Student Resources

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Student Handbook

This handbook provides an overview of the Ph.D. Program in History and details program requirements and regulations. For more general information and regulations pertaining to all students at the Graduate Center, see the Graduate Center Student Handbook. If you have questions about matters not fully covered in these handbooks, feel free to ask the Executive Officer, the Deputy Executive Officer, or the Academic Program Officer (APO).

Professor Jonathan Sassi, Acting Executive Officer 
Room 5114.02

Marilyn Weber, Academic Program Officer
Room 5114.06  

The Ph.D. Program in History is designed to train historians in the most rigorous canons of scholarly research. From the first semester of coursework through the final awarding of the doctorate, students enrolled in the program will focus their energies on research and writing. In addition, students will take reading courses in their major and minor fields designed to prepare them for teaching careers and to establish the necessary background for their research. Students should be able to complete most of the coursework in two years. They will then prepare for advancement to candidacy, the technical term for work on their dissertations, by taking a comprehensive oral examination in their major and minor fields, followed by the submission of a dissertation proposal. Students admitted to the program should expect to spend between five and eight years working toward their Ph.D. degrees.

Up to thirty transfer credits may be awarded for graduate history courses taken at accredited universities. Transfer is not automatic, but is arranged in consultation with the Executive Officer. Students should email the Executive Officer at the beginning of their third semester. In the email students should make a case for which courses they’d like to transfer, and should specify the total number of  transfer credits requested. Please note: Only credits from courses with grades of B or better can be transferred. Only history courses are transferred, though the Executive Officer has the authority to award credits for courses substantially concerned with history. No transfer credits will be given for graduate-level course work taken while a student was enrolled in an undergraduate degree program. No transfer credit shall be awarded for independent study courses or thesis work. Transfer credits shall not be granted if ten or more years have elapsed from the time the course was taken.

Some students receive financial assistance on entering the program in the form of multi-year named fellowships, multi-year teaching fellowships, research assistantships, or one-year renewal tuition stipends and fellowships. Students who enter the program without financial assistance may apply for assistance for subsequent years, and most students who do well ultimately receive at least some financial support. (Also, as students complete their course work, their tuition declines.) The Graduate Center houses several centers that provide in-house employment for students who need to work while pursuing the Ph.D.

Students in the Ph.D. Program in History are eligible for several different types of awards:

Federal and state aid, including work-study, loan programs, and New York State Tuition Assistance, is administered by the Financial Aid Office. In all cases, federal and state aid is based solely on financial need. Applications are made through the Financial Aid Office annually.

Institutional aid, including graduate teaching fellowships, graduate assistantships, Provost Enhancement  Fellowships, university fellowships, and named fellowships, is awarded to students based primarily on merit, though need is taken into consideration. Entering students are automatically considered for these awards. Current students apply through the History Program in the spring of each academic year by filling out an application.

For more information, please visit the Financial Aid website.

CUNY part-time adjunct teaching positions are available for advanced students. Only students who have completed their first year of coursework are eligible for such assignments. Students should inquire about the availability of courses at individual CUNY campuses. 

There are a variety of outside awards and assistantships available to Graduate Center Ph.D. students in history. Students have, in the recent past, worked as research assistants for the Humanities Center, the Gotham Center, the Center for Media and Learning/American Social History Project, the Center for the Study of Philanthropy, the LaGuardia/Wagner Archives, the Social Science Research Council, the New-York Historical Society, the Rockefeller Foundation, and New York City-based research institutes, media firms, independent scholars and writers. 

Each student must have an advisor through every stage of the Ph.D. Program. The Executive Officer or Deputy Executive Officer may serve as advisors for entering students or until such time as students are able to select advisors in their major fields. Students should have selected their own advisers, with the Executive Officer's assistance and approval, by midway through their third semester--at the latest.

Advisers assist students in choosing courses, selecting a minor field of study, and preparing for their written and oral examinations. Students must also consult with their advisers on the language requirements in their fields. When a student is ready to choose a dissertation sponsor and mentor, that mentor usually is the student's primary adviser.

Major and Minor Fields
Major Field: Students are required to prepare one major and one minor field. The following are the major fields:
Early Modern Europe (1300-1750 A.D.)
Modern Europe (1750 to the present)
United States (Colonial times to the present)
Latin America
Middle Eastern History.

