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Graduate Studies in History

Graduate College 

General Description
Florida Atlantic University offers the M.A. degree in a wide variety of historical fields. Our department currently includes 23 faculty members who have directed more than 165 theses. Our curriculum offers a wide variety of graduate seminars from which to choose that represent a diversity of interests. Serious and sustained efforts are made to place our graduate students in Ph.D. programs and other appropriate professional programs relating to the study of history. These webpages present an overview of the areas of historical study and regulations for students seeking graduate degrees. Some regulations are university-wide, affecting all degrees offered by the university. Other requirements are departmental. All university-wide regulations must be fulfilled.  To maintain curricular integrity and balance, as well as to ensure that programs adequately prepare students in their individual fields, department requirements may be modified at the discretion of the Director of Graduate Studies and/or the Graduate Committee.

Admission Requirements
The Master of Arts degree in History is designed to prepare graduates for doctoral work in history; for museum, preservation, and public history work; for employment in education, government, or industry; for admission to law school; to qualify instructors in history for community college teaching; and to enhance historical skills and content for secondary school social studies teachers.

1. Each applicant should have a baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution, preferably with an undergraduate major in history. Applicants who did not major in history may be required to complete successfully additional appropriate undergraduate coursework in history before being admitted to the graduate program.

2. Applicants must have a minimum 3.0 grade point average (GPA) for the last 60 undergraduate credits attempted.

3. Applicants must have a minimum score of 155 on the verbal and a 4.0 on the analytical sections of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). If the applicant has a GPA well over the 3.0 minimum  the department may consider the quantitative section for purposes of meeting  the GRE criterion.

4. Documents Required:

    a.  Graduate Application:  A completed, signed application for graduate admission is required for all degree-seeking applicants.  This application along with detailed instructions regarding the application process may be accessed at http://fau.edu/graduate/applyonline/index.php.  Applicants may submit the application electronically from this website.

    b.  Application Fee:  There is a nonrefundable application fee of $30.00.  With the exception of McNair, McKnight and Fulbright Scholars, all applicants, including former FAU students, are required to pay the application fee.

    c.  Transcripts:  Applicants must request that two official transcripts be sent directly to them from the Registrar of each college or university attended.  When they receive the transcripts, applicants should not open the envelopes, but send  them, unopened, to the Graduate College , Florida Atlantic University, SU-80, Room 101, 777 Glades Rd., Boca Raton, Fl 33431.  An official transcript is one that is issued by the school or college attended, bearing appropriate signatures or seals, and kept in a sealed envelope.  Transcripts opened prior to delivery are no longer official.

    d.  Letters of Recommendation: Applicants must have two letters of recommendation sent directly to the department. 

    e.  Autobiographical Statement:  Applicants must send to the department a three-to-five-page typed, double-spaced autobiographical statement indicating the nature of their preparation for graduate work and the reasons for seeking the M.A. in history.

    f.  Graduate Record Examination (GRE) Scores, sent by ETS to the Office of Graduate Admissions and Graduate Studies (see address above in c.).  The FAU school code is 5229.

    g.  Writing Sample:  Applicants should submit at least one substantial sample of their writing, preferably in the form of an academic research paper that demonstrates their skills at research and analysis.

5.  Prospective applicants for graduate work in history should schedule an interview with the department's director of graduate studies.

 6. Applicants who fail to meet the GRE or GPA requirements, and/or who lack a strong background in history, may be admitted on a conditional basis.

Graduate Teaching Assistantships
There are a limited number of graduate teaching assistantships offered each year for qualified, full-time students.  Applicants and currently-enrolled students who would like to be considered for one of these assistantships should contact the Director of Graduate Studies by Feb 15, the deadline for Fall semester applications.  Assistantships provide a substantial tuition waiver as well as a stipend.  Those students who are offered an assistantship are required to take HIS 5944: The Teaching Practicum.  Interview of candidates will be conducted in March or April and selections usually made by early May.  For more information please contact the graduate director.

Teaching Practicum
This course (HIS 5944) is designed to help graduate teaching assistants develop their skills as discussion leaders in introductory courses in which a faculty member has the responsibility for course organization and lectures. This course is required of all graduate assistants, but does not count toward the 30-hour thesis or 36-hour non-thesis required hours needed for completion of the M.A.

Application Deadlines
Applications for Fall admission are due by June 1, and for the Spring by October 15.  For students seeking Teaching Assistantships, the application deadline for Fall admission is February 15, and the Spring is September 15.

