M.A. Completion Policy
Comprehensive Examinations Option
Comprehensive examinations are required in three fields, with two to four essays in each field. The deadlines listed below reflect only minimum requirements. Earlier communication and preparation with committee members is strongly encouraged.
1. The exams will consist of essay answers to historiographic, historical, or pedagogic topics based on a reading list of monographs & articles for each field. Reading lists for each field will be of varying length, but will include a range of monographs, articles, and/or primary sources approved by the field examiner(s) as sufficient to provide thorough coverage of the exam topics in that field.
2. It is the studentís responsibility to secure the approval of appropriate faculty members to serve as examiners in their three fields. An appropriate examiner for a field is a faculty member with whom that student has taken at least one 500-level seminar or directed study in that field.
3. Topics and reading lists for each field must be approved by the field examiner(s) no later than week one of the quarter in which the student registers for the comprehensive exam. Failure to meet this deadline may result in faculty dropping student from taking the exams that quarter. Students are strongly encouraged to begin the preparation process earlier.
4. Questions for all fields should be finalized and made available to student no later than Monday of week five of the quarter. Failure to meet this deadline will require students to withdraw from the comprehensive exams. Failure to do so will result in no credit.
5. Student may consult with their examiner(s) up to but no later than the Monday of week eight of the quarter.
6. Student has until 12 noon on the Wednesday of week nine of the quarter to submit answers via email or hard copy (typed) to the history department office. Faculty may require students to submit their answers also to turnitin.com
7. For each field, the exam essays should total between 20 and 30 typed double-spaced pages combined. The precise number and length of specific essays within a field will vary, and will be determined by the field examiner(s) when the questions are finalized no later than week five of the quarter. For example, in one field a student may be required to write two essays each 10 to 15 pages in length, while in a another field that student may be required to write one essay of 10 to 15 pages and two additional essays of 5 to 7 pages each.
8. Comprehensive examinations may be retaken once, unless the student violates the academic honesty policy, in which case they may not be retaken.
9. If a student fails any one of the three field exams, she or he will be retested only in the field(s) failed.
1. A student who plans to take a thesis must meet the departmentís GPA requirement of 3.5 or better in all History courses taken as part of the M.A. program. The student should also attend the Universityís thesis writing workshop which is held once every quarter in the Library.
2. Students who undertake a thesis do so under the supervision of a three-person Thesis Committee, consisting of one Principal Advisor and two Readers. Faculty are not obligated to serve on thesis committees, so as a first step the eligible student must secure the agreement of an appropriate member of the History Departmentís full-time faculty to serve as the thesis Advisor.
3. In conjunction with the Principal Advisor, the student identifies faculty members who might agree to serve on the committee. It is the studentís obligation to then secure the agreement of two of these faculty members to serve as Readers. Under the supervision of the Advisor and Readers, the student prepares a Thesis Proposal approximately 500 words in length, describing the topic, question, historiographic context, and primary sources for the thesis. Once the proposal has been approved by the Advisor, the two Readers, and the department Chair, the student may register for thesis units. It is also upon approval of the Proposal that the Advisor and Readers formally constitute the studentís thesis Committee.
4. The research and writing of the thesis takes place subsequent to the approval of the Proposal and the registering for thesis units. Students must register for 8 thesis units (HIST 599) over at least two quarters. Four of these HIST 599 units will substitute for four units of the 20 unit elective requirement. Until completion of the thesis, students will receive a grade of RP (Report in Progress) for these units. Students are strongly encouraged to complete the thesis within four quarters of Proposal approval. University guidelines require completion of the M.A. degree (from first quarter of coursework to graduation) within seven years from completion of the first course on the Study Plan.
5. The thesis is to be completed under the supervision of the Advisor, but students are strongly encouraged to consult with the two Readers throughout this process.
6. When the Advisor determines that the studentís thesis is complete, the Advisor will assist the student in scheduling an Oral Defense for the thesis.
7. Oral Defense Format: The oral defense will be 75 minutes in length, during which the student will be examined by all three members of the Committee. The student will be asked questions about the sources and research methodology of the thesis, the nature and significance of the project and its findings, and any other relevant questions related to the thesis which the Advisor and Readers may ask.
8. The thesis is graded Pass/Fail. Students who pass the Oral Defense are considered also to have passed the thesis. Students who fail the Oral Defense will be required to undertake revisions of the thesis and schedule a second defense no earlier than six weeks following the initial defense. Students who fail the second defense are considered to have failed the thesis and will receive a grade of ďFĒ for their thesis units. Students must then complete comprehensive examinations in order to receive their masterís degree.
9. Students who have passed the Oral Defense then follow the procedures for final submission of the thesis set by the College of Natural and Social Sciences. Guidelines for submission are available on the Libraryís website at http://www.calstatela.edu/library/guides/thesbk.htmStudents must also prepare three Thesis Approval Pages, which must be signed by all three members of the Thesis Committee, as well as the History Department Chair. The University Thesis Coordinator oversees final submission of the thesis. Students must be enrolled during the term in which they submit their thesis to the Library.