Types of Graduate Courses
The department offers three kinds of graduate seminars: core, thematic, and professional development. Each is described below.
Core Seminars: These seminars are structured around the specific disciplinary concerns of traditional, typically geographically and temporally defined, fields (Early Modern Europe, Twentieth-century U.S., Modern Latin America, etc.). These courses provide an opportunity for first- and second-year students to explore the foundational historiography of the major fields within the historical profession. These seminars are the building blocks of a student’s program, and they help prepare students for their preliminary exams.
Thematic Seminars: These seminars are structured around thematic and cross-disciplinary concerns (colonialism, environmental histories, the history of medicine, for instance) that have produced some of the most cutting-edge and transformative scholarship of the last two generations. They draw students from across various national, geographic, and temporal fields together to explore, in depth, the key texts and concepts associated with some of the most exciting areas of contemporary historical practice.
Professional Development Seminars: A sequence of these courses begins in the first semester with the colloquium, taken by all incoming students. The colloquium is an introduction to the methods and approaches of historical practice, including theoretical developments that have been influential in the social sciences and humanities. In the third semester, all second-year students take the writing workshop, where they complete the research paper, the development of which began the preceding spring. It is followed in the fourth semester by the professionalization seminar. This course explores pedagogy, teaching and best practices in the classroom, grant-writing, the professional c.v., and academic publishing. This series of courses concludes in the sixth semester with the dissertation prospectus seminar, which provides a shared structure for the process of identifying viable dissertation projects, selecting a dissertation committee, articulating a project in the form of a prospectus, and, where appropriate, developing grant proposals based on the prospectus.
Other Courses: Any student who wishes to do so may, after consultation with his or her advisors, substitute an independent reading course offered by a member of the department (a History 2910 course) or a graduate-level course offered outside of the department for one of the reading seminars. In their first two years, students may take two courses outside the department. Students may also substitute one intensive or upper-level language course for a reading seminar in their first semester. After the first semester, upper-level language courses will be taken in addition to the regular program requirements.