Major Field: Students are required to prepare one major and one minor field. Major fields may be based in a single regional, diachronic history, such as the U.S., Europe, Latin America, or the Middle East, or for those students with clearly defined transnational interests (e.g., the Atlantic World or global migration), may be defined chronologically and span different regions.  For most of these major fields, entering students will enroll in a two-semester reading course, the Historiography Survey (see below).

Minor Field: The minor may complement the major but may not be a subdivision of it. Students are not required to do research in their minor fields, nor are they required to take the comprehensive written exam in the minor field. They will, however, be examined in their minor field on their second (oral) exam. Courses will be credited toward the minor only if a student receives a grade of B+ or higher.

Students may fulfill their minor requirement in three different ways:

1) Students may minor in any of the fields designated as major fields. If the major field offers a two- semester Historiography Survey, a student can fulfill the minor requirement by successfully completing that sequence. So, for example, a student majoring in United States history may complete a minor in Latin American history by taking the two-semester Latin America Historiography Survey.

2) In addition to the fields designated as major fields, the History Program offers a number of designated minor fields. These include Public History, Intellectual History, the History of Medicine and Public Health. Lesbian and Gay History, Urban History, and World History. Students choosing one of these minor fields or a major field that does not have a Historiography Survey can fulfill the minor by taking three three-credit reading courses, at least two of which must be taken in the Graduate Center History Program.

3) All ad hoc minors require the approval of the EO.  For all ad hoc minors the student must submit a list of courses (or alternatively plans for an independent study or independent reading list with examination) to the EO, and if the minor is new, the student must submit a justification. The EO can approve the minor or refer it to the curriculum committee.

The State of New York allows Ph.D. students eight years to complete their degrees, seven years for those entering with a Master's degree. Because the dissertation is the most important thing students will do to earn their degree, and the main thing most prospective employers will be interested in, the curriculum is designed to get them through their coursework and exams as quickly as possible so that they can devote the bulk of their years here working on the dissertation. This explains why the first-year of their matriculation is the most structured of all, devoted mostly to required courses. By the end of the first year, all students will have written a substantial research paper, roughly equivalent to a Master¹s thesis, and will have taken the first (written) exams.

The First Year Seminar and Paper
Every entering student will enroll in a two-semester first year seminar (or its independent study equivalent) that will culminate in the production of a substantial, research-based, first-year paper. Generally the program offers one first-year seminar in U.S. history and one in European and non-U.S. history. The first semester of the first-year seminar is devoted to discussions of methodology and preparation of a paper topic. The professors running the seminars will provide students with two critical services: First, they will set a series of deadlines for the formulation of a research topic, the preparation of a bibliography of secondary works, the writing of a historiographical essay, and finally, by the end of the first semester, a well-developed research proposal with a bibliography of primary sources. Students will be graded on these proposals. Second, the professors will direct students to the faculty members who can provide students with the substantive advice they need to pursue their topics. In the Spring semester, seminar students will research and write their papers, while continuing to meet as a course. Students will meet a second series of deadlines for the production of a preliminary introduction, early drafts, complete drafts, and final papers, and will read and critique each other's work as it develops.

The Historiography Surveys
All students are required to take two historiography surveys, which take the form of either five-credit courses or five-credit independent studies.  Students focusing on a single regional history (U.S., Europe, Latin America, the Middle East) take two surveys defined by the chronological halves of the field.  Students with clearly defined transnational interests (e.g., the Atlantic World) may combine two historiography surveys from different regions, choosing their surveys in conjunction the EO, DEO, and relevant faculty.  Students may also wish to combine a thematic historiography survey with a complementary regional historiography course. 

Students fulfill the requirement for the First Examination by passing exams in each of the two required historiography surveys. The take-home exams, in which students are required to answer two of four essay questions, are given during the semester’s examination week and test broad, general historical and historiographical knowledge for the period covered in the course. The exams are sent via email and students have eight hours in which to compose and send a reply. No collaboration is permitted, but students may consult and cite appropriate sources. The exams must be taken at the end of each of the semesters of the two-part Historiography Survey.

Ideally the two surveys will be taken in the fall and spring of the first year, though in some cases the requirement may extend to the second year, should a student’s course of study include fields for which surveys are not offered every term.  Students are free, and in some cases encouraged, to take additional historiography surveys as electives, in which cases they do not take the culminating exam.  Students may not take their two required surveys in the same semester.

First-year students normally register for three classes per semester. In addition to the required Literature Survey and first-year Research Seminar, students will register for one of the three-credit elective courses offered in the History PhD program.

