutions along the Topeka-Kansas City corridor, and many will use this training and experience to transition to non-academic careers.
Students interested in pursuing an accelerated M.A. should first schedule an appointment with the History Undergraduate Advisor, the department’s Director of Undergraduate Study, and/or the Director of Graduate Studies to discuss the process and timeline for admission to the program.
Applications for entrance into the Accelerated Masters program are accepted on a rolling basis. However, prospective students must apply before they begin their last year of undergraduate coursework. Applications must be received at least 4 weeks prior to start of the student’s second to last undergraduate semester.
The following requirements must be met at the time of application:
- Be in a History B.A. degree plan
- Have a major GPA of at least 3.5 and a cumulative GPA of at least 3.00
- Be on track to complete the B.A. degree with one additional year of study
Applicants must complete an Application for Graduate Study online. The following information should be gathered in advance and uploaded with the application:
- Two letters of recommendation (preferably from professors in the major). You will be asked to enter the names and e-mail addresses for two recommenders while completing the online application. Your recommenders will automatically receive an e-mail requesting their letters when you submit the application. It is not necessary for your recommenders to send hard copies of their letters to the department if they submit their letters electronically. Should a recommender feel uncomfortable with the online submission process, please contact the department for more options.
- Résumé or curriculum vitae
- A one-page statement of educational and career objectives
- A writing sample, preferably from an history course, 5-10 pages of text not including the bibliography, endnotes, or images following endnotes.
Upon review of the Application for Admission, the History Department will notify the student of his or her eligibility to begin coursework in the program the following Fall semester. This approval allows students to count History courses numbered 500 or above toward both the B.A. and the M.A. degrees. The student must be approved to begin coursework toward the master’s degree prior to enrolling in any 500 level or above courses that are to count for both undergraduate and graduate credit.
During the final semester of coursework for the B.A. degree students must apply for final acceptance into the graduate program. Acceptance to the graduate program is contingent upon the following:
- Successful completion of all requirements for the B.A. degree
- Grades of B+ or above in all History courses taken in the final year of undergraduate study
- Submission of an M.A. Program of study (To be submitted to the Director of Graduate Studies by April 15)
Program of Study Worksheet (Appendix, p. XX)
During their last semester of undergraduate course work students in the Accelerated M.A. track must submit a Program of Study Worksheet. Students are expected to identify three fields of study (geographical, thematic, and chronological) in consultation with their primary advisor. The Program of Study Worksheet also designates a Primary Advisor and two other faculty advisors as the official members of the student’s M.A. Committee.
Certification of Eligibility for Admission to the Graduate Program
The Director of Graduate Studies will review the submitted Program of Study and the coursework taken during the final year of undergraduate study before certifying the student’s eligibility to start the final year of graduate coursework. In determining eligibility, the Director of Graduate Studies should also consult the student’s primary advisor and any faculty who instructed the student during the last year of undergraduate study.
The master’s program in history requires satisfactory completion of 30 credit hours of graduate courses. During their final year of undergraduate study students must complete 12 credit hours of graduate course work:
- HIST 696, 690/691 History capstone seminar (3 or 6)
- Electives, 500+ (9 or 6)
NOTE: Students enrolled in the yearlong departmental honors capstone (HIST 690/691) may count both semesters of coursework toward the M.A. degree. Consequently, these students only need to complete 6 hours of elective course work at the 500+ level during their final year of undergraduate study.
After admission into the graduate program, students must complete an additional 18 credit hours of graduate coursework (usally in the fifth year of study). These include:
- HIST 805 The Nature of History (3)
- HIST 802 Research Seminar (3)
- Electives (12) At least 12 hours of electives numbered 800 or above. Students may take up to 3 of these hours outside of the History Department.
In the final semester of enrollment, the student will sit for a ninety-minute oral examination that covers the student’s research fields and the papers prepared in the undergraduate capstone seminar (HIST 696 or 690/691) and the graduate research seminar (HIST 802), respectively. The M.A. examination committee must have a minimum of three graduate faculty members, including the advisor and at least one other faculty member from the Department of History.
The student should enter the M.A. exam prepared to demonstrate their ability to teach an introductory-level History course in the primary field of study. The examination will cover basic historiographical questions, and the student should offer evidence of knowledge of the field equivalent to the material contained within a survey textbook. Moreover, the exam is designed to permit the student to demonstrate competency in engaging in an academic conversation. The examining committee will also discuss the content and significance of the research papers and advise upon future directions in the student’s submission of these papers for publication.
The student will work with the Graduate Academic Advisor to schedule the exam at least six weeks before the exam date. The Graduate Academic Advisor will file a “Progress to Degree” form with the College Office of Graduate Affairs for approval. Once approved, the Graduate Academic Advisor will send out confirmation of the exams to the committee.
Students should complete all requirements for the Accelerated M.A. within 2 to 3 semesters of receiving the bachelor’s degree. If unforeseen circumstances prevent the timely completion of the master’s degree, the student must consult with their graduate advisor to develop an alternative plan for completion.
Our Master of Arts program provides students with rigorous training in the skills of historical thinking, archival research, and the different modes of expression scholars use to communicate their findings to a wide audience. Completely integrated with our Ph.D. program, the M.A. in History at KU offers students the opportunity to develop subject expertise in fields of study, learn the conventions of professional scholarship in History, collaborate with other students, and receive one-on-one career advice and intellectual mentorship from our faculty.
The Master of Arts degree consists of thirty credit hours. Normally students take courses at the graduate level (700 and above), although some courses numbered 500- and 600- (excluding History 696) may count for graduate credit with the approval of the primary advisor. Students must complete a minimum of eighteen credit hours in courses numbered 700 or higher. See Appendix for departmental guidelines regarding HIST 800.
Students are required to take HIST 805, The Nature of History in their first semester of study. M.A. students must also complete two sections of HIST 802 to earn the degree. In each of these seminars, students must produce an original research project, suitable for consideration for publication in a scholarly journal, with the following characteristics:
- Selection of a significant topic
- Demonstration of original insight into that topic
- Development of a source base consisting of primary sources in the original language
- Integration into the historiographical context of the secondary literature
- Preparation of a well-defined thesis statement and clear argument throughout
- Use of complete and accurate citations using a consistent style (usually following the Chicago Manual of Style)
- Length of 7,500 to 10,000 words.
Students in fields where the primary research language is not English must demonstrate proficiency in their primary research language within their first year in the M.A. program. Students should consult the Department's Foreign Language requirement policy for more information about how to fulfill this requirement.
For terminal M.A. students: In the second semester of study, by April 15, terminal M.A. students will submit an
M.A. Program of Study Worksheet that declares the three thematic/chronological or geographic fields in which a student will specialize, and that designates a Primary Advisor and two other faculty advisors as the official members of the student’s M.A. Committee.
For students pursuing the M.A./Ph.D. track: Submission of final drafts of two seminar papers to an M.A. committee composed of the student’s primary advisor, second reader, and one other faculty committee member listed on their Program of Study Worksheet satisfies the examination requirement for the M.A. in History. In the fourth semester of study, and with the approval of the primary advisor, the student should submit these drafts in electronic form to the Graduate Academic Advisor. The Graduate Academic Advisor will then forward the documents to the Committee. The Committee members have one calendar week to electronically communicate a vote of pass/fail/honors to the Graduate Academic Advisor, who will notify the Committee chair (primary advisor) and Director of Graduate Studies of the result. Provided the student receives a majority of pass votes, they will be notified by the Committee chair and the M.A. will be awarded.
For terminal M.A. students: In the fourth semester of enrollment, students electing to take a terminal M.A. degree will sit for a ninety-minute oral examination that covers the student’s research fields and the papers prepared in the two research seminars. The M.A. examination committee must have a minimum of three graduate faculty members, including the advisor and at least one other faculty member from the Department of History.
The student should enter the M.A. exam prepared to demonstrate his/her ability to teach an introductory-level History course in the primary field of study. The examination will cover basic historiographical questions, and the student should offer evidence of knowledge of the field equivalent to the material contained within a survey textbook. Moreover, the exam is designed to permit the student to demonstrate competency in engaging in an academic conversation. The examining committee will also discuss the content and significance of the research seminar papers, and advise upon future directions in the student’s submission of these papers for publication.
The student will work with the Graduate Academic Advisor to schedule the exam at least six weeks before the exam date. The Graduate Academic Advisor will file a “Progress to Degree” form with the College Office of Graduate Affairs for approval. Once approved, the Graduate Academic Advisor will send out confirmation of the exams to the committee.
Admission to the Ph.D. Program from the M.A. Program
For students on the M.A/Ph.D. track: At the conclusion of the M.A. exam, in his/her communication of the result to the student, the Primary Advisor recommends whether or not the student should be permitted to continue in the program for a Ph.D. In the unusual circumstance that the M.A. exam committee recommends against admission to the Ph.D. program, the student may appeal the recommendation to the Graduate Committee. In the case of an appeal, the Primary Advisor will be required to submit a report (not to exceed two pages) to the Graduate Committee summarizing the Committee’s decision.
A Progress to Degree form separate from the one authorizing the M.A. oral examination is required for a student who is continuing for the Ph.D. The Graduate Academic Advisor prepares this form after the M.A. examination. Students should check to make sure that their change in status has been properly recorded.
Traditionally, graduate students complete the M.A. degree before proceeding to doctoral study. However, in some cases, Master's-level students elect to bypass the M.A. degree. M.A. students who are considering this option should consult with their advisor and the Director of Graduate Studies. Such students should demonstrate exceptional preparation and academic achievement in their coursework, and they should have unambiguous plans for Ph.D. study.
For terminal M.A. students: Upon completion of the third semester of coursework, should a student admitted to the terminal M.A. program wish to continue in the Ph.D. program at KU, they must submit a formal application to the Graduate Committee by January 1, following the same application guidelines for external applicants (see above). The application should include the following components:
- Statement of Academic Objectives (two-page limit, double-spaced), including a clear plan for graduate research in a specific field of study.
- Suggest a potential direction for your continuing research at KU as concretely as possible,
- Outline how you see a Ph.D. in History fitting into your broad career goals, and
- Identify specific chronological, geographical, and thematic areas of interest in which you have developed expertise at KU.
- Curriculum Vitae
- Writing Sample (Firm page limit of twenty-five pages of analytical text, in addition to an appended bibliography)
- Official Transcript from each institution that has granted you a degree, or at which you are currently enrolled
- Three letters of recommendation –The letters can be directly uploaded online directly by those who write the recommendations, or they can be mailed to the Department of History, ATTN: Graduate Academic Advisor, Wescoe 3650, 1445 Jayhawk Boulevard, University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS 66045. A recommendation form for hard copy letters may be downloaded below.
Letter of Recommendation Form (.pdf)
Please note: Terminal M.A. students are only eligible for a maximum of six semesters of GTA funding; however, M.A./Ph.D. students are eligible for up to sixteen semesters total.
The Department allows a maximum of five years for completion of all requirements for the M.A. degree. M.A. candidates may not continue to enroll after completing more than thirty-nine credit hours of graduate credit without having completed the M.A. degree.
The Ph.D. in History at KU provides students with rigorous training in the full complement of skills required for advanced scholarly work, as well as intellectual guidance and professional mentoring from faculty. In addition to developing expertise in historiographical fields, Ph.D. students initiate and complete a major research project, the dissertation, that represents the culmination of their studies.
The Ph.D. degree consists of thirty-three credit hours at the graduate level. At least twenty-four of these credits must be taken in the Department of History (courses cross-listed between History and other departments count towards this twenty-four credit rule). Normally, students take courses at the graduate level (700 and above), although in very rare cases a topical course numbered 500- and 600- (but not History 696) may count for graduate credit with the approval of the Primary Advisor. Department rules require that students complete a minimum of eighteen credit hours (six courses) at the 700-level and above. Students must receive approval from the primary advisor and Director of Graduate Studies to receive credit for any course below the 700-level. In order to satisfy the Office of Graduate Studies’ residency requirement, students must spend at least two semesters of full-time, residential study at the Lawrence campus.
Students who enter the program with an M.A. in History or a related discipline from other universities may satisfy part of the thirty-three credit-hour requirement with up to nine hours of credit from their Master's programs. To have those credits count, students must prepare a formal petition to the Graduate Committee in consultation with the primary advisor and the Director of Graduate Studies. The petition must include a written endorsement of the request by the primary advisor. The petition will include not only syllabi and written materials from prior work, but also evidence that the coursework fulfills learning objectives of the equivalent KU History graduate courses.
