You can defend your M.A. during the third or fourth semester. If you plan to graduate receive your MA during December graduation at the end of your third semester, you will need to take one extra course in order to fulfill the 30 hour requirement.  Please consult with the Graduate Coordinator regarding scheduling your defense. Defending your prospectus should be the last step in going ABD. You should complete all comprehensive exams before defending your prospectus. Please consult graduation deadlines and consult with the Graduate Coordinator regarding scheduling your defense.

MA Committee:

  • Your committee must include three graduate faculty from the Department of History.

PhD Committee:

  • You must have at least five members of your committee, the majority of whom should be present at the defense of your dissertation.
  • Your committee must include three graduate faculty from the Department of History.
  • If you would like to look outside of the department for other committee members, you can have either UNC faculty members from an outside department or faculty members from another university.
    • If you and your advisor want to include a committee member from another university or someone who is not regular graduate faculty at UNC, you will need to submit this person’s CV to the Graduate Coordinator. The Graduate Coordinator will ask the UNC Graduate School to nominate this person for “fixed term status” which allows the member to serve on doctoral committees. You can read more about this process here.

Entering graduate students have been assigned a prospective advisor who can help them navigate the first semesters at UNC.  Sometimes,as students’ interests develop during their early careers here, they change advisers.  For advice on changing advisors, talk with the DGS or the appropriate field convener.

It is crucial that advisers have frequent, substantive meetings with advisees to discuss course selection, fulfillment of graduation requirements, preparation for the written and oral doctoral examinations, thesis topic selection, research opportunities, funding possibilities, and job prospects. At the end of each year, the advisee and adviser should meet to evaluate the student’s work during the past year and to discuss future plans. This meeting provides an opportunity to convey any concerns about a student’s performance and progress that were raised in the annual meeting held by each field in the spring.

During the period after completion of the comprehensive doctoral examinations and dissertation prospectus defense, it is particularly important that advisees consult regularly with advisers (although not necessarily in person) to ensure that students get good guidance while researching and writing their dissertations. The student must reconvene his or her doctoral committee twelve to eighteen months after the dissertation prospectus defense in order to assess progress on the dissertation and to solicit suggestions for the next stages of research and writing. In some cases the adviser and student will agree to waive the interim meeting if both feel it is not necessary (although the interim dissertation meeting form, available on the Graduate Student Intranet, still needs to be filled out).

For questions about fulfilling confusing program requirements, see the Graduate Coordinator in the Department Office or the Director of Graduate Studies.  If your question reflects a policy concern, the DGS will take the issue to the Graduate Studies Committee.  The GSC acts as an executive body to implement the department faculty’s decisions about the graduate program, and supervises the graduate program in general. The GSC is chaired by the DGS, and composed of 3-4 members of the graduate faculty and 3 graduate students (usually the current GHS co-presidents and one past president).

The History Department, like the Graduate School, is committed to creating and maintaining an inclusive environment. If you have encountered problems with any kind of exclusion, please talk with the DGS, your advisor, GHS officers, or an Ombudsperson.

Mental health services are available for all students. Resources include UNC Counseling and Psychological Services, as well as services, events, and trainings from the UNC Graduate School.

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