European Field By-Laws and Procedures (revised May 2016)
I. Graduate Program In European History
A: Program Requirements
UCLA offers both M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in European history, although there is no distinct M.A. program; students are admitted only for the Ph.D. degree. The Masters Degree is designed to satisfy requirements of the Department’s doctoral program and is usually completed within two years. It consists of nine courses, six of which must be graduate courses. The other three can be chosen from among the Department’s upper-division undergraduate offerings. For the M.A. degree, students must demonstrate proficiency in one approved European language; for the Ph.D., a second language must be completed. We expect students to finish the Ph.D. in six years of full-time study. They are required to do so in no more than seven years.
Foreign Language Requirements
The Field requires proficiency in two foreign languages. For those working on Europe, French and German are normally required, although either can be replaced by another language necessary for research. For those working on Russian or Eastern European history, Russiarn plus German or French are the requirements, although any of these can be replaced by another language necessary for research.
Any substitutions must be approved by your adviser, the Field Coordinator and the Vice Chair for Graduate Studies. In all cases, proficiency in foreign languages is to be determined by an exam administered by the Field. Exceptions to this rule must be approved by your adviser, the Field Coordinator, and the Vice Chair for Graduate Studies. The exam will be administered by a faculty member and proctored by the History Graduate Office. The student will have 90 minutes for the exam and they are allowed to bring their own dictionary.
As a candidate for the Ph.D., you must meet (a) the special requirements for admission to the doctoral program listed above; and (b) the general requirements laid down by the Graduate Division. An excellent command of English, spoken and written, the ability to read at least two foreign languages, and an acquaintance with general history are expected of all candidates. You are required to complete ONE continuing two-quarter seminar. These seminars must include completion of substantial research papers based at least in part on primary sources.
All students must write a dissertation prospectus (which could be written for credit as a history 596 or 597) expected to contain: (a) a full statement of the dissertation topic; (b) a historiographical discussion of the literature bearing on the topic; (c) a statement of the methodology to be employed; and (d) a survey of the sources sufficient to demonstrate the viability of the topic. The prospectus must be approved by the dissertation adviser prior to the Oral Qualifying Examination (aka ‘Orals’). After approval, copies will be given to each member of the examining committee.
Students of European History must complete History 204, the Department-wide introductory methodology course for entering students during their first year. Faculty serving on doctoral committees may require such courses as they deem necessary for preparation for qualifying examinations. Courses taken to fulfill M.A. degree requirements may also be used to satisfy Ph.D. requirements.
Written & Oral Qualifying Examinations
Before admission to candidacy, students must pass written and oral qualifying examinations.
Written Qualifying Examination
All students in the European Field take the doctoral Written Qualifying Examination (aka ‘Writtens’) , which usually begins during Spring Break between the fifth and sixth quarters in residence (i.e. in the second year). The Field Coordinator, in consultation with the Field, will decide on the precise mechanics of administering the exam to ensure impartiality and fairness. The Coordinator will inform students and Faculty of the dates of the upcoming exam in January of their examination year.
Prior to taking the Written Qualifying Examination, a student must have met the following requirements: passed at least one departmental language examination; completed History 204; completed one two-quarter research seminar and started a second two-quarter research seminar; completed the minimum number of other courses required during the first five quarters; and have secured the agreement of a qualified member of the department in the European Field to serve as chair of the doctoral committee. Incompletes in courses beyond this minimum requirement will not prevent the student from taking the written examination.
Students who fail the examination may petition to retake it in the following Spring Quarter. The examination may be retaken only once. Students who enter with a B.A. degree who fail the doctoral examination will be allowed to complete the M.A. program as outlined in the requirements.
By the end of the Spring Quarter of their first year, students will have selected three fields in which to be examined – one major (the area in which their intended PhD will lie) and two minor. They will also have selected and secured the agreement of three members of Faculty with whom to prepare those fields. These three Faculty members will form the examinations committee for that student. One of these three members will be the student’s adviser, who heads the committee and bears responsibility for the overall co-ordination of the student’s preparation. Note that the examination committee is not the same as the dissertation committee, which is formally appointed later (before the defense of the dissertation proposal). However, the expectation is that students will choose their examination committee with a firm eye on the task of composing their dissertation committee, and that there will normally be some continuity of personnel between the two.