Exceptions to the twenty-four credits in History rule may be granted on a case by case basis in situations where a graduate student needs extensive language training for the purpose of their dissertation research in History. In such cases, the student must present the Graduate Committee with a petition to include graduate-level language courses to fulfill their credit requirement. The petition must include a clear rationale for the necessity of the language training and must include a written endorsement by the primary advisor.
All students are required to take History 805, The Nature of History in their first semester at KU, and may not petition out of the course. Ph.D. students must also take a minimum of three historiographical colloquia and two History 802 research seminars, as defined under the requirements for the M.A. degree. Students who completed the M.A. degree in the Department of History at the University of Kansas may count those courses towards the Ph.D. requirements. Students may enroll in HIST 800, Readings in History, with a professor not teaching a relevant graduate course that semester. No more than two sections of this course may be taken for credit, and each semester the student and professor must submit to the Graduate Committee a syllabus and agreement before the end of the first week of the semester. HIST 800 does not count towards the three colloquia requirement. The requirements for this course are outlined in the Appendix.
Students are expected to refine their Program of Study (as submitted in the Program of Study Worksheet during the second semester of graduate training) as they move through the graduate program, and to engage in conversation at least once each semester with members of their advisory committees in preparation for the Portfolio Examination.
Our program privileges advanced training in History that prepares and encourages students to research and write “across and between” conventionally-defined historiographical fields. To develop such a research program, students read in geographic, chronological, and thematic fields. By the end of their second semester in the program, students will identify three such fields in which they intend to pursue expertise. Students will derive this field list in consultation with their primary advisors and other faculty. Fields may be geographic, chronological, and/or thematic to provide maximum flexibility. Students will designate a major field, as well as two minor fields and submit this list—in the form of the Program of Study worksheet—to their Primary Advisor and the Director of Graduate Studies by April 15 of their second semester.
For each field, and in extensive consultation with faculty advisors, students will prepare a list of books/article equivalents that they commit to reading during their coursework. Students will submit these lists to the Director of Graduate Study by September 1 of their third semester in the program.
These lists are intended to be neither comprehensive nor exhaustive. They should cover major historiographical debates and historical issues in a given field to enable students to both lay the groundwork for dissertation projects and prepare to teach, should the student intend to pursue an academic career track. To ensure a reasonable workload for students, these lists are strictly limited in scope. For the major field, students will read no more than 50 books/article equivalents. For each minor field, students will read no more than 35 books/article equivalents. Provided they appear on a student’s lists, readings assigned in courses count towards these field readings. Outside of colloquia, field preparation should take no more than the equivalent of two 3-credit courses (students may complete field readings in any HIST 800 courses they take, as well as in the HIST 998 Portfolio Preparation course students take in their fourth semester).
From their first semester in the program, graduate students begin to compile materials that will be used to build a Professional Portfolio of their work. The Professional Portfolio shall be submitted to the faculty committee after the completion of both sections of the HIST 802 Research Seminar (with grades and comments received), and no earlier than the student’s fourth semester of coursework. The Portfolio takes the place of written comprehensive examinations in the Department of History at KU. Through the preparation and oral defense of the Portfolio, students demonstrate their command of their fields, their progress towards professionalization, and their preparation to undertake dissertation research. This process represents the culmination of the Program of Study (see below, p. 18) outlined in the second semester of graduate work.
The Advisory Committee identified in your Program of Study Worksheet will serve as your Portfolio Examination Committee; your Primary Advisor serves as Chair. The committee for the oral examination consists of four professors whose academic expertise complements the student’s research, and a faculty member from another department, who serves as the Office of Graduate Studies' designee. This fifth member of the committee often has overlapping research interests, and his/her participation during the examination varies by committee, but the primary purpose of this member is to ensure that the examination follows University guidelines, and that the examination was conducted fairly and professionally. See Exams under the University Policies and Requirements section for additional information regarding University requirements for oral comprehensive exam committees.
To help you prepare your Portfolio, the Department offers HIST 998: Portfolio Preparation every Spring semester. Students should register for this course for their fourth semester in the program. In this course, a faculty member will guide fourth-semester students through the process of preparing and submitting their written Portfolio and preparing for the oral defense. This course provides students with an opportunity to complete field readings and prepare the Cover Letter, Professional Essay, grant application, and sample syllabus they are required to submit to their Advisory Committee in advance of the oral defense. Working closely with their Advisory Committee Members, students in HIST 998 will generate these documents and workshop them with the course instructor and their fellow students. The course instructor will also prompt students to schedule their exams and prepare the final written document for submission. Students begin the process of scheduling their Portfolio exams in their fourth semester and defend their portfolio in an oral examination in either late April/early May of their fourth semester or late August/early September of their fifth semester.
While the instructor of HIST 998 will help guide the student through these benchmarks, the student will contact the Graduate Academic Advisor to schedule the exam at least six weeks prior to the expected exam date. The Graduate Academic Advisor will schedule the exam and process the paperwork with the Office of Graduate Studies. These arrangements must be completed at least four weeks prior to the scheduled date of the oral exam.No later than two weeks before the examination date, the candidate will circulate electronic copies of the entire portfolio to each member of the examining committee.
For more information, please see the Ph.D. Portfolio Rubrics, which enumerate standards for the evaluation of the portfolio and can be found in the Appendix.
The portfolio is submitted in digital format to the Advisory Committee and the Graduate Academic Advisor, although members of the Advisory Committee may request a hard copy from the Graduate Academic Advisor. It must contain the following items:
- Table of Contents
- A cover letter of no more than 3 single-spaced pages that briefly introduces you as a scholar, highlights your areas of expertise as a researcher and teacher, describes what you have achieved in your coursework, and makes other professional accomplishments visible to the committee. Modeled on a letter of application for employment, the cover letter should include information about any publications and/or competitive funding awards you have received, as well as any other significant professional experiences you have had during your coursework (conferences, public history exhibits, etc.). Finally, the cover letter serves to briefly narrate the Portfolio contents.
- A professional essay of no more than 3,000 words that articulates the major historical and historiographical questions in the student’s fields and identifies questions that connect those fields. In the Professional Essay, students reflect on their coursework, their intellectual development, and their emerging identities as scholars. Written over the course of the student’s fourth semester with extensive feedback from faculty advisors and the instructor of the HIST 998 Portfolio Preparation course, the Professional Essay requires students to clarify the major analytical debates and to explore the key synthetic questions that ground their intellectual agendas. The goal of this essay is to set the intellectual agenda for the oral exam.
- Comprehensive bibliography (including reading Lists for one major and two minor fields as well as all course readings)
- Final drafts of both 802 seminar papers with instructor feedback included
- Any major assignments completed in graduate coursework (final papers, historiographical essays, sample lectures/syllabi, etc.)
- Any published written work
- At least one grant application
- One sample syllabus for a course taught by the student in their major field
Oral Portfolio Examination
The oral exam is scheduled for either late April/early May of their fourth semester or late August/early September of their fifth semester and lasts for 120 minutes. The exam provides the candidate with an opportunity to demonstrate the knowledge they have acquired in their coursework and readings, as well as to respond to questions from the Committee on the contents of their written Portfolio. The oral exam begins with a brief statement in which the student presents a concise description of their long-term ambitions as a scholar, the major fields they have mastered in their coursework, the scholarly conversations in which they position their research, and their plans for the dissertation research and writing phase of their careers at KU (although the dissertation prospectus will be written and defended and evaluated at a later point). For the remainder of the exam, faculty advisors may question the student on the contents of their Portfolio and on the historiographical debates and historical issues they explored in their field readings and coursework. The Primary Advisor serves as the Chair of the Portfolio Exam.
Prior to the oral exam, the committee will examine the portfolio's contents carefully. The oral examination has two emphases:
- An assessment of the student's professional portfolio that evaluates the student's ability to define clearly and express coherently the historiographical state of the fields and their anticipated contributions to scholarship as articulated through the professional essay.
- An evaluation of the student's competency to teach an undergraduate survey course in their field(s), as demonstrated by the ability to discuss historical developments in their areas of expertise with ease and clarity. The student is expected to demonstrate not only a mastery of the historiography covered in coursework, but also clear knowledge of history as it would be expressed in a textbook or an undergraduate-level survey course.
Research Skills, Responsible Scholarship, and Departmental Requirements
By the time students sit for their oral exam, they must have fulfilled all requirements for the Ph.D. established by the Department and the Office of Graduate Studies with the exception of the Comprehensive Oral Exam and the submission of the dissertation itself.
The University requires that every doctoral student have training in responsible scholarship and research skills pertinent to the field of research and appropriate to the doctoral level. This requirement must be met before sitting for the comprehensive oral exam. For doctoral students in History, this requirement is met by both of the following:
- HIST 805
- Certification in a foreign language (For additional information on this requirement, see Foreign Language Requirement under the Departmental Policies and Degree Requirements section of this document)
Failure or Postponement of Portfolio Examination
Satisfactory completion of the oral examination requires the favorable vote of at least four of five members of the committee including the Primary Advisor. In the case of fewer than four favorable votes, a second oral examination will be scheduled upon the student’s request. Students may take the comprehensive oral exam a maximum of two times, but at least ninety days must elapse between the exams (see Appendix, pp. 57-58, regarding portfolio evaluation).
Students must submit their Portfolio and pass their oral examination by the end of their fifth semester in the program. If warranted by extenuating circumstances (personal or professional) a student or their advisor may petition the Graduate Committee for an extension of the window for the Portfolio Examination. The Graduate Committee will vote (in person or electronically) on all petitions to extend exam time. If a student does not pass their Portfolio Examination by the end of their fifth semester at KU and does not take a leave of absence, they will be placed on departmental probation and their GTA funding will be contingent upon getting back on schedule.
Students should begin to consider possible dissertation topics at the beginning of their degree program, and consult regularly (at least once per semester) with their Primary Advisor, Second Reader, and other members of their Advisory Committee. Through their coursework, field readings, and extra-curricular study, they should gather the necessary background and skills for their proposed dissertation. Upon successful completion of the Portfolio Oral Examination, students should begin working in earnest to develop a Dissertation Prospectus that outlines the topic of the proposed research and what scholarly questions and intellectual problems the work proposes to address. Since the dissertation must be an original contribution to the discipline of history, the prospectus should make clear how the proposed work develops, challenges, or departs from past research. It should demonstrate that the student has a sufficient and critical command of the historiography and the present state of the field. It should make clear what languages, methodologies, and theories the student will use when examining sources. The prospectus should identify the resources to be used and their locations. A provisional chapter outline will provide some sense of the work's overall plan and structure. A tentative research and writing schedule will estimate how much time the various aspects of research, travel to collections, writing, and revision will take. A bibliography listing primary and secondary sources, manuscript collections, and other important resources should be included.
The Dissertation Prospectus should be no fewer than 4,000 and no more than 6,000 words, excluding bibliography and footnotes. This document should represent a coherent plan of work and serve as the foundation for external grant applications to fund dissertation research and writing.
Students should expect to spend the months after passing their portfolio examination drafting and revising this document and use feedback from the Oral Portfolio Examination to help fill in gaps in preparation for dissertation research during this time. The Primary Advisor and other members of the Advisory Committee anticipate reading and providing feedback on drafts of this document during this period. While no formal course exists to provide structure for this process, the Department strongly encourages and will provide physical space for a Dissertation Prospectus Writing Group.
Oral Dissertation Prospectus Defense
Students will defend their Dissertation Prospectus in a 60 minute oral examination with their Advisory Committees, normally by the end of their fifth semester of study. Students should contact the Graduate Academic Advisor at least six weeksprior to when they wish to defend so that the Graduate Academic Advisor can schedule the Defense. Faculty are often traveling for research during the summer, so scheduling early is strongly advised. Once the Defense has been scheduled, the Graduate Academic Advisor will process the paperwork with the Office of Graduate Studies. These arrangements must be completed at least four weeks prior to the scheduled date of the oral exam.No later than two weeks before the examination date, the student will circulate electronic copies of the Dissertation Prospectus to each member of the examining committee and the Graduate Academic Advisor.
Students must successfully defend a dissertation prospectus by the end of their sixth semester in the Program and they can only do so after passing the Portfolio Exam. If warranted by extenuating circumstances (failure to pass the Portfolio and/or personal or professional challenges exceeding the norm), a student or their advisor may petition for an extension of the window for the Prospectus Defense. In such cases, the student will submit a written request for extension detailing the reasons why extra time is needed. The Graduate Committee will vote (in person or electronically) on all petitions to extend exam time. If a student does not pass their Prospectus Defense by the end of their sixth semester at KU and does not take a leave of absence, they will be placed on departmental probation and their GTA funding will be contingent upon getting back on schedule.