General Requirements
The Master of Arts in History has both a thesis track and a non-thesis track. The thesis track requires 30 credit hours, with a minimum of 24 hours of graduate course work and the completion of a M.A. thesis, for which a minimum of 6 additional credits must be earned. The non-thesis track requires a total of 36 hours of graduate course work. All students are admitted as non-thesis. Following completion of 18 hours of graduate study, those students wishing to pursue the thesis track must petition the Director of Graduate Studies. Once students are granted thesis track status, they must work in conjunction with the director to create a thesis committee. All students must complete HIS 5060: The Historical Experience in their first semester if they enter in the fall, and in their second semester if they enter in the spring. See below for more on specific requirements for thesis-track and non-thesis track students. Graduate students may not take undergraduate courses for graduate credit. Graduate students who also serve as Graduate Assistants must take HIS 5944: Teaching Practicum, but this course cannot be counted toward the 30-hour M.A. degree.

In accordance with university regulations, at least one-half of the courses in a M.A. student's program must be at the 6000-level.

Students should meet at least once a semester with the Director of Graduate Studies in order to plan their program of study and to ensure that all requirements for the M.A. in History degree program are being met.

Degree Application
Early in the semester prior to the semester of your anticipated graduation (e.g. early Fall Semester for Spring graduation), you must do the following:

    (1)    Obtain and complete "Application for Degree" form found at www.fau.edu/graduate/docs/Application_for_degree.pdf

   (2)    Make an appointment with the Department of History's Director of Graduate Studies for a review of your transcript to ensure that all requirements have been met.  Bring "Application for Degree" form with you.

    (3)    Return "Application for Degree" form to the Department of History for the Chair's review and signature.

    (4)    The Registrar's Office must receive your completed and signed "Application for Degree" by the deadline listed on FAU's Academic Calendar.  [For example, for May 5, 2009 graduation, the "Application for Degree" form musts be received by January 27, 2009]

    (5)    Failure to complete the "Application for Degree" process on time prevents you from participating in commencement exercises.

    (6)    Verify your local and permanent addresses on the MyFAU system (http://myfau.fau.edu/).  Be sure these addresses are current as the Registrar's Office Commencement tickets for your guests.

    (7)    If you have any questions, please contact the History Department's Interim Director of Graduate Studies (561-297-2620) and/or the FAU Graduate College (561-297-4156)

Major Fields and Graduate Seminars
The master's degree candidate should choose one major field of concentration from the following areas: U.S. History, European History, and World History (including Asia, Middle East, Africa, and Latin America).  Those who select U.S. History as their major field may include in their total program up to two public history courses, including internships.  Graduate seminars are of two types: readings (5000-level) and research (6000-level). The Readings Seminar is designed to introduce to the graduate student a body of literature specific to a broad conceptual framework focusing on a region, topic, or time period. It provides students with an overview of the changing interpretations in a particular area over time. These seminars require some type of analytical or interpretive paper. The Research Seminar requires graduate students to conduct primary research and to prepare a major, original research paper on some specific aspect of the seminar's focus, and exchange results through presentation and discussion.

Directed Independent Study
Directed Independent Studies (DIS) give graduate students the opportunity to investigate a particular topic in greater detail under the direction of a full-time faculty member.  Students interested in taking a DIS should approach the prospective faculty member at least several weeks before the semester in which the DIS is to be conducted starts.  At this time the students and faculty member complete the DIS registration form and submit it to the History Department Office along with a syllabus that includes assignments, meeting schedule (weekly or bi-weekly) and criteria used for grading.  These materials must be finalized and submitted no later than during the add/drop period during the first week of classes.  Students may not register for a DIS without securing the instructor's approval, and faculty members will only conduct a DIS that corresponds within their own specialties.  DIS courses require regular meetings between students and instructors, and cannot be conducted long-distance.

There are two types of Directed Independent Study (DIS) courses offered at the graduate level.  HIS 5906 parallels the regular readings seminars and involves a concentrated, individualized program of study on a topic not normally offered as a course.  Students often write annotated bibliographies and historiographic essays in these.  HIS 6909 parallels the regular research seminar course, with thesis-track students completing a significant research project associated with the thesis topic.  This DIS cannot be used to conduct thesis research but constitutes a course separate from, even if related to , the actual thesis topic.  Students on the non-thesis track will engage in a significant research project resulting in the writing of a scholarly paper for this DIS.  Graduate students may take one DIS that counts for credit within their program.  Any additional DIS courses will be counted for credit but will not fulfill any additional requirements for the M.A. degree.  For additional information regarding DIS requirements please consult the Director of Graduate Studies.

The History M.A. program offers students an opportunity to gain valuable, hands-on experience working as public history interns at local museums, historical societies, and preservation agencies.  Students may earn more internship credits but only 3 hours may be applied to the total number required for the degree.