The student’s choice of fields must be confirmed by the Field’s Faculty in its yearly evaluation meeting in the Spring Quarter of the student’s first year. In choosing their three fields, students may consult a range of rubrics which the field offers as possible guides to framing their proposals: Europe 1450-1600; Europe 1550-1800; Europe since 1740; European Social and Economic History since 1450; European Intellectual and Cultural History since 1450; Russia since 800; Jewish History; East Central and Southeast Europe since 1450; Germany since 1450; Italy since 1450; Spain and Portugal since 1450; European History of Science since 1450; European Women’s history 1450 to present; Britain since ca. 1450; France since ca 1450; The Low Countries since ca 1450; Colonialism and Imperialism.
However, students are asked to tailor these broad frameworks chronologically, conceptually, or thematically, according to their own intellectual and professional needs and interests. Students may also offer completely new fields not currently envisaged – “Environmental History”, for example – and, where appropriate, they may pursue one of their fields outside of the department. Fields can and should be conceptualized within periods of hundreds of years; but they may be limited to periods of less than half a millennium. The major field, however, should contain both an early modern (i.e. pre-c.1750) and modern (i.e. post c.1750) component.
Examinations take the form of three take-home written exams, set by the three relevant Faculty members and administered usually over a period of two weeks (i.e. three weekends) beginning in the Spring Break. They are intended to test a comprehensive, broad understanding of European history, both of the modern and early modern periods. An ability to synthesize factual information, sometimes across long chronological periods is essential. Knowledge of the scholarly literature and of the principal historiographical controversies arising out of it is tested, along with interpretive capabilities. Questions relating to the planning of college-level history courses may appear on the examination.
The exam for the major field will consist in two sections, each with 3-5 questions; students will answer one question from each section; and each of those answers will be no longer than 2,500 words.
Exams for the minor fields will consist in one section of 3-5 questions; students will answer one question; and your answer will be no longer than 3,000 words.
These written exams will be followed in the subsequent week by an oral examination of approximately one hour conducted by all three Faculty members. The committee as a whole will grade the three exams. The purpose of the oral is to allow the committee to ask further questions about the material of their field in order to assure themselves that due competency has been attained. The committee as a whole needs to be unanimous that a candidate has achieved an overall pass by passing each of the fields. The whole examination process is normally completed by the end of April in the second year. Please note that the oral component of the Writtens is not to be confused with the ‘Oral Qualifying Exam’ (aka ‘Orals’), which constitutes a separate, successive phase in the Graduate Program.
Examiners are to submit grades by the end of the week following the termination of the exam. Grades may be Pass or Fail.
The Field Coordinator will send a letter to each student about the results of the exam and the Assessment Meeting. For students who fail, the letter should spell out the options available. For students who pass, the letter should explain the next steps – choosing fields and committee members (with relevant deadlines), passing outstanding language exams, the dissertation prospectus, the orals.
Assessment Meeting: all Faculty in residence are required to attend the Assessment Meeting, whether or not they have participated in the exam. Discussion of each student will be based on the entire record, including the grades from the exam, the results of the language exams, and all the grades for research seminars, other courses, and the departmental methodology course for incoming graduate students. We should distinguish between the examination and the assessment (based on the entire record). Taking the entire record into account, a student can be assessed with a pass, a terminal MA, or no pass (with the student’s option to take a terminal MA or to retake the exam the following year or satisfy the Field’s request for suitable performance in a seminar, as the case demands). The Field can also require that a student retake one section of the exam by the end of the following June (i.e. two months later), or retake the entire exam the following year. In any event, the exam has to follow the same procedure as before: administered by the three examiners of the student’s committee, with a full report to the Field as a whole (communicated through the Field Coordinator). It is also possible for the meeting to conclude that a student has to make up other deficiencies. The Assessment Meeting shall take place on the second Monday after the conclusion of the exam.
