Step 1. Submit Application to the Graduate School

Graduate School sends application to graduate coordinator.  If accepted, Graduate School is notified, and student is informed of their status.

When accepted, student may begin taking classes. If they have not taken Historiography, HIST 698, as an undergraduate, they should be planning to take it in addition to the required hours. During this time, student should make their decision on which track they want to pursue among three following choices.

Step 2: Select Track To Pursue

Track 1: Thesis Track

Exam in one field and thesis.  A foreign language reading exam is required which may be taken at any point prior to the graduate comprehensive exam. This needs to be scheduled with appropriate Department of Modern and Classical Language and Literature faculty. 

Track 2: Local and Community History Track

Specialty coursework, an exam (two questions in one field and one question in Local History), and a thesis. There is no foreign language requirement.

Track 3: Non-Thesis Track

Comprehensive exams covering two fields (American, European, Local). There is no foreign language requirement.

Students should be thinking about their graduate committee.  A committee consists of a chair and a minimum of two more members of the Department of History. For Thesis and Local and Community History Track options, one member must be from outside the department but also faculty at the university and will represent the Graduate School at the defense. The list of graduate faculty can be found on the Graduate School’s webpage.

Step 3: File a Plan of Study

After completing 12 hours, the student schedules an appointment with the graduate coordinator to file a plan of study.

Step 4: Schedule Exam Time

During the last semester of coursework or first semester after, depending on level of preparation, student contacts chair of committee to schedule comprehensive exam time. All exams will take place either in the two weeks after fall or spring break.  If Non-Thesis Track, student files Application for Degree with Graduate School during that same semester. Every graduate student submits the Application for Degree and Exit Survey Form to the Graduate School the semester the student plans to graduate. The form is online at the Graduate School web site which also lists the deadline for submission (20th day of class in Spring and Fall, 10th day of class in summer).

For Thesis: Students must sign up for at least one hour of Thesis Research, HIST 802.

NOTE: All students MUST be enrolled in at least one credit hour the semester they plan on graduating.      

Step 5: Take Comprehensive Exams

Comprehensive exams are held the two weeks following spring or fall break.


Graduate coordinator submits confirmation of passing to Graduate School.  If student is on Thesis or Local and Community History Tracks, continue to next page.


Student must wait until the following semester to reschedule exams and repeat the application process.  Students have three chances to pass the exams.

For Thesis or Local and Community History Students

When ready to defend thesis and graduate, submit the Application for Degree and Exit Survey Form to the Graduate School (found on the Graduate School web page in “Forms and Publications”).  The Graduate School web site lists the submission deadlines.  

NOTE: A thesis student is required to be enrolled in at least one hour of HIST 802. If submission of your thesis is delayed, a new AFD/fee and another hour of thesis is required to be able to receive your degree.

When adviser and student agree the student is ready to defend, they arrange time with committee members for a defense.  The faculty advisor will submit a “Request to Schedule Oral Defense Form,” informing the graduate coordinator of this date. This form is due in the Graduate School two weeks before the selected defense date. When processed and approved, the Graduate School will return the Recommendation for Degree form to the committee chair.

Have copies of thesis printed and distributed to committee members at least two weeks before the defense.

Conduct the Defense

  • Student gives short presentation on research
  • Committee asks questions of student
  • Student leaves the room and committee discusses the thesis and defense  
  • When student returns, they are informed whether they passed.  Outside member submits form (to be mailed to them by the Graduate School) about the conduct of the defense

NOTE:  In most cases, there will be revisions. It will be up to the committee to decide whether the revisions are substantial enough to merit a second look on the part of the whole committee or can be delegated to the chair.

Have All Incompletes Addressed 

NOTE: HIST 802 is an Incomplete each semester until the semester of graduation, in which case the instructor of record then changes the Incompletes to Satisfactory. 

Receive Instructions Email

After she receives signature forms from committee chair, Denecia Angleton at the Graduate School emails student instructions on how to submit to Blackboard, complete the access agreement form and pay the $50 ETD fee.

Obtain Final RFD Form Signatures

Student gets final signatures on the RFD form.  Denecia is not permitted to perform the format check until she has received the signed RFD form, then Denecia and the student exchange emails on any needed changes.

Submit Thesis PDF

Once the formatting has been approved, student submits a PDF of their thesis via Blackboard to Denecia in the Graduate School. This final step must be completed by the “DEGREE COMPLETION DEADLINE”, listed on the Graduate School deadline page.