Foreign Language Requirement
Competency in at least one foreign language is required for the master's degree.  It is the student's responsibility to fulfill this requirement. Students in the thesis track may not apply for admission to candidacy until they have fulfilled this requirement. To fulfill the language requirement, History majors must complete one of the following the three options:

1. Passing one semester at the intermediate level (2220) of a foreign language at FAU or the equivalent at another university as determined by the History Department's Graduate Committee.

2. Passing an equivalency exam at the 2220 level.

3. Passing the graduate Reading for Research course (French 5060, Spanish 5060, or German 5060).

Plan of Study
All students in the M.A. program in history must file with the Graduate College a Plan of Study upon completion of 18 credits of qualified course work.  This form is completed by the student in consultation with the graduate director.  Approval of this plan certifies that the student has demonstrated the ability to do acceptable graduate work.  Those students who make changes to their Plan of Study after the original plan was submitted are required to file a Revision to an Existing Plan of Study form in the last semester before graduation.  You will be responsible for completing form 6 and form 9, whichever is appropriate. The forms for completion can be accessed through the Graduate College website (www.fau.edu/graduate/forms/index.php).  Failure to file these forms as required will prevent the student from graduating.

Thesis Track
In addition to HIS 5060, thesis students must complete 21 hours of graduate course work including a minimum of nine (9) credits at the readings (5000) level, and a minimum of 9 credits at the research (6000) level.   To ensure proper distribution of seminars by field, graduate students must take a minimum of twelve (12) hours of course work in their primary or thesis field, and at least nine (9) hours in a non-thesis field.   Checklist for Thesis Track.

Students considering the thesis-track option should contact the graduate director regarding this intention within the first month of the semester before they plan to begin taking thesis research credits.   After consulting with pertinent history faculty members, the graduate director will inform these students if the thesis option has been approved.   If so, thesis-track students must submit, with their Plan of Study, a three-to-five-page thesis proposal, worked out in consultation with their proposed thesis advisor and other members of their thesis committee (see below).   Before registering for thesis credits this proposal must be submitted and approved by the graduate director and department chair, and the student must have also fulfilled the foreign language requirement.

Selection of a Thesis Committee
Once the students have been recommended for the thesis track they should meet with the graduate director to discuss the formation of a committee.  Students will then approach a professor in the appropriate field of study to discuss the nature and requirements of a thesis.  If the professor chooses to take on the prospective thesis student, that professor then become the student’s academic advisor and will after consultation choose two additional professors to serve on that student’s thesis committee.  Thesis committees that require participation of faculty members not at FAU or outside the discipline must have graduate committee approval.  It is not solely the student’s responsibility to form the thesis committee.

Thesis Proposal and Bibliography
After being recommended for the thesis track and forming a thesis committee in consultation with the proposed thesis director, thesis students must submit to the graduate director for approval a five-page thesis proposal.  The proposal must contain the following:

1.   A narrative summary stating the subject of the thesis and the working hypothesis that has been shaping the research (1-2 pages);

2.   A one-page working outline of chapters with potential subheadings.

3.  A preliminary bibliography of primary and secondary sources (1-2 pages).  Students may not register for thesis credits until this proposal has been approved by the graduate director and department chair.

Procedures Required of Master's Students Engaged in Writing Theses
Early in the writing stage, each student should obtain from the Dean of the Graduate College a copy of the Requirements and Guidelines for Graduate Theses and Dissertations which provide important information on how to prepare the final thesis manuscript.  These procedures may also be found at the following website: http://wise.fau.edu/graduate/pubs/RevGuidelines.pdf.

Mechanics and Procedures for the Thesis
1.   Thesis chapters are normally submitted to the thesis director as they are written.  After corrections and changes are completed by the student, the preliminary copy of the full thesis should be submitted to and read by the other members of the thesis committee, who will then provide their own comments for additional revision.  It is the student’s responsibility to see that each procedure is carried out according to these guidelines.

2.    During the semester in which the thesis is to be defended, the student must be registered.  Final copies of the thesis must be in the hands of the thesis committee at least ten (10) days prior to the defense and oral examination.  If the student completes the defense and oral examination successfully, final revisions to the manuscript must be made immediately so the committee can sign the approval page.  From here the student should submit the final thesis to the Graduate College it accordance with its procedures (see above).

3.    It is important that students factor their research, writing, and thesis committee editing time into their graduation plans.  In most cases, the thesis must be completed in the early weeks of the semester in which the student plans to graduate so as to have time for revisions to be made and a defense and oral examination scheduled.  Thesis defenses and oral examinations are held only during the fall and spring semesters.  For more specific thesis deadline dates see the graduate history bulletin board located outside the history graduate director’s office.