Things loosen up after the first year. Students have completed the required first year courses, passed their first exams, and produced a substantial piece of research.  Schedules become more flexible. Students may register for more electives or for full-credit courses in other departments (pass/fail courses are not permitted).

In the second year, students will normally complete their second research paper and begin working on the minor field, most often by enrolling in the relevant Historiography Survey of the proposed minor field. In their third year, students should enroll in a research seminar with the goal of producing a paper that will, ideally, represent a first, research-based version of the eventual dissertation proposal.

Ideally, students will choose courses that will allow them to make connections with professors who can serve on their orals committees.

Students fulfill the requirement for the First Examination by passing Final Examinations in each of the two required historiography survey courses in their Major field.  These at-home eight-hour exams, in which students are required to answer two of four essay questions, are given on a particular day during the semester’s examination week and test broad, general historical and historiographical knowledge for the period covered in the course.  The exams must be taken at the end of each of the semesters of the two-part historiography survey (in December and May).  If there is no survey course being offered the student should arrange to take these courses through independent study and then complete the final exams as described above. The exam is sent by the APO on the morning of the exam;  students submit their reply to the APO, who then anonymizes the exams before sending to the grading committee. 

N.B.: A failure to complete the exam is counted as an automatic failure.

First Examinations are written by the professor who is teaching the historiography survey, with input from their grading committees, which consist of three faculty members (the professor currently teaching the survey and two prior survey instructors or others, as selected by the Executive Officer). 

Grading the examinations is a collective responsibility of the examiners. Exams are rated as "Pass", or "Fail". The examiners follow the rubric here. 

Students are informed of their First Examination grades by the Assistant Program Officer. They are not informed as to how individual faculty members graded their examinations. 

Students receiving a "fail" rating the first time they take one of the exams must retake the exam by the middle of the following term. They may register for the second section of the survey, but they must retake and pass the first section before taking the second final.  Students who fail the exam are given written comments by the committee members. They are encouraged to meet with the exam committee to develop a course of preparation for their reexamination. Students must pass the exam the second time they take it or they are asked to leave the program. 

The Ph.D. Program in History requires 60 hours of approved graduate coursework, including transfer credits. A full load is three courses per semester. All schedules must be approved by the Executive Officer, the Deputy Executive Officer, or the student¹s advisor. Most required courses have five credits; elective courses have three credits. There are two types of required courses, research seminars and historiography surveys. Electives are strictly reading courses.

Historiography Surveys: Most majors and minors require completion of two five-credit Historiography Surveys. These are comprehensive reading courses developed cooperatively by the faculty and designed to introduce students to the major issues in the field. First-year students will immediately enroll in the major survey.   If there is no survey course being offered the student should arrange to take these courses through independent study and then complete the final exams as described above.

Research Seminars are courses in which students produce a substantial project based on primary sources, and also demonstrate familiarity with the historiography of the field.  Every student must produce three research projects as part of their required coursework.  The project in the first year, which is completed in the course of the first-year seminar, must take the form of an academic paper.  Up to one of the other two required projects may be delivered in a different mode, such as a web-based resource, film, podcast, or exhibit, provided the student has had demonstrable advanced training in the mode in question (such as a degree, certificate, or coursework), and provided the idea meets with the approval of two relevant faculty and the EO; otherwise, academic papers are required.  Two of the three research projects must be on different subjects.  A master’s thesis in History completed at a prior institution may be transferred as one of the research projects with the approval of the EO. 

Beyond the first year, students complete research projects in one semester, either by enrolling in the 5-crecit Advanced Research Seminar, which is offered every spring, or by arranging an independent study with a professor, whether as a 5-credit stand-alone study or as a 2-credit study that supplements a 3-credit course offered by the same faculty member, in which the student would also be enrolled. The final research project should be a preliminary investigation into the student's dissertation. Ideally, the final research project will result in an extended dissertation proposal that is already based on some primary research.

Colloquia are elective three-credit reading courses. The traditional weekly reading assignment for a colloquium is a monograph or the equivalent in articles and/or primary source materials. Faculty may also assign writing assignments on a regular basis, but these are not research courses and will not be counted as such for purposes of fulfilling the research requirements of the program. Normally students will enroll in at least one colloquium per semester.