The Doctoral Dissertation
The dissertation consists of a book-length piece of original scholarship that makes a significant contribution to historical knowledge. It must advance a clear and cogent thesis that is rooted in historiography relevant to the student’s areas of expertise, draw upon an appropriate array of primary and secondary sources, and be documented according to common academic standards. The subject of the dissertation should fall within the student’s fields of study and should be feasible in light of the student's background and preparation.
Students begin intensive research on their dissertations after having successfully defended their Dissertation Prospectuses. To help students transition from coursework to life as an ABD graduate student, the Department of History offers HIST 997: Dissertation Seminar every Fall semester. Students at any stage of their dissertation research and writing process are strongly encouraged to enroll in this course at least once. We urge all students to enroll in the course during their fifth semester to begin their research and writing with structure and solidarity. Modeled on our research seminar, the Dissertation Seminar provides students with the opportunity to learn how to process data, workshop early chapter drafts, and generate grant applications.
Ideally, the Dissertation Committee is composed of members of the student’s Advisory Committee, but occasionally, staff changes and/or changes in the research plan require alterations to the committee membership. As the student moves through the dissertation process, the Ph.D. candidate and the Primary Advisor jointly determine the composition of the dissertation committee, which must be submitted to the Director of Graduate Studies for final approval. The chair of a doctoral dissertation committee (Primary Advisor) must be a regular member of the Graduate Faculty and hold either a tenure-track or tenured appointment in the Department of History. The Office of Graduate Studies requires a minimum of five members of the Graduate Faculty to serve a dissertation examination committee. The dissertation committee shall be chaired by the advisor, and will consist of a second reader, and faculty related to the student's major areas of study (most likely, the members of the Portfolio examination committee). Three of the five members must have appointments in the Department of History, and all committee members must hold current graduate faculty appointments.
Graduate students are expected to consult extensively with the members of their committee in the research and writing of the dissertation—with the advisor serving as the first reader, and the second reader reviewing all chapters as they are completed. By the time the dissertation is substantially complete, the candidate should identify a graduate faculty member outside the Department to serve as the Office of Graduate Studies' representative at the dissertation defense (see Appendix regarding dissertation evaluation). See Exams under the University Policies and Requirements section for additional information regarding University requirements for dissertation exam committees.
Students should maintain regular contact with their Primary Advisor and Second Reader. It is expected that the student will consult with each member of the committee to determine a mutually agreeable schedule of consultation, as well as discuss whether members beyond the chair and second reader will review chapters as they are completed. The oral defense may be scheduled once both the advisor and second reader have approved the dissertation.
Students are able to alter the composition of their committees as their research agenda evolves, and it is advised that dissertating students check in each semester with the members of their committee to discuss research progress. It is important that both students and members of the faculty exercise the highest level of professionalism in their interactions, with the understanding that open lines of communication are essential for effective graduate training. In rare cases, students may wish to change Primary Advisors. They may do so according to the policy enumerated and the forms in the Appendix at any point during their time in the program.
Students should enroll in HIST 999 with their advisor each semester, and may enroll in only one credit hour following completion of the 18 hour post-comp requirement. The grading scale for HIST 999 follows:
- SP: Satisfactory Progress. Consistent with goals for the semester as agreed upon with the advisor; supports timely completion of degree
- LP: Limited Progress. Progress is less than agreed upon with advisor; may cause delays in timely degree completion
- NP: No Progress. Student has provided insufficient evidence of progress on dissertation work, or work completed was insufficient to move the dissertation project forward.
Doctoral Dissertation Defense
When students receive approval from the advisor and second reader, they may then schedule the Final Oral Defense. Students must notify the Graduate Academic Advisor at least six weeks prior to when they wish to defend so that the Graduate Academic Advisor can schedule the Defense.. The Graduate Academic Advisor will submit the appropriate paperwork to the College Office of Graduate Affairs. Immediately upon confirmation of the examination date—and no less than one month before the examination date—the student must circulate a final, polished version of the completed dissertation, including bibliography and notes to their committee and to the Graduate Academic Advisor. All members of the dissertation committee should fill out the Written Dissertation Evaluation Rubric before the examination.
The final examination will be open to the public, and it is held at a time and place approved and announced by the Office of Graduate Studies. The dissertation defense will last at least two hours, and fifteen minutes of that time must be reserved for members of the committee to conduct a confidential evaluation of the quality of the dissertation and oral defense. Satisfactory completion of the dissertation defense requires the favorable vote of at least four out of five persons on the examining committee. In the case of too few favorable votes, a second doctoral defense may be scheduled upon the request of the student. At least ninety days must elapse between dissertation examinations, and students may take the dissertation examination a maximum of two times. The Examination committee reports a grade of Honors, Satisfactory, or Unsatisfactory for the dissertation defense. The department defines "Honors" as a dissertation that receives an overall rating of "Outstanding." This is earned through an average rating of 3.5 or higher across the eight sub-categories listed on the written dissertation rubric and the one category on the oral examination rubric (to be completed at the defense), with no category rated as "Unacceptable."
The dissertation abstract and a final copy of the dissertation in required electronic form must be submitted to the Office of Graduate Studies before the degree can be awarded. For additional information about electronic submission, as well as degree completion checklists, see Graduation under University Policies and Requirements.
After being admitted to the doctoral program at the University of Kansas, Ph.D.-only students must complete all degree requirements in eight years. Students who complete the Master’s degree at KU and continue to the Ph.D. have a total enrolled time of ten years to complete both degrees.
Students who have compelling reason to request an extension beyond the time limit for degree completion should consult with their advisor and the Director of Graduate to complete a Doctoral Degree Completion Agreement (.pdf). All extension petitions must be accompanied by a detailed timeline for completion of the dissertation and for advisor feedback. It will also outline actions to be taken should the student fail to uphold the terms of the agreement or meet the final deadline. The Graduate Academic Advisor submits the Completion Agreement and any supporting documentation to the College Office of Graduate Affairs (COGA). The document is evaluated by both COGA and the College’s Committee on Graduate Studies and a ruling will be issued usually within ten business days.
The Graduate Committee is responsible for making decisions concerning the graduate program. The Graduate Committee determines admission to the program and recommends applicants for GTA appointments, develops program policies and structure, oversees curricular changes, and authorizes exceptions to departmental rules.
The Graduate Committee also selects graduate students to be recipients of Department honors and grants, and nominates candidates for College and Office of Graduate Studies prizes, grants, and fellowships. The Director of Graduate Studies supervises the graduate program day-to-day, and counsels students and faculty concerning its policies and procedures.
Graduate Program Requirements
The KU Office of Graduate Studies establishes requirements for all graduate programs at the University, including residency, enrollment, and time limits. Students should refer to the University Policies and Degree Requirements section, and review the Office of Graduate Studies’ Policy Library for University-wide requirements, The Department observes those requirements and enacts specific requirements of its own. This Graduate Handbook summarizes Departmental requirements and should be consulted regularly throughout the program of study.
History Graduate Student Organization (HGSO)
The History Graduate Student Organization is a student association recognized by the Department of History. All History graduate students are made members upon admission to the program. Members meet regularly during the academic year, and offer formal and informal mentoring, advice, professionalization opportunities, and social events. Further, HGSO serves as the voice of the graduate students to the faculty of the Department and in particular to the Director of Graduate Studies and the Graduate Committee. Officers are elected yearly through elections administered by the HGSO.
Incoming graduate students select a primary faculty advisor when applying for admission to the Ph.D. program. This advisor will act as the primary advocate for the student during the application process and help to guide the student during the first year of study, and, in most cases, throughout the program of study. The advisor must hold dissertation faculty status and work in the student's area of interest.
Once a student matriculates, the Department will ensure that they are informed in a timely fashion about procedures for formalizing the selection of their primary advisor, second reader, and other committee members. Graduate students will select an advisory committee to guide their progress through the program during the second semester of their first year in the program. The student and their primary advisor will draft a plan for the subsequent three semesters of classes as well as recruit an additional two members of the faculty with whom the student plans to work closely. The student must consult with all members of the committee and confirm each professor’s willingness to serve as a member of the advisory committee. This advisory committee is expected to direct future coursework and lay the groundwork for the portfolio exam. Students will be expected to frame a program of study that includes at least two classes covering a second geographical area of study or two methods courses that will help to build a competency in a complementary discipline.
Each first-year student will submit their written plan, the Program of Study Declaration (see appendix, pp. 41-42), to the Graduate Academic Advisor by April 15 of the Spring semester and circulate a copy of the Program of Study Worksheet to all members of their advisory committee. This formulation of a research program outlines the advisory committee, fields of study, and a proposed research plan leading up to the Portfolio exam.
Until students have passed their Comprehensive Oral Examination for the Ph.D., the advisory committee normally consists of four faculty members in History (including the prospective dissertation director and the second reader) and one outside member (faculty whose institutional home at KU is a department other than History). The dissertation committee may consist of the same faculty members or others selected because of their expertise in the area of the dissertation. All committee members must be members of the University of Kansas graduate faculty database (contact Graduate Academic Advisor for a list of eligible faculty).
Students should expect to consult with their advisor and second reader regularly over the course of each academic year, and to maintain contact with the advisor during summers and research trips. At least once each semester, doctoral students who have not yet reached the point of ABD (“all but dissertation”) should meet formally with their primary advisor and with the members of their advisory committee to review their progress toward preparing the Professional Portfolio in advance of its submission for the Comprehensive Oral Examination.
The Department of History maintains the highest standards in terms of our expectations of faculty advisors. The general responsibilities of primary faculty advisors include (but are not limited to):
- Serving as intellectual and professional mentors to their graduate students
- Helping prepare students to be competitive for employment
- Maintaining the highest standards of professionalism and collegiality in their relationships with graduate students
- Establishing and collaboratively maintaining expectations of the advisor/advisee relationship
- Reaching out for regular (each semester) consultation in person or, in the event of extenuating circumstances that prevent an in-person consultation, over the phone.
- Providing support concerning the academic and non-academic policies that pertain to graduate students
Advising relationships are designed to serve the academic and professional needs of the student first and foremost, and so it is understood that degree candidates may change or replace their advisor at any time in their graduate career if they so choose. Among the many reasons that a student might want to change advisors is if their research interests diverge from the advisor’s area of competence, if irreconcilable differences occur between the student and faculty advisor, or if the advisor leaves the University of Kansas or experiences other life changes that might impact the student’s progress toward degree.
Because of the centrality of the relationship between primary advisor and student in our program, and the potential significance of any difficulties that may arise in this relationship, the Director of Graduate Studies may be called upon for assistance in resolving issues between advisor and advisee or aiding the student with the replacement of an advisor or committee member. Should a student want input from outside the Department, The University Ombuds provides confidential consultations. In the event that a student wants to change advisors or committee members, the Department of History and the Director of Graduate Study will make every reasonable effort to facilitate the change and pair the student with another suitable advisor. Students may initiate this change by filling out a Change of Dissertation Advisor form.
Additional Departmental Advising and Mentoring
The Director of Graduate Studies provides additional advising to graduate students, particularly concerning Department and University rules and procedures. The Director of Graduate Studies also offers students career guidance in conjunction with other members of the Department.
In addition to their faculty advisor and committee, graduate students who hold teaching positions in the department are assigned a teaching mentor each semester. For students who serve as Graduate Teaching Assistants (GTAs), their teaching mentor is the professor to whose course they are assigned. Advanced graduate students who are serving as Assistant Instructors (AIs) select a Department faculty member in consultation with the Director of Graduate Studies to serve as their teaching mentor at the time they are notified of their appointment. The teaching mentor helps the student design a syllabus, plan lessons and written assignments; observes their teaching, offering advice and writing evaluations for the Department; discusses the theory and practice of history pedagogy; and aids in solving problems over the course of the semester.
The HGSO also assigns a peer mentor to entering graduate students. The peer mentors help new students navigate the university system and the Lawrence region, familiarize themselves with the Department, and adapt to life in graduate school.