Non-Thesis Track
In addition to HIS 5060, non-thesis students must complete 33 hours of graduate seminars, including a minimum of twelve (12) hours in reading (5000-level) and a minimum of eighteen (18) hours in research (6000-level) seminars.  To ensure proper distribution of courses by field, non-thesis students may take a maximum of eighteen (18) hours in any one field.  Upon completion of eighteen (18) credits students must complete and submit a Plan of Study (see above), and must have fulfilled their foreign language requirement prior to graduation.  Non-Thesis Track Checklist

The Qualifying Examination for History Graduate Students
In order to give history graduate students at Florida Atlantic University a higher-quality learning experience and to better prepare those who plan to enter Ph.D. programs, all students will take a qualifying examination in their last semester before obtaining the M.A. degree.  The regulations regarding the administration of this examination are given below.

Thesis Students
The qualifying examination for thesis-track students will be an oral examination consisting of a defense of the thesis along with questions related to the larger field in which the thesis is located.  (For example, if the thesis is on a topic related to the Cold War, the larger field the student would be tested on might be U.S. History since 1945.)  This examination will be given by all three members of the student's advisory committee and it will be sixty to ninety minutes in length.  The student's advisor will continue to be responsible for scheduling the thesis defense, and students should contact all committee members in advance to see what they recommend in terms of adequate preparation, especially for the field questions.  No notes or books may be used by student during the defense and field examination.  In order to pass this exam students must receive a unanimous decision from the advisory committee.  Should they not pass the first time, they will be able to revise their theses and/or prepare further for the field questions, and then participate in another defense and examination but not less than one month later.  If they do not pass the second time they are dismissed from the program.  Those students who achieve a superior performance in the defense and field exam will be designated as having passed "with distinction."  Students must be enrolled at FAU during any semester in which they take the exam.

Non-thesis Students
The qualifying examination for non-thesis-track students will consist of three written questions given by three professors with whom the students have had classes.  Two questions will be in the primary field (U.S. history but all three questions cannot be focused on U.S. history.  The world history questions may either be in general global/comparative history or based one of the following particular areas:  Latin American, Africa, Middle East, or Asia.  The graduate director will establish each student's exam committee.  Questions will come from the minimum of two questions that each instructor will submit to the director at the conclusion of each graduate course.

The qualifying examination will be given on  one day near the end of the Fall and Spring semesters only, with the date posted on the graduate program bulletin board outside the director's office.  Students who need to take the exam are expected to notify the graduate director in writing at least two weeks before the date it is administered.  They should bring to the exam room at least two blue books, and once they enter they must take the exam.  The exam is closed book and must be completed within three hours.  Students are advised to speak with members of their examination committee well in advance of the exam to obtain advice on how best to prepare for each part.  While it is assumed that the answers to these essay questions will be interpretive, and include historiographical references, they should also include enough factual information so as to support a plausible thesis.

Once the exam is completed the members of the committee who submitted the questions will grade the appropriate portions of  the student answers.  In order for students to pass they will need to earn at least a B grade on each question.  If they do not reach this threshold, they will be allowed to retake the exam again, but not less than one month later, at a time scheduled by the graduate director, in consultation with the students and their respective examination committees.  Those students who achieve a superior performance on the entire exam will be designated as having passed "with distinction."  If they then do not pass the examination a second time, they will be dismissed from the graduate program.  Students must be enrolled at FAU during any semester in which they take the exam.

Fall Semester 2013 Thesis Deadlines:
Survey Courses (all required; 18 cr.)
Final copy of Thesis to M.A Committee no later than
September 20
Suggested deadline for thesis defense
October 4  
Completed thesis to Chair of Department
October 22
Suggested date for thesis to go to Dean of the College
Nov. 01
Thesis due in Office of Graduate Studies
November 13

Spring Semester 2014 Thesis Deadlines:
Final copy of thesis to M.A. Committee no later than
February 7
Suggested deadline for thesis defense
February 28
Completed thesis to Chair of Department
March 17
Suggested date for thesis to go to Dean of the College 
March 28 
Thesis due in Office of Graduate Studies
April 7

[Summer Semester 2014 Thesis Deadlines]
*Students should not expect to defend in the summer term.*

Final copy of thesis to M.A. Committee no later than
May 16
Suggested deadline for thesis defense
June 2
Completed thesis to Chair of Department
June 23
Suggested date for thesis to go to Dean of the College
July 3
Thesis due in Office of Graduate Studies
July 14

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