Oral Qualifying Examination
After their satisfactory completion of the Written Qualifying Exam, students are to meet with each of the Faculty members of their committee during the Spring Quarter to discuss strategies for preparing their dissertation prospectus and the fields relating to the prospectus.
The Oral Qualifying Examination (aka ‘Orals’) is usually conducted in the third year of the student’s program. It normally takes place at the end of nine quarters of residence, and it must be taken by the end of the twelfth quarter. The second language examination must be passed before a student takes this oral examination. More information can be found in the Graduate Student Intranet in the bullet point How Do I Form My Committee. Students who fail the oral examination must retake it, at a time set by the committee, within six months. Any variance from time limits must be approved by the European Field before going to the Graduate Affairs Committee for final approval.
For the oral examination, each student will be required to select appropriate Faculty members for a committee comprised of four members: three members who correspond to three Fields (as for the ‘Writtens’), plus a fourth member. Students should select them in consultation with their Faculty adviser. Students must choose their fields and their committee members by the Fall Quarter after they have successfully passed the Written Qualifying Examination (i.e., normally by the seventh quarter of residency). It is the job of the Field Coordinator to see that all students fulfill this requirement in the Fall Quarter.
The additional fourth person on the committee is usually a Faculty member external to the Department. Candidates can certainly choose to add an additional member of the History Department to their committee in order to pursue relevant research interests with them. But the presence on the committee of a Faculty member external to the Department is in all cases obligatory, even if an internal member of the History Department is added.
The Oral Examination is primarily conducted as a discussion of the student’s dissertation prospectus. It always requires the presence of the fourth member of the committee, external to the Department of History. The external fourth member is often (though not always – for the reasons given above) the person with whom the student has also worked for the dissertation prospectus. While the focus of the oral examination is the prospectus itself, students may expect to discuss substantive elements of their fields as they relate to the proposed research in the prospectus.
B. Additional Rules and Regulations of the Graduate Program
1. Given the university rules about residence and course requirements, and our own rules about fulfilling the requirements for research seminars (two during the first six quarters of residence) and passing the written exam based on a broad and extensive program of reading, students should not go abroad during the regular teaching Quarters during the first three quarters to do research. To go away during the second year requires a petition to the dissertation adviser, the Field Coordinator and the Vice Chair for Graduate Affairs. Any deviation from this rule should be communicated to the Field Coordinator, who in turn will discuss the matter with the Field.
2. Entering graduate students must possess a demonstrated competence in at least one foreign language, related to their proposed field of study. Students may not take the written exams before passing at least one language exam. Language exams must always be administered by the department, and no student can petition out of an exam through the Vice Chair for graduate studies or petition to substitute another form.
3. Individual Faculty members are assigned by the Field Coordinator to administer language exams in the Fall and Spring quarters. The exam shall be given in such a form as to demonstrate competent reading knowledge. The recognized languages are French and German, OR Spanish, Italian, Dutch, or Russian for those working on the history of countries in which these are necessary languages. Substitutions may be made according to the student’s research area, but any substitutions must be approved by the Faculty Adviser, the Field Coordinator, and the Vice Chair for Graduate Studies. All petitions for exceptions to the language requirements must be decided upon by a committee composed of the student’s adviser, the Field Coordinator, and the Department Graduate Vice-Chair. There will be no exceptions to this rule. The Field will not accept petitions signed by any dean or the Vice-chair alone. The Field Coordinator will communicate the results of all language petitions to the Field as a whole.
4. The two two-quarter research seminars must be completed before the MA is awarded and should be taken within the first two years of study. The research seminars must be substantial, regularly offered seminars and may not be substituted with History 596 or 597 or some other form of ad hoc arrangement with individual students. Students in the first two years may not sign up for History 596 or 597 to satisfy a course requirement.
Graduate students entering the European Field with an MA in hand may petition a committee consisting of their adviser, the Field Coordinator and the Vice-chair for Graduate Affairs for exemption from one 2Q seminar. They must demonstrate that the MA involved a serious piece of research, culminating in a paper at least equivalent to what they would have written in a 2Q seminar, and on a topic within the area of study for which they were admitted. Exemption from a 2Q seminar does not imply a reduction in the overall number of required courses.
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