Program of Study
Students are expected to identify three fields of study (geographical, thematic, and chronological) in their application to the Ph.D. program. By the end of their second semester in the program, students will, in consultation with their primary advisor, identify three fields in which they will develop expertise. These fields must be approved by the primary advisor and Director of Graduate Study by April 15. In selecting their areas of specialization, graduate students should strive to create an intellectually coherent whole. In addition, students should develop their academic profile in consideration of the type of employment they hope to find after graduation, as well as which fields will serve them best in their future careers.
All students are expected to register for nine credit hours (6 credit hours for GTAs) in the Fall and Spring semesters each year until completion of the Portfolio Exam. Following the successful completion of the Portfolio Exam at the end of the second year of study, students are required to maintain continuous full-time enrollment in Fall and Spring semesters until they reach a total of eighteen credit hours. The Dissertation Seminar (HIST 997) counts towards this requirement. After fulfilling the eighteen-credit-hour requirement, students may enroll for one credit hour each semester and still be considered full time.
Prior to the beginning of each semester, students should consult with their advisor concerning the appropriate selection of courses. After this consultation, they should enroll online through Enroll & Pay. In order to enroll in HIST 800, HIST 997, and HIST 998 students will need to obtain a permission number from the Graduate Academic Advisor. There is a Department limit of two HIST 800 classes during the period of coursework, so please plan accordingly. (See Appendix for HIST 800 Guidelines.)
Students who are unable to enroll for a period of time must inform the Director of Graduate Studies in order to request a leave of absence, and the Graduate Academic Advisor will file a formal petition with the College Office of Graduate Affairs (COGA) to secure the leave of absence. Students who have neither registered for courses nor filed for a leave of absence by the eighth week of the semester will be dismissed from the program. See Leave of Absence under the University Policies and Requirements section of this document for additional information.
The following documents are used by the University of Kansas to manage student records. These descriptions are designed primarily to clarify the various processes involved in navigating through the graduate program.
Degree Progress Report form. The Registrar's office maintains a Degree Progress Report (DPR) form for each student. Students may obtain copies of their own DPR forms through MyKU Portal. Should students ever notice a discrepancy between the DPR form and their own records of enrollment, they should inform the Graduate Academic Advisor.
Annual Progress Report Form. The Department expects graduate students to complete an annual progress report form as a means of recording progress towards fulfilling degree requirements. The web form contains different requirements for each stage of study, and the student should work to fill the requirements by May 1 each year. Completed progress report forms are submitted online to the primary advisor and the Graduate Academic Advisor, and are kept in the student’s file as a means of tracking annual progress. The Director of Graduate Studies reviews these forms and may request consultation with students to follow-up on any concerns that arise from this review.
The Graduate Academic Advisor is responsible for managing official documents related to the program of study. The Progress to Degree System is used to schedule the M.A. oral exam, transfer students from the M.A. to the Ph.D. level, report fulfillment of the residency and foreign language requirements, manage the petitions process, schedule the portfolio exam, and schedule the Ph.D. dissertation defense.
Apply for Graduation form. The Registrar's office requires this form, available online, in order to record the M.A. and Ph.D. degrees approved by the Department and the Office of Graduate Studies.
Students who anticipate completing their degree in a given semester need to file the Application for Graduation form in the first month of that semester. The degree cannot be awarded without this form.
Foreign Language Requirement
All History graduate students are required to have undertaken the serious study of at least one foreign language. Students are expected to enter the program with at least an intermediate knowledge of their primary research language. Ph.D. students must be able to demonstrate the appropriate level of proficiency in their primary research language in their first year in the graduate program at KU. In some fields, proficiency in a second foreign language is required as well.
For doctoral students in History, completion of the Foreign Language Requirement fulfills part of the University’s Research Skills and Responsible Scholarship requirement.
The student’s advisory committee may require a demonstration of language competence not only in reading, but also in speaking, writing, and paleography, if such proficiency is necessary for their professional work.
Advisory committees may require competence in one, two, or more foreign languages, depending on the student’s area of specialization. Discussions of language expectations should be discussed between students and potential advisors during the application process. Should any difference of opinion arise between students and their advisory committees concerning the language requirement, students should consult with the Director of Graduate Studies.
Students may demonstrate competence in a primary research language through:
a. Native speaker status; or
b. Coursework at KU or elsewhere through the intermediate (second-year) level, coupled with extensive use of the language in seminar and colloquium papers; or
c. Coursework at KU or elsewhere through the advanced (third-year) level; or
d. A test of language skill (reading only, or reading, speaking, and writing, as appropriate) designed by the field and graded in consultation with the appropriate foreign language department.
Students may demonstrate necessary experience in a foreign language that they are not using for primary research through:
a. Native speaker status; or
b. Coursework at KU or another university; or
c. A test of reading skill (usually, a translation test) designed by faculty in the field and, if necessary, graded in consultation with the appropriate foreign language department; or
d. A graduate reading knowledge course taken at KU.
When students have attained the required level of proficiency in a foreign language, they should fill out the Department of History’s Foreign Language Certification Form (see Appendix) and submit it with the required documentation for the approval of their advisor and the Director of Graduate Studies.
Student Rights and Responsibilities
All graduate students are responsible for informing themselves of requirements of the Office of Graduate Studies as stated in the most recent issue of the KU Graduate Catalog. Graduate students are bound by the rules and regulations of the University of Kansas, including the Code of Student Rights and Responsibilities. When rules are violated and disciplinary action is necessary, the Department of History may impose penalties including written warnings, probation, and expulsion.
Students are expected to consult with their advisors regularly concerning their performance and progress toward the Ph.D. degree. Students should schedule a formal meeting and portfolio/dissertation progress check with their primary advisor at least once each semester. Students are responsible for ensuring regular contact with their advisor in order to maintain a good working relationship.
Several forms, the “Program of Study Worksheet,” “Coursework Matrix,” and "Progress Grid," provide guidance to students and outlines normal progress to degree for full-time students. These documents are included in the appendix to this Handbook.
Assessments of graduate coursework are made through letter grades (A, B, C, D, F) with pluses and minuses. A larger proportion of grades of B than A may be indicative of a problem that students should discuss with their advisors. Students whose cumulative GPA in History courses falls below 3.25 are placed on probation. Credit/no credit options are not authorized for graduate students. Following the Portfolio Exam, dissertating students enrolled in HIST 999 (Doctoral Dissertation) are graded on a three-level scale:
- SP: Satisfactory Progress Consistent with goals for the semester as agreed upon with the advisor; supports timely completion of degree
- LP: Limited Progress Progress is less than agreed upon with advisor; may cause delays in timely degree completion
- NP: No Progress
Student has provided insufficient evidence of progress on dissertation work, or work completed was insufficient to move the dissertation project forward.
A student who receives a grade of NP will be placed on probation and will formulate a remedial plan with their Primary Advisor and the Director of Graduate Studies. A second NP at any point will result in dismissal from the program.
A student who receives a grade of LP will formulate a remedial plan with their Primary Advisor and Director of Graduate Studies. A subsequent LP or NP will result in probation, and the student will reformulate a remedial plan with their Primary Advisor and the Director of Graduate Studies. Any combination of three LP/NP grades will result in dismissal from the program.
If the Director of Graduate Studies is the Primary Advisor, the Graduate Committee will name a faculty representative to represent the committee in the formulation of the remedial plan.
Students or advisors may petition the Graduate Committee for exceptions to these sanctions.
Each spring instructors of graduate courses evaluate all first-year students whom they have taught in class, providing an assessment (written or in-person) to the Graduate Committee. The Director of Graduate Studies reviews these evaluations and prepares an individualized letter for each student that highlights areas of strength as well as aspects of the student’s academic work that require improvement. Students whose performance has been flagged as a matter of concern will be targeted for a second review following the completion of their third semester of study (Third-Semester Letter). It is expected that any student whose performance remains marginal will take the M.A. exam in the fourth semester and leave the program.
Progress Toward Degree
At the end of each academic year, graduate students must complete the appropriate Annual Progress Report web form and submit it online to the Graduate Academic Advisor to be included in their files. Advisors review each student’s performance and progress periodically during the course of each academic year. In addition to monitoring progress to degree, the Graduate Committee uses these evaluations in deliberations concerning GTA appointments and prizes and grants. The Director of Graduate Studies reviews the students' Progress Reports and the advisors', along with the students' Degree Progress Report. When the Director of Graduate Studies sees a pattern suggesting difficulties in performance or in progress to degree, s/he sends the affected students a letter, with a copy to the advisory committee, identifying the problem and possible remedies.
If the advisor, advisory committee, or Director of Graduate Studies determines that a student has not demonstrated the capacity to carry out graduate-level work, the student will be notified in writing. Upon the documentation of this warning, and in the event the student wishes to continue in the program, s/he will be given the opportunity to meet with the Director of Graduate Studies and the faculty members on the advisory committee. This meeting is expected to establish a strategy for improving the student’s performance over the course of the subsequent semester. In the event that the student’s performance remains unsatisfactory, the Graduate Committee will review the student’s file and decide either to dismiss the student from the program, or to permit them to continue to pursue the degree, in a probationary capacity, on specified conditions.
If students need to take an Incomplete in a course, they are required to arrange with the professor a specific deadline for completion of the work as soon as feasible. University rules prohibit students from taking longer than two semesters (including Summer semester) to satisfy work for an Incomplete. Students who take an Incomplete in the Spring are required to fulfill the missing work no later than the end of Fall Semester. Students who take an Incomplete in the Fall are required to fulfill the missing work no later than the end of the following Summer term. Students who do not meet these deadlines will be placed on probation. In addition, if an instructor fails to enter a new grade within this time frame, the Incomplete will convert to an F.
Probation & Dismissal
The Department of History expects that students will make sustained progress in their studies, and those students whose performance and progress to degree are seriously deficient will be placed on probation according to the rules of the College. The Department defines students as being seriously deficient when they:
- carry an Incomplete for more than a semester plus a summer term;
- have a GPA in courses that count for the degree that falls below 3.25; or,
- fail to make satisfactory progress toward the degree, which includes but is not limited to failed exams or failure to make adequate and timely progress toward completion of the dissertation (see above concerning the treatment of limited or no progress in HIST 999 Dissertation Hours above).
Students who do not remedy the deficiency within one semester on probation will be dismissed from the program, unless they file a successful petition to the Department's Graduate Committee. Students on probation because of unsatisfied Incompletes are ineligible to hold GTA appointments.
The Department of History takes Academic Misconduct with the utmost seriousness. The integrity of our discipline writ large rests upon the integrity of our research and teaching. We adhere to the standards outlined in the American Historical Association’s Statement on Standards of Professional Conduct.
Graduate students in the Department of History are required to abide by the University's policy on Academic Misconduct. They must appropriately document all ideas, texts, and images that they have borrowed from others. Students are prohibited from representing as their own work the work of others. Work submitted for course credit is expected to be original to the student and designed to meet the program requirements. In addition, written work done for one course or degree program will not be accepted in another. (Questions of interpretation of this rule must be cleared with the faculty members in advance).
If a member of the faculty suspects that some form of academic misconduct has taken place—including plagiarism, improper collaboration, or unprofessional behavior—they will contact the Director of Graduate Studies, who will convene a meeting of the Graduate Committee to review the case. The student, the member of the faculty, and the student’s advisor will be invited to meet with the Graduate Committee to discuss the case, and the Graduate Committee will determine a course of action for resolving the situation. In the case of overlapping roles (e.g. Director of Graduate Studies is primary advisor), the Chair will appoint a separate faculty member to assure the fairness of the process. The Office of Student Affairs is the University office charged with investigating charges of academic misconduct.
Note that if a student is charged with Academic Misconduct and found guilty by the Judicial Board of the College of Arts and Sciences, the Graduate Committee of the Department of History reserves the right to dismiss the student from the Program regardless of the sanction authorized by the College.
If a graduate student seeks exemption from program rules and requirements, s/he may file a petition for exemption from specific rules. The petition should explain why the student requests the waiver of a requirement, as well as how the educational goals the requirement is designed to meet have been/will be fulfilled.
In the case of the department's own rules, petitioners should write a letter to the Director of Graduate Studies, providing appropriate supporting materials, including a letter of support from the student's advisor. The Director of Graduate Studies refers the petition to the Graduate Committee, which evaluates the request and rules on its merit. In cases where the policy or requirement being petitioned is a University policy, the Director of Graduate Studies will submit a petition form to the College Office of Graduate Affairs accompanied by his/her letter of endorsement. The Graduate Academic Advisor will help the student submit the petition form, and this document specifies the supporting material needed for each kind of petition, (e.g. leave of absence, extension of time to degree, waiver of the ABD enrollment requirement, waiver of rules specifying time between Portfolio Exam and dissertation defense). These materials must accompany the petition sent to COGA. COGA’s petitions web page provides additional information regarding University petitions, including the documentation that may be required. Additional information regarding the more common University petitions, such as Leave of Absence, Enrollment requirements, and Time Limit Extensions may also be found in the University Policies & Degree requirements section of this document.
In cases where the Graduate Committee declines to support a University petition, no paperwork may be submitted to COGA. COGA only accepts student petitions in cases where there is documented departmental support and when the petition itself is submitted by a representative of the Department.
Students should always consult with the Graduate Academic Advisor and the Director of Graduate Studies prior to submitting a petition to ensure that a petition is necessary and that the appropriate supporting documentation is included.
The Department of History advises graduate students to make an attempt to resolve issues, especially matters concerning grades, directly with the instructor or party involved, with the Director of Graduate Studies, or with the Department Chair. If a grievance arises that cannot be resolved directly, or if the student does not feel comfortable attempting to resolve the issue with the Department Chair, the student should then follow the Department of History’s Official Grievance Procedure, which has been approved by the University.
This section contains information on requirements and policies of the Office of Graduate Studies and the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, both hereafter referred to as “the University”. It is not a complete list of all policies pertaining to graduate students. Only those policies that most commonly affect graduate students are included.
Policies are described in general terms and are intended to help students understand what is expected. They do not reflect the exact language of the official policy and should not be confused with official policy. Specific information and restrictions as well as links to relevant forms may be accessed by clicking on the policy headings. Links to the official policies in the KU policy library are found at the bottom of each policy description. Students are accountable to and should familiarize themselves with the University's official policies.
The following University policies apply to ALL graduate students regardless of degree, program, or department. These are minimum general requirements. Your department or program may have more restrictive policies in any of these areas.
Degree or non-degree seeking applicants must have a bachelor’s degree (as evidence by an official transcript from the institution the degree was obtained) and a minimum GPA of 3.0 in the most recent degree that was obtained.
Students not meeting these requirements may be admitted provisionally upon recommendation by the department; however, restrictions on certain type of funding, including GTA/GRA/GA funding, apply to students on provisional admission status. Students should consult the program admissions advisor or Director of Graduate Study (DGS) on their eligibility for funding with admission.
Related Policies and Forms:
English Proficiency Requirements
The University requires applicants, international or domestic, whose native language is not English to demonstrate English proficiency for admission to any graduate program at KU. There are two ways to prove English proficiency:
- Graduation with a baccalaureate degree or higher from an accredited U.S. institution of higher education, or from such an institution in an English-speaking country where the medium of instruction is English. This first option is not sufficient, however, to be appointed as a Graduate Teaching Assistant.
- Submitting results of the TOEFL iBT examination taken no more than two years prior to the semester of admission. A score of at least 20 in each part is required for regular admission. A score of 24 on the speak section is required to receive a Teaching Assistantship.
- Applicants that do not meet the minimum scores should review the English Proficiency Chart, provided via the link above, for information about provisional admission.
Applicants should submit their scores directly to the Office of Graduate Studies:
Office of Graduate Studies
213 Strong Hall
1450 Jayhawk Blvd.
Lawrence KS 66045-7535
Related Policies and Forms:
- English Proficiency Requirements for Admission to Graduate Study
- Spoken English Language Competency of Faculty and Graduate Teaching Assistants, Kansas Board of Regents Policy
The transfer credit option allows Master’s students to count graduate-level coursework completed at another institution toward their KU degree. Restrictions apply to what non-KU graduate courses can be counted toward a KU Master’s degree, so students should carefully review the information provided in the link above and the related policies below, as well as consulting with their DGS. In all cases, transfer credit must first be approved at the department of program level. To begin the transfer process, students should consult with their DGS to submit the required transfer materials. These include a transcript reflecting the courses to be transferred and descriptions and/or syllabi for the courses in question.
No transfer of credits is allowed for the Ph.D. In circumstances where students enter the Ph.D. program with an M.A. from another intuition or relevant graduate coursework, it may be possible for students to request a reduction in the number of hours required for the Ph.D.. Students should consult with their DGS about their enrollment plan.
Related Policies and Forms:
- Graduate Credit
- Count Toward Degree Form (.pdf)
- M.A. and M.S. Degrees (on Reduced Hour Master's Degree)
For graduate students in the College, advising on enrollment and course selection take place at the department level. While units within the College may define full-time enrollment more stringently, the University defines it as follows:
Fall and Spring semesters:
- Enrollment in nine credit hours;
- Enrollment in six credit hours plus a GTA, GRA, or GA appointment, regardless of percentage of appointment;
- Enrollment in six credit hours for graduate students using the Montgomery GI Bill – Active Duty (MGIB- AD) and Post-9/11 GI Bill – Active Duty;
- Doctoral candidates enrolled in dissertation hour(s). *See Doctoral post-comprehensive enrollment.
- Enrollment in six credit hours;
- Enrollment in three credit hours plus a GTA, GRA, or GA appointment, regardless of percentage of appointment;
- Enrollment in three credit hours for graduate students using the Montgomery GI Bill – Active Duty (MGIB-AD) and Post-9/11 GI Bill – Active Duty;
- Doctoral candidates enrolled in dissertation hour(s).
Graduate students are not normally permitted to enroll for more than sixteen hours a semester or more than eight hours in summer session.
While these are KU’s definitions of full-time enrollment, other institutions may have different definitions. Be sure to consult with your financial aid and/or health insurance providers before making enrollment decisions.
Students not enrolled by the first day of classes will be assessed a late fee. Students not enrolled by the 60th of classes will be automatically discontinued in Enroll & Pay.
Students who wish to leave their graduate program should inform the department of such plans in writing so that a Voluntary Discontinue form may be submitted on his or her behalf.
Deadlines for adding, changing, dropping, or withdrawing from courses entirely, as well any fines associated with the change, are set by the University. Deadlines vary from year to year. Students should carefully review the current Academic Calendar.
The College Office of Graduate Affairs’ (COGA) website has a very useful Enrollment Changes Guide, which provides comprehensive guidance on the forms and endorsements required for different enrollment situations, including late enrollment changes after the published deadlines.
You may also wish to consult the Registrar's page on Effects of Dropping or Withdrawing on your Transcript.
- Discontinued Enrollment
- Enrollment Regulations (CLAS)
- Full-time Enrollment for Graduate Students
- Graduate Coursework Expiration Dates
- Master's Enrollment Requirements
The University supports and encourages interdisciplinary study, which may include graduate students enrolling in coursework at the graduate level that is outside of their primary discipline. The Credit/No Credit (CR/NC) is an option for graduate students who are taking a course that is not required for their degree or certificate and who do not wish to have the course grade reflected in their overall graduate GPA. Rather than a grade appearing on the transcript, the student receives a designation of CR or NC, which does not factor in the GPA.
No course graded CR/NC will count toward the satisfaction of any graduate degree or certificate requirement. This includes, but is not limited to, courses taken to fulfill the Research Skills and Responsible Scholarship requirement for doctoral students.
If a student elects to take the CR/NC option, they must make this election during the CR/NC time frame, which can be found in the Registrar's current Academic Calendar. This period typically begins after the last day to add a class and extends for approximately two weeks. This process must be initiated in the COGA office.
The student should consult with their own program advisor about the appropriateness of the course prior to enrolling. In cases where CR/NC is elected, the course instructor is not informed of the election unless the student chooses to share this information.
Additional restrictions apply. Students should carefully review the information in the link above.
Related Policies and Forms:
The University expects that Master’s degree should typically be completed in two years of full-time study, the doctorate degree in five years of study, and both the Master’s and doctorate together in six-seven years of study.
Students who anticipate exceeding these targets should review the information in the link above and in the policies below, as well as consult with their program advisor to create a timeline for degree completion. In order to support this process, COGA offers DGSs and advisors a Mentoring Agreement Template to use and/or adapt to their own needs. The template may be used with students in danger of going beyond the program’s expected time limits, or simply as an advising tool for all their students. It is especially useful for doctoral students in the dissertation phase.
Related Policies and Forms:
- COGA Time Limit Regulations
- Master’s Degree Time Constraints
- Doctoral Degree Time Restraints
- Doctoral Program Profiles with Time To Degree Information
- Graduate Degree Completion Agreement (.pdf)
Leaves of Absence
In exceptional circumstances (e.g. cases of illness, emergency, financial hardship, military leave, to pursue family responsibilities, or to pursue full-time activities related to long-range professional goals) it may be necessary for graduate students to take a break from their program temporarily, without having to withdraw entirely from the program. An approved leave of absence allows a student to take a temporary break from enrolling in graduate coursework while remaining in good standing with the University and the department and while “stopping the clock” on their time to degree.
Requesting a Leave of Absence is done via a University petition. University petitions must first be approved and supported at the program level, so students wishing to initiate the petition process should first consult with their Director of Graduate Studies and review their department’s internal petition procedures. Units or the Director of Graduate Study may request documentation to support the student’s need for a leave of absence; however, the only document that COGA requires for the petition is the Leave of Absence Petition form, linked below.
Related Policies and Forms:
All graduate students must complete one or more exams as part of their degree requirements. In addition to department or program guidelines, the University has several policies pertaining to the following exams:
- Master's Exam/Thesis Defense for Master's degree
- Doctoral Comprehensive Oral Exam
- Doctoral Final Exam/Dissertation Defense
Before a student is allowed to sit for any of these three exams, pre-approval from COGA is required. This approval must be sought by the department at least four weeks prior to the exam date. COGA checks to ensure that the student has fulfilled certain University requirements. The full list of requirements that COGA checks for may be found via the link in the heading above. Students should work with their departments well in advance of their planned exam date, to schedule their exams in a timely fashion and to ensure that all University policies relating to oral exams are being followed.
In many cases, programs may have additional exams, such as a written pre-qualifying exam. Exam pre-approval by COGA applies ONLY to the oral portions of the three exams listed above.
The following are University policies pertaining to these oral exams:
Oral Exam Committee Composition
For all oral exams, the committee members must be appointed members of the Graduate Faculty of KU. In addition, a majority of committee members serving on a graduate student oral examination committee must be tenured/tenure-track faculty holding regular graduate faculty or, in the case of doctoral committees, dissertation faculty status in the candidate’s department/program of study.
Many additional restrictions apply, especially for doctoral exam committees. Master’s and doctoral students should carefully review the University policies pertaining to exams, as well as consult with their Director of Graduate Studies when forming an exam committee.
Oral Exam Attendance Physical Presence
The Oral Exam Attendance policy describes rules for physical versus mediated attendance (e.g. Skype or phone) at oral exams.
In all cases, a majority of committee members must be physically present with the student for an exam to commence. Both the chair and outside member (for doctoral exams) must form part of this majority. In cases where the student prefers that all committee members are physically present, the student's preference shall be honored.
Master’s and doctoral students should carefully review the policies below, as well as consult with their Director of Graduate Studies in the formation of an oral exam committee.
Related Policies and Forms:
DOCTORAL DEGREE REQUIREMENTS
In addition to the student’s individual Ph.D. program’s degree requirements, the following are University requirements for graduation with a Ph.D. at KU.
Two semesters, which may include one summer session, must be spent in full-time resident study at the University of Kansas. During this period of residence, fulltime involvement in academic or professional pursuits may include an appointment for teaching or research if the teaching/research is directed specifically toward the student's degree objectives.
Related Policies and Forms:
Continuous Enrollment for Post-Comprehensive Students
During the semester in which the comprehensive exam is completed and each semester or session that follows, doctoral candidates must enroll in at least six credit hours per semester and three credit hours per summer session until all requirements for the degree are completed OR until eighteen post-comprehensive hours have been completed, whichever comes first. At least one of these credit hours each semester must be a dissertation hour (or an approved dissertation equivalent).
During the semester in which the student will complete this requirement, enrollment may be dropped to only the number of hours required to complete the eighteen. For example, if a student is entering the Fall semester having completed fifteen post-comprehensive hours, he or she need only enroll in three credit hours. After fulfilling the post-comprehensive enrollment requirement, enrollment may be reduced to as little as one dissertation hour per semester or summer session up to and including the semester of graduation. Students are strongly advised to closely review the University regulations on continuous enrollment for post- comprehensive students (found in the above heading or the policy links below). Failure to properly comply with the policy could result in additional enrollment requirements and tuition expense near the end of your degree program.
Post-comprehensive enrollment requirements also apply to students with GTA/GRA/GA appointments, but these students must be certified to drop their enrollment levels. To become certified, the student or department staff should complete and submit to COGA the Certification of Eligibility to Enroll in Fewer Than Six Hours form (found below) prior to the beginning of the semester in which the enrollment will drop below six hours.
Related Policies and Forms:
- Doctoral Program Time Constraints
- Doctoral Candidacy
- GTA/GRA Certification of Eligibility to Enroll in Fewer than Six Hours
GRADUATION REQUIREMENTS (M.A. & Ph.D.)
In addition to all program requirements, students planning to graduate must complete all University graduation requirements prior to the published Graduation Deadline in a given semester. Students should consult the current Academic Calendar for the published Graduation Deadline, which varies by semester. COGA's graduation checklists contain a comprehensive list of all University requirements for graduation and should be used by every graduating Master's or doctoral student in the College:
Submission of the final draft of the thesis or dissertation is done electronically. Students must comply with all University requirements for formatting and electronic submission of the thesis or dissertation. There is no University requirement that students provide a bound or printed copy of the draft.
Students who have concerns or questions about fulfillment of graduation requirements may arrange for a Graduation Appointment with the College Office of Graduate Affairs (COGA) following the defense or final exam and in advance of the applicable Application for Graduation deadline. While this appointment is not a requirement, it can be useful to review all degree requirements with a COGA staff member, verify that the Application for Graduation and Thesis/Dissertation submissions have been completed, and receive guidance on any pending items.
GRADUATE STUDIES FUNDING OPPORTUNITIES
The Office of Graduate Studies offers funding opportunities in several different categories. Students interested in applying should direct inquiries to the department’s Director of Graduate Studies or to the Office of Graduate Studies. Some of the available funding includes:
- Dissertation Fellowships: intended for doctoral students who have passed their comprehensive examinations; for one academic year, non-renewable.
- Summer Fellowships: intended primarily for doctoral students.
- Graduate Scholarly Presentation Travel Fund: intended for graduate students presenting a paper at a national or regional meeting of a learned or professional society. A student may receive an award ($500) only once, and funds are available on a first-come, first-served basis
- Doctoral Student Research Fund: Designed to support KU doctoral students who need assistance to carry out research that advances progress toward the degree. Applications for this fund are accepted only for a limited time as funding is available. Students should check the link above for additional information and restrictions.
Although we encourage students to consider a wide variety of career paths, the majority of Ph.D.'s in History still seek employment in higher education. Preparing future faculty thus remains an essential aspect of our graduate program. Graduate Teaching Assistantship (GTA) assignments provide graduate students with valuable teaching experience as well as the financial support necessary to pursue their degrees. GTA appointments are made at the time of admission by the Department Chair upon the recommendation of the Graduate Committee. GTAs at the University of Kansas are unionized; information about the union contract is available in the Memorandum of Agreement between The University of Kansas and the Board of Regents and the Kansas Association of Public Employees.
In their years of employment by the Department of History, GTAs are normally assigned to assist Department faculty in lecture courses, by grading assignments and responding to students' questions. Some courses offer the student an opportunity to lead their own discussion sections, while others require only that the GTA serve as a grader for student assignments. In rare cases, after demonstrating teaching competence and after having reached ABD status, GTAs may be assigned to teach their own sections of courses as Assistant Instructors (AIs). The Department's by-laws contain the official policies governing AI appointments.
GTAs are expected to average twenty hours of work per week, and most GTAs find that their workload is heavier in some weeks than in others. Except in the case of online courses or other special circumstances, GTAs are generally responsible for no more than 50 students. Each semester, GTA assignments do not end until final exams have been graded and the GTA has submitted final grades for the approval of the instructor of record. GTAs are expected to attend the class lectures in person, and GTAs who are assigned to courses with discussion sections (normally, three classes) must also meet those classes in person. Should GTAs be unable to meet their classes as scheduled, they should inform the instructor of these scheduling issues immediately and arrange for another GTA to cover those sections for them. In cases where the GTA faces a scheduling conflict due to a professional obligation or opportunity (conference presentations, for example), they should provide as much lead time for the instructor of record as possible.
GTAs are required to maintain full-time enrollment in the Department of History's M.A. or Ph.D. program. Students are expected to develop the ability to balance their teaching obligations and their responsibilities in graduate courses in order to maintain a high level of performance in their degree programs. Students who neglect one or the other will be required to relinquish their teaching position, and may not be permitted to continue in the degree program. Department policy prohibits graduate students who are on probation (see p. 21) from holding a GTA appointment.
AIs normally teach a maximum of forty-five students, as suitable for the Department course schedule. AIs have responsibility for devising syllabi, choosing texts, presenting lessons, and grading; it is imperative that they work closely with their teaching mentor in order to fulfill these duties in a manner that permits them to achieve their classroom goals, as well as refine their pedagogical philosophy and develop a teaching portfolio.
Evaluation of Teaching
To provide feedback and pedagogical training, and to fulfill the University’s Human Resource policy, GTAs undergo routine evaluation on their teaching. In keeping with best practices in GTA teaching evaluation, the Department of History uses a three-part process to assess classroom teaching by our GTAs.
The first step is the required undergraduate student evaluation of teaching conducted in class at the end of each semester. The Department expects all members of its instructional staff—faculty and graduate students alike—to arrange for this evaluation of their teaching each semester. GTAs are required to distribute the designated evaluation forms to their classes according to the instructions provided by the Department of History. These teaching evaluations solicit quantitative responses from undergraduates. The University collects and processes these evaluation forms, and in the following semester a copy of each evaluation is provided to the GTA, along with summary forms that evaluate the GTA’s teaching in comparison with his/her peers. GTAs are also strongly encouraged to provide students with an additional narrative evaluation that permits more detailed assessments of the course and the GTA’s teaching practices, which are used solely for the student’s own purposes, including the development of a teaching portfolio.
Second, to encourage more reflective teaching practices, the Department requires each GTA to fill out a self- evaluation at the end of the semester. It is due to the Graduate Academic Advisor by May 1 and December 1. A copy of this evaluation will be circulated to the teaching mentor (the course instructor) for review. In this self- evaluation, GTAs are prompted to identify areas in which they desire more mentorship, training, and guidance to help tailor ongoing pedagogical training to individual students.
Third, GTAs are also evaluated each term by their supervising professors, who provide a written assessment of their performance at the end of each semester using the Instructor Evaluation Form. Faculty working with GTAs who lead discussion sections are strongly encouraged to attend at least one discussion sections for each GTA to aid in this evaluation. These assessments are submitted to the Graduate Academic Advisor and will be shared, per Human Resources policy, with GTAs.
Finally, for students teaching discussion sections, the University requires at least one in-person evaluation per academic year. Members of the Graduate Committee volunteer to carry out these in-class observations. A Graduate Committee member will work with you to schedule an in-class observation in advance. The faculty observer will then fill out the In-Class Observation Form (Appendix) which will be circulated, along with your self- evaluation and the Instructor evaluation, to you, the instructor of record, Human Resources, the DGS, and your Primary Advisor.
This process aims to provide several opportunities for substantive feedback and discussion about teaching. In addition to this feedback, the Department of History offers HIST 807: Professional Development Colloquium in Pedagogy every other year. We strongly urge all students contemplating a career in teaching to take this course. GTA evaluations can be used as springboards for professional development in this course and in less formal mentoring conversations with the DGS and your faculty advisors.
Continuing GTA Employment
Insofar as Department resources allow, the Department expects to renew the appointments of GTAs who are making good progress in their degree programs and who perform their teaching duties in a satisfactory manner for five years of study. An additional year of funding through the University of Kansas may be available in another department or program, but the Department of History is only able to provide five years of funding through GTA appointments. Please contact the Graduate Academic Advisor of other departments for information about the application process for GTA positions outside the History Department.
The Department of History and the University offer GTAs a wide range of opportunities to enhance their instructional skills and to learn about higher education pedagogy. By taking advantage of workshops and discussions related to teaching offered by the department and the Center for Teaching Excellence, GTAs can make their workload more manageable, craft a pedagogical philosophy and teaching portfolio, and demonstrate their commitment to high-quality teaching to future employers.
Before GTAs enter the classroom for the first time, they are required to attend the University GTA orientations, scheduled a week before the beginning of fall classes. The date of the orientation is listed on the contract GTAs sign upon admission to the program. The Provost's office has the authority to cancel the contracts of GTA appointees who miss the orientation. The Department also schedules its own orientation for GTAs at the beginning of the academic year, and all GTAs are required to attend. This orientation will outline expectations of graduate students and provide an introduction to the work of a GTA, as well as general training required for the appointment.
Center for Teaching Excellence
The Center for Teaching Excellence (CTE) is a University office dedicated to assisting instructors, including GTAs, in developing effective instructional techniques. The expert staff of CTE can introduce instructors to the pedagogical technology available at the University, and help instructors develop new approaches to teaching. CTE specialists work with instructors individually, and also offer a diverse array of workshops and discussions. They also can guide instructors to useful scholarly literature on the subject of college teaching and learning. CTE is located at 135 Budig Hall, telephone (785) 864-4199; email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- All GTA/GRA appointments are governed by the MOA between the University of Kansas, Lawrence, the Kansas Board of Regents, and the Kansas Association of Public Employees.
- GRA, GTA, and GA Appointments: General Guidelines and Eligibility
- HR’s Full List of GTA Benefits
- GTA/GRA/GA Health Insurance Information
- HR/Pay System
GTA/GRA/GA paychecks are available to view in HR/Pay the Monday before a pay day. If using the system for the first time, the system will need to register the login and then go through an update before any information is accessible. Wait a few hours and then log in again. The system has registered you as a user when the main home page menu shows the Self Service option. Navigate to Self Service>View Paychecks. Current deductions and direct deposit information may also be viewed and updated via the HR/Pay system.
The University of Kansas offers graduate students a wide variety of opportunities for professional development outside of the classroom. Students are encouraged to participate in the intellectual life of the university, to attend workshops, presentations, lectures, and conferences, and to offer input on the governance of the University as members of committees and task forces. Graduate students can have a significant impact on their program and the larger academic community, and extracurricular experience can be just as significant in shaping students' academic interests and career outcomes as coursework and other degree requirements. The "Professionalization Agenda" in the Appendix describes a variety of activities that will enrich graduate students' experience and professional skills during their time at KU.
Engaging with leading scholars in your discipline and in related disciplines is just one of the many benefits of being affiliated with a major research university. We encourage you to attend a variety of lectures, seminars, and workshops led by visiting scholars. The Department often hosts guest lectures by visiting scholars, some of whom might be candidates for faculty positions. Graduate students are encouraged to attend these lectures, as well as the receptions that follow. By attending these events, graduate students not only gain knowledge about the discipline of history, but also develop invaluable contacts with potential career and intellectual mentors.
The Hall Center for the Humanities also hosts dozens of visiting scholars each year; graduate students are encouraged to attend their presentations. In addition, the Hall Center hosts a number of seminars organized around a variety of topics. Graduate students are welcome to join these groups, and, as they progress in their research, to present papers there.
Many of the interdisciplinary study centers and programs at KU offer lectures, workshops, and conferences of interest to historians. Depending of their areas of interest, graduate students in History should join the mailing lists for the Kansas African Studies Center (KASC), American Studies, the Center for East Asian Studies (CEAS), the Program in Environmental Studies, Humanities and Western Civilization (HWC), the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies (CLACS), Religious Studies, the Center for Russian and East European Studies (CREES), and Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies (WGSS).
The Anschutz, Watson, and Spencer Research Libraries at the University of Kansas offer internationally acclaimed resources for scholars in the humanities. The libraries also boast exceptionally competent staff members, several of whom are trained in History in addition to Library and Information Science. The library staff is eager to consult with graduate students and to assist them in locating the resources they need for their work.
One of the great benefits of living in a vibrant college town is that a commitment to dynamic intellectual discourse extends beyond Mount Oread. The Lawrence Public Library hosts visiting authors—including some notable historians—throughout the year. The Watkins Museum of History showcases the work of researchers who focus on the history of Lawrence and Kansas. The Dusty Bookshelf and Raven Bookstores also frequently hold author events with historians.
Finally, HGSO frequently organizes workshops to inform students about aspects of professional development, often in conjunction with the Graduate Office. In addition, it hosts occasional "town meetings" with the Director of Graduate Studies and the Department Chair. The graduate students in the Department, through HGSO, have organized a discussion/support group for dissertation writers. More information on these events can be provided by HGSO leadership.
The History Graduate Student Organization (HGSO) has officers and committees serving in a variety of roles. It is open to all graduate students in the Department. Graduate students are also integrated into the governance structure of the Department, as described in the Department's by-laws. HGSO nominates graduate students for positions on Department committees, and the Chair makes the appointments.
The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and the University occasionally appoints graduate students to standing and ad hoc committees. Because graduate students are appointed upon the recommendation of professors— particularly the Department Chair and the Director of Graduate Studies—interested students should let faculty members know of their willingness to serve. These opportunities are especially valuable for students who are considering higher education administration as a career path.
Financial Assistance for Professional Development
Most graduate students find that they need additional funds in order to complete the goals they have outlined for their graduate school careers. They often need to travel to archives, libraries, and conferences; occasionally they need to purchase materials; sometimes they need time free from teaching responsibilities to travel or to write. Because GTA stipends are not designed to cover these additional expenses, graduate students need to seek out additional sources of funding. The Department of History, the Office of Graduate Studies, and other units at the University of Kansas have some limited moneys available for this purpose, but graduate students should expect to obtain funding for these purposes primarily from external sources.
The Hall Center for the Humanities is an excellent resource for students soliciting external funding, and it compiles information on a wide variety of funding opportunities from external sources. In addition, the Hall Center offers workshops specifically for graduate students in the humanities on how to construct successful grant applications, and they can provide private consultations. Contact the Hall Center for the Humanities by email at email@example.com.
Department of History Grants and Scholarships
The Graduate Committee oversees the process of nominating graduate students for Departmental and University-wide grants, scholarships, fellowships, and prizes.
The Department of History has a number of small endowments dedicated to assisting graduate students in their professional development. Most endowments specify a particular type of recipient, for example, one studying Latin American history, or one at the dissertation stage. Some of these accounts provide funds directly to students. Others are set up as scholarships that pay students’ tuition and fees, with any surplus refunded to the prizewinner. Each year in the Spring, the Graduate Office circulates a list of the grants and scholarships available to graduate students and the Graduate Committee reviews nominations for the awards.
The Department maintains a small budget for graduate students to travel to academic conferences where they are presenting academic papers. Each year, students may apply for up to $350 in travel support, and the funds are appropriated in the order in which applications are received.
Moreover, because funding graduate research is one of our top priorities, we endeavor to allocate any excess monies in our annual department budget to help graduate students conduct their research. When such an opportunity arises, the Director of Graduate Studies will solicit brief applications for need-based awards. If students anticipate an especially cumbersome expense for an essential purpose (language study, archival research, etc.), they should speak to the Director of Graduate Studies. Even if the Department does not have the capability to support the request, the DGS can direct you to other possible sources.
University-Wide Grants, Scholarships, and Fellowships
The Office of Graduate Studies administers a variety of fellowships, scholarships, and grants earmarked for graduate students. Some of these grants are large enough to pay for tuition and fees for an entire academic year or more; others consist of a small sum of money. Most awards are designated to assist graduate students in accomplishing their research, although some may be used for pre-dissertation training or for travel to academic conferences. The number of awards varies each year. The Office of Graduate Studies adds additional grant competitions as resources permit, so graduate students should monitor their funding website for announcements.
The KU Office of Graduate Studies establishes the application process for these awards, the criteria for selection, and the deadlines. In most cases, OGS expects the departments to nominate a limited number of potential recipients. As the Department of History learns of available funding it publicizes this information to the graduate students and the faculty via email. Based on the Office of Graduate Studies' deadlines, the History Graduate Office will establish its own deadline for graduate students to submit their applications to the Graduate Committee. The Graduate Committee will then select the applications to be sent forward. The Department's nominees may be asked to revise their applications in order to enhance their chances of success.
Some of the Office of Graduate Studies’ awards of interest to History graduate students are:
- Graduate Scholarly Presentation Travel Fund – Graduate students who are scheduled to present original papers at conference outside of the state of Kansas may apply to the Office of Graduate Studies for a travel subsidy. The maximum award during the student's career at KU is $500. More information and the application form are available on the Office of Graduate Studies’ Graduate Scholarly Presentation Travel Fund web page.
- The Harry S. Truman Good Neighbor Awards: Jerry Smith Scholarship for International Studies and Eddie Jacobsen Memorial Foundation Scholarship – The Harry S. Truman Good Neighbor Award Foundation has invited the University to screen nominations for the Jerry Smith Scholarship for International Studies and the Eddie Jacobsen Memorial Foundation Scholarship, which the Foundation awards each May. Applicants must be KU students pursuing courses of study in the general areas of international relations and diplomacy. The Foundation places special emphasis on conflict resolution.
- Dwight Eisenhower/Clifford Roberts Graduate Fellowship – The Eisenhower World Affairs Institute has invited the University of Kansas to screen nominations for the Dwight Eisenhower/Clifford Roberts Graduate Fellowships, which the Institute awards in late April. The awards assist young scholars of exceptional leadership who are pursuing the doctoral degree in such areas as government, history, economics, business administration, and international affairs. Applicants should be at the point of preparing their dissertations. Research topics relating directly to President Eisenhower, the Eisenhower Administration, and issues of major concern to him will command special attention.
The Hall Center for the Humanities also supports graduate student research and professional development. Some of the Hall Center for the Humanities’ awards of particular interest to History students are:
- Andrew Debicki International Travel Award in the Humanities-- Provides one KU humanities graduate student with travel support for dissertation research outside the United States.
- Jim Martin Travel Award in the Humanities-- Provides one KU humanities graduate student with travel support for dissertation research in the United States.
- Richard and Jeannette Sias Graduate Fellowship in the Humanities-- Provides KU humanities graduate students with one semester of financial support to focus entirely on the dissertation; residency at the Hall Center is required.
- Graduate Summer Research Awards-- Provide graduate students engaged in humanistic dissertation research and writing the opportunity to focus exclusively on their projects for the months of June and July.
- Humanities Summer Graduate Internship-- Supports graduate students who demonstrate the ability to make outstanding contributions in their chosen humanities or social science disciplines and are interested in both interdisciplinary studies and community outreach.
- Applied Humanities Bootcamp-- The Applied Humanities Boot Camp is designed to provide practical advice, intensive training, hands-on experience, and professional networking opportunities to graduate students seeking to add a public humanities component to their CV.
Professional historians can pursue a variety of careers. Recent graduates of the KU History Department teach at research universities, liberal arts colleges, and community colleges; they work in university administration; they take positions for federal, state, and local governments; they work in archives, museums, and think tanks. The changing nature of the academic job market demands that even those graduate students who wish to pursue academic employment are advised to consider non-academic career tracks. Through discussions with faculty, visitors to the campus, fellow graduate students, and colleagues from other institutions, students can become aware of the possible career outcomes with a graduate degree in History.
Notices of academic job openings may be found in Perspectives, the newsletter of the American Historical Association, as well as in The Chronicle of Higher Education, and in many association newsletters. In addition, job openings are listed on the internet, particularly on H-Net and the AHA site. Because the Chair, the Director of Graduate Studies, and many faculty are contacted directly by prospective employers, job-seekers might wish to let them know of their interest in finding positions.
The Graduate Office helps graduate students develop professional skills to obtain post-graduate employment. Each fall, the Department offers workshops on techniques for job interviewing, dossier preparation, and other job-seeking skills. In addition, the Director of Graduate Studies and members of the faculty assist graduate students on the job market in setting up individual mock interviews and mock job talks. Many faculty and graduates of the Department are willing to scrutinize drafts of application materials for job-seeking students, to counsel them on the etiquette of interviews, and to help them shape their professional profile.
Because most students end up applying for dozens of positions, they find it convenient to set up a file with an external dossier service that manages a credential file containing confidential letters of recommendation, which the organization will send out, for a modest fee, to prospective employers as applicants direct. The two most frequently used services are Interfolio, a for-profit dossier management company, and Vitae, a free service of the Chronicle of Higher Education.
- Navigating the University: Key Offices at KU
- Program of Study Declaration (M.A./Ph.D.)
- Program of Study Declaration (Terminal M.A.)
- Guidelines for HIST 800
- Overview of Progress Report Form
- Foreign Language Certification Form
- Coursework Matrix (M.A./Ph.D.)
- Coursework Matrix (Terminal M.A.)
- Progress Grid (M.A./Ph.D.)
- Professionalization Agenda
- HIST 802 Research Paper Evaluation Rubric
- Dissertation Prospectus Evaluation Rubric
- Professional Essay Evaluation Rubric
- Oral Examination Evaluation Rubric (M.A./Portfolio)
- Change of Advisor Form (M.A.)
- Change of Advisor Form (Ph.D.)
- Written Dissertation Evaluation Rubric
- Oral Examination Evaluation Rubric (Dissertation)
Navigating the University: Key Offices at KU
Your unit’s Director of Graduate Studies or Graduate Academic Advisor is your first stop for any questions related to graduate study or requirements. If you would like to research an issue in advance of speaking with your department or if you still have questions, the following offices can provide assistance:
College Office of Graduate Affairs (COGA)
The College Office of Graduate Affairs (COGA) oversees graduate affairs and administers University policy for programs within the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. The COGA website contains comprehensive information on requirements and processes pertaining to graduate education at KU. Most common questions can be answered with the information provided there, including questions regarding enrollment changes or forms, University policies regarding exams and committee requirements, and University graduation requirements. The College of Liberal Arts & Sciences' Master’s Hooding Ceremony is coordinated by COGA.
COGA reviews all student petitions of University and College policy, issuing decisions on behalf of the College or referring as required to a faculty committee and/or the Office of Graduate Studies. The more common student petitions relate to Enrollment, Leave of Absence, and Time Limit Extensions.
COGA is a resource if you have questions about petitions or graduation requirements that your department is unable to answer. Refer to the COGA website for current staff contact information.
The Office of Graduate Studies is the office of the Dean of Graduate Studies at KU. The Executive Council of Graduate Studies sets policies and regulations governing graduate study, and offers various programs for graduate students throughout the year. While COGA should be your first stop for any questions your department cannot answer, you may be referred to the Office of Graduate Studies for certain matters, especially for questions about GTA/GRA/GA appointments and policies. The University's Doctoral Hooding Ceremony is coordinated by Graduate Studies.
Contact Graduate Admissions (located within the Office of Graduate Studies) for questions regarding the KU Online Application for Graduate Study, ADMIT system / Prospect, English proficiency requirements, and official transcripts.
Contact OUR for questions related to enrollment (if the question cannot be resolved via the enrollment changes link provided above under COGA), tuition, campus fees, the Academic Calendar, and fee petitions.
Contact Financial Aid for questions related to the disbursement of scholarships, fellowship award, loans, and FAFSA.
Contact ISS for questions related to international students, including enrollment requirements, international student insurance, obtaining a social security card, I-20 questions, and any issue related to student visas. While other offices on campus such as the AEC, Human Resources, or the Registrar may also handle related matters, because the students’ legal status in the country may be affected, it is recommended that students contact ISS first.
The Center for Teaching Excellence (CTE) is a University office dedicated to assisting instructors, including GTAs, to develop effective instructional techniques. The expert staff of CTE can introduce instructors to the pedagogical technology available at the University and help instructors develop new approaches to teaching.
CTE specialists work with instructors individually, and also offer a diverse array of workshops and discussions. They also can guide instructors to useful scholarly literature on the subject of college teaching and learning.
Program of Study Declaration (M.A./Ph.D.)
Program of Study Declaration (Accelerated M.A./Terminal M.A.)
Guidelines for HIST 800: Readings in ___
Statement of principle on graduate readings courses
Graduate-level readings courses provide graduate students with the opportunity to work closely with a faculty member in directed and intensive reading, examining either a broad historiographical area or a more specific theme, region, period, and/or methodology. In some cases, they provide a chance to examine issues vital to a student’s development as a scholar for which there are no regularly taught graduate colloquia, or to interact with faculty members with whom a student might not otherwise have the chance to work closely. They can be especially valuable for addressing specialized topics, filling gaps in departmental course coverage, and helping to provide meaningful curricula for fields with a small number of students.
Readings courses cannot substitute for the intensive group interaction and professionalization involved in regular colloquia, and they also involve a large and poorly compensated investment of faculty time. They should be a limited part of any student’s curriculum—comprising no more than two courses during a student’s graduate training. In extraordinary circumstances and with the approval of the Primary Advisor, students may petition the Graduate Committee for a waiver of the two-course limit.
Recommended parameters for readings courses
- Students should register for three credit hours, with a workload resembling a regular colloquium.
- There should be at least one hour of faculty-student interaction and discussion for every two weeks of work, with an expected ten to fifteen hours of total contact during a normal semester. When possible, students are encouraged to form reading groups of two or three students within these same parameters.
- Twenty to thirty books and articles is an appropriate reading load for a typical readings course, depending on the length and complexity of works chosen. These readings should be comprised from Field Lists.
- Readings courses are meant to be reading-, not writing-intensive. Recommended length for the final paper is approximately twenty pages (5000 to 6000 words) plus a bibliography of works read during the course. At an instructor’s discretion, a series of shorter essays may substitute for the final paper.
- The exact range of expectations regarding books and papers will be enumerated in a syllabus agreed upon by the student and faculty member, to be filed with the Director of Graduate Studies and approved by the end of the first week of the semester.
- The final assignment should comprise a carefully documented, synthetic, analytical essay, which provides the basis for the course grade. Instructors will provide written feedback on this final essay, and a copy with the professor’s comments should be included in the professional portfolio.
To be filed annually by May 1.
Department of History Foreign Language Certification Form
Coursework Matrix (M.A./Ph.D.)
Course 1 - HIST 805: The Nature of History
Course 2 - Colloquium
Course 3 - Colloquium or language course
Course 1 - HIST 802: Research Seminar
Course 2 - Colloquium or language course
Course 3 - Colloquium
Courses - No enrollment
Other - Field readings
Course 1 - Colloquium
Course 2 - Colloquium
Course 3 - Colloquium/HIST 800
Course 1 - HIST 802: Research Seminar
Course 2 - HIST 998: Portfolio Preparation
Course 3 - Colloquium
Other - Submit HIST 802 papers to committee for M.A. Exam
Courses - No enrollment
Other - Portfolio and prospectus preparation
Course 1 - HIST 997: Dissertation Seminar
Other - Portfolio examination (August/September); Dissertation prospectus defense (November/December)
Course 1 - Doctoral Dissertation (9 hours)
Course 1 - 1 hour, Doctoral Dissertation
Coursework Matrix (Terminal M.A.)
Course 1 - HIST 805: The Nature of History
Course 2 - Colloquium
Course 3 - Colloquium or language course
Course 1 - HIST 802: Research Seminar
Course 2 - Colloquium or language course
Course 3 - Colloquium
Courses - No enrollment
Course 1 - Colloquium
Course 2 - Colloquium
Course 3 - Colloquium/HIST 800
Course 1 - HIST 802: Research Seminar
Course 2 - Colloquium
Course 3 - Colloquium/HIST 800
Other - M.A. Examination
Progress Grid (M.A./Ph.D.)
This timetable provides graduate students with advice on how to complete the Ph.D. degree within six years. It is not a substitute for regular consultation between graduate students and their faculty advisors.
- Complete HIST 805: The Nature of History (Fall)
- Minimum GPA in graduate and language courses of 3.5
- No pending Incompletes
- By April 15, students and their advisory committees will approve a program of study for subsequent years
- Complete language requirement according to field of study
- Complete first HIST 802 research seminar
- Eighteen credit hours towards degree completed by end of Spring
- GPA 3.5 overall/3.7 in History courses
- No pending Incompletes
- Complete second HIST 802 research seminar
- Submit final drafts of both 802 Papers to M.A. Committee to fulfill M.A. exam requirement
- Enroll in HIST 998: Portfolio Preparation in Spring Semester and submit Portfolio Exam to Advisory Committee
- Twenty-seven credit hours towards degree completed by end of Fall semester
- Draft Dissertation Prospectus in Summer
- Complete oral defense of Portfolio Exam in Fall Semester
- Defend Dissertation Prospectus in Fall/Spring Semester
- GPA 3.5 overall/3.7 in History courses
- No pending Incompletes
- Certification in second research language (if required)
- Enrollment maintained o Progress on dissertation (*see below)
*Progress on the dissertation is demonstrated by the following accomplishments; the order may vary:
- Applications for external funding for research
- Applications for external funding for dissertation write-up
- Research travel accomplished
- Scholarly presentations and/or publications based on dissertation topic
- Chapters submitted to committee
In addition to completing the formal requirements for the Ph.D., graduate students also need to develop a professional profile that will position them to succeed after graduation. This timetable lets you know what sorts of things you should be doing and when you should do them.
First Year (and Summer)
- Become acquainted with department faculty
- Find peer mentors among more senior graduate students
- Begin to think about career options, including both a first and a second choice
- Begin following academic journals in your field
- Begin to attend lectures, seminars, workshops, and job talks on campus
- Attend an academic conference
- Begin reading the titles in your Field Lists.
- Begin to acquire a library of essential books in your field
- Upgrade your command of your primary research language
- Write your C.V.
- Attend CTE teaching workshops
- Attend a Hall Center grant-writing workshop
- Develop a system for data management (the Library has useful resources in this area)
- Familiarize yourself with archives and libraries in your research area
- Take a preliminary research trip in the summer using departmental funding
Second Year (and Summer)
- Begin to prepare your Portfolio materials
- Read to fill in gaps in your command of the historiography and complete your field lists
- Enroll in HIST 998: Portfolio Preparation
- Apply for a pre-dissertation research grant
- Take a position in HGSO
- Further upgrade primary research language competence (speaking and writing)
- Workshop drafts of your Dissertation Prospectus
Third Year (and Summer)
- Assess feedback from Portfolio Examination and spend the summer filling gaps in your historiographical and historical knowledge
- Start compiling a teaching portfolio • Deliver a guest lecture in a course
- Present a paper (based on a HIST 802 seminar paper) at a conference
- Upgrade research skills (e.g. paleography, statistical methods)
- Attend a national academic conference
- With guidance from primary advisor, begin to network with established scholars in your field outside KU
- Apply for external dissertation research grants • Mentor undergraduates
- Take a position on a department committee
Fourth Year (and Summer)
- Travel to archives and libraries for intensive research
- Apply for external dissertation write-up grants
- Submit a research article to a refereed journal
- Publish a book review, encyclopedia article, abstract, or translation
- Present a paper at a national academic conference
- Give a presentation to a public audience or K-12
- Read job ads and follow department searches closely
- Prepare job application materials in summer: cover letter, teaching portfolio, dissertation abstract, revised C.V. and ask faculty to review them
- Arrange for letters of recommendation, including from non-KU scholars with whom you have networked in previous years
- Apply for jobs and for post-doctoral fellowships
- Practice mock interviews
- Continue to network with established scholars and fellow students
- Submit another research article for publication
- Present another paper at a major conference
- Begin to think about future research projects
- Join a dissertation writing support/discussion group
- Mentor more junior graduate students
- Take a position on a department or university committee
- Draft final dissertation chapters, begin revisions
- Continue to network with established scholars and fellow students
- Submit a dissertation-based research article for publication
- Maintain participation in dissertation writing group
- Apply for jobs
- Interview for jobs
- Defend the dissertation
HIST 802 Research Paper Evaluation Rubric
Dissertation Prospectus Evaluation Rubric
Professional Essay Evaluation Rubric
Oral Examination Evaluation Rubric (M.A./Portfolio)
This form is to be submitted by the student to the graduate academic advisor to request approval for a change of Master's advisor, the addition or deletion of a Master's committee member, or the addition or deletion of a co-advisor.
This form is to be submitted by the student to the department graduate academic advisor to request approval for a change of dissertation advisor, the addition or deletion of a doctoral dissertation reading committee member, or the addition or deletion of a co-advisor.
Written Dissertation Evaluation Rubric
Oral Examination Evaluation Rubric (Dissertation)
Forms and Funding
The Department of History at the University of Kansas commits to funding incoming Ph.D. students with five years of teaching fellowships, and our students have a range of opportunities to serve as graders, Graduate Teaching Assistants, and Associate Instructors in courses that cover topics and geographical areas from throughout history.
Internal Support at KU
There are a variety of other internal sources of support available through the University of Kansas.
The Hall Center for the Humanities
The Hall Center for the Humanities provides generous travel and research support for graduate students in the humanities, and students from the Department of History are regularly strong contenders for these awards:
- Andrew Debicki International Travel Award in the Humanities – Provides one KU humanities graduate student with travel support for dissertation research outside the United States.
- Jim Martin Travel Award in the Humanities – Provides one KU humanities graduate student with travel support for dissertation research in the United States.
- Richard and Jeannette Sias Graduate Fellowship in the Humanities – Provides two KU humanities graduate students with one semester each of financial support to focus entirely on the dissertation.
- Applied Humanities Summer Fellows – Supports Ph.D. or M.A. students who demonstrate the ability to make outstanding contributions in their chosen humanities or social science disciplines and are interested in both interdisciplinary studies and community outreach.
The Office of Graduate Studies
The Office of Graduate Studies at the University of Kansas also supports graduate students with a range of internal fellowships and scholarships.
The Department of History nominates two exceptional incoming student candidates for the following scholarships:
- Mary Elizabeth and Andrew P. Debicki Scholarship – Provides a $5000 stipend to a student in the Humanities. Preference is given to students who will be in their first year of study.
- Graduate Studies Diversity Scholarship – Provides a $5,000 stipend to a limited number of underrepresented graduate students who have been admitted for fall. Nominees are expected to possess an outstanding academic record. Nominations are to clearly outline how this student is considered underrepresented within the discipline and at KU.
- The Dorothy Clark Lettice Scholarship – Provides a $5000 stipend to high quality students. The Lettice and Nelson Scholarship can be used to help off-set the costs of ongoing research. Students awarded the Lettice Scholarship will demonstrate high academic ability as evidenced in the nomination packet.
- The John H. Nelson Scholarship – Provides a $5000 stipend to high quality students. The Nelson Scholarships can be used to help offset the costs of ongoing research. Students awarded the Nelson Scholarship will demonstrate high academic ability as evidenced in the nomination packet.
- Dr. Laiten L. and Verna Nye Camien Scholarship – Provides a $5000 stipend to a doctoral student in the Social Sciences, Education or Foreign Languages with the capability and intention of becoming a professional in that field. The student must have received a graduate degree from the University of Kansas.
- Fred G. Soxman Memorial Scholarship – Provides a $5000 stipend to a graduate student who has received at least one University of Kansas Athletic Letter for participation in an intercollegiate sport. The student must have received an undergraduate degree from the University of Kansas.
For current students presenting at an academic conference:
- Graduate Scholarly Presentation Travel Fund – Available to Lawrence campus graduate students only. You must be presenting a paper or the disciplinary equivalent at a national or regional meeting of a learned or professional society. A student may receive an award ($500) only once, and funds are available on a first-come, first-served basis.
For current students seeking summer research support:
- Summer Research Fellowship ($5,000 stipend) – Factors that will be considered in awarding Summer Research Fellowships include (but are not be limited to):
- Academic performance
- A clearly stated proposal with specific details of his/her research plan
- Nominee is from an under-represented student group
- Recommendation from the department
- Preference will be given to doctoral students who will have completed their comprehensive exams by the last day of class for the Spring semester.
For current students with an interest in US and international policy:
- Dwight Eisenhower/Clifford Roberts Graduate Fellowship – The Eisenhower Institute has invited the University of Kansas to screen nominations for the Dwight Eisenhower/Clifford Roberts Graduate Fellowships, which the Institute will award in late April. The fellowships help scholars of exceptional leadership complete work for the doctoral degree in such areas as government, history, economics, business administration, and International affairs. Nominees should be preparing their dissertations. Research topics relating to President Eisenhower, the Eisenhower Administration, and issues that were of major concern to President Eisenhower command special attention. The award carries a stipend of $7,500.
Area Studies Centers
Some of KU's area studies centers offer FLAS awards to support language study at the graduate level.
KU International Affairs
KU International Affairs offers modest awards to Ph.D. students doing pre-dissertation research in some world regions outside the US or to M.A. student who seek to enhance their studies through an international opportunity that does not duplicate coursework they could take at KU.
International Affairs also offers guidance for students wishing to apply for both Fulbright (IIE) and Fulbright-Hays (Department of Education) awards to support their research.
Graduate students are also encouraged to apply for external funding, as this is the manner in which the most successful scholars support their research. The Office of Graduate has compiled an enumeration of external funding sources.