Independent Study: In cases where the reading and research courses needed to complete the major or minor are unavailable, students may register for an Independent Study with individual faculty members, with the permission of the Executive Officer.  Currently, the Graduate Center has imposed a cap on the number of courses, including independent studies, which all Programs can offer. Therefore, the Ph.D. Program in History can offer only a very limited number of independent study courses per semester. If a student wishes to do an independent study, he or she must first confer with a faculty member who will direct the independent study.  Students should be aware that while faculty members receive little or no compensation in their teaching schedules for an independent study, they may find reward in directing investigation into a mutually intriguing topic. Thus, students should take the initiative to define a specific project, one that relates to a professor's expertise and interest, before they ask for faculty sponsorship. Independent studies generally involve substantial reading, regular meetings, and significant written work. The student must then prepare a description of the course and give a rationale for why this course can be done only in the format of an independent study. The faculty member who will direct the independent study must agree with the description and the rationale. Independent studies may be taken as either research seminars or colloquia. The student and faculty member should then forward this information to the Executive Officer for approval before the registration period begins.

Incompletes: It is imperative that in all but the most extraordinary circumstances students complete their work by the end of the semester. Incompletes are only awarded to students who are doing passing work, but have not completed all course requirements. Students who receive an Incomplete (INC) grade must fulfill their academic obligation within one calendar year of the end of the semester in which the grade of Incomplete is given.  Incomplete grades unresolved within the one year time-period will become FIN (F from Incomplete) grades in student records.  The FIN grade is calculated into the grade point average as a failing grade and may not be changed thereafter. Students with more than two incompletes will not be able to register for the following semester. 

History Ph.D. students at The Graduate Center may, with the approval of the Executive Officer, register at no additional cost for doctoral courses at Columbia University (Graduate School of Arts and Sciences), New York University, Fordham University, the New School for Social Research, Rutgers, Princeton, and SUNY-Stony Brook. Only students who have completed at least two semesters and are between their 2nd and 6th year of enrollment are eligible to take courses in the consortium. They may not register for courses that are normally offered at The Graduate Center. All registrations must be approved by the host institution. There is a two-course limit per semester.
Once you have decided to take a course offered by a partner institution, you must fill out the Permit Out form. Your Executive Officer must sign the form. Bring or email ( the completed and signed form to the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs (Room 7301). If the form is approved you will then be given the Inter-University Doctoral Consortium Registration Form. At that point you must fill out all of the information on that form and obtain all required signatures from both the Graduate Center and the host school. You must then submit the completed and signed form to the Office of the Registrar (Room 7201) no later than the end of the drop and add period (the end of the third week of classes).
If you choose to drop the course at any time before the end of the drop and add period, you must submit a Drop form, signed by your Executive Officer, to the Office of the Registrar (Room 7201). You must also inform the host college that you have dropped the course.

No or under full-time coursework: All students are required to be in status each semester. This means that all students must either be registered or be on an approved leave of absence. Individuals who are not in status will be considered withdrawn from the Graduate Center. 

Students who are Level 2 (defined as First Exam plus 45 credits completed) but are no longer taking classes, should Register on Record (ROR) and register for 7 Billable WIUs (Weighted Instructional Units). If you are taking under 7 credits, please register for the  class(es) plus 7 WIUs.


Students who are Level 3 (defined as  First and Second (Oral) Exams, language requirements,  plus 60 credits completed - also known as Advanced to Candidacy), sign up for HIST 90000 "Dissertation Supervision" using the CRN assigned to your advisor.

Interdisciplinary Certificate Programs are open to students enrolled in one of the existing doctoral programs offered at the Graduate Center.  In addition to fulfilling the requirements of their doctoral program, students can choose to complete a Certificate Program (or not). Students who fulfill the requirements of a certificate program have this noted on their transcripts when they graduate. Please click below to read the requirements for each certificate:

·  Africana Studies
·  American Studies
·  Critical Theory
·  Demography
·  Film Studies
·  Interactive Technology and Pedagogy
·  Medieval Studies
·  Global Early Modern Studies
·  Women's Studies

Students must demonstrate a reading knowledge of at least one language other than English or, in very exceptional cases where no language apart from English is required by the student’s interests, a research skill to be approved by the EO in consultation with relevant faculty members. Any additional language requirements beyond the first language requirement are determined by the student’s faculty advisor and depend on the field in which the student is majoring. Students must meet the language or research requirements by the time they have completed their coursework.
Students demonstrate competence in one of the following four ways:
1) Students may take an exam in which they are given two hours  to translate a brief passage written by a contemporary historian. Translations must be written in idiomatic, intelligible English, convey the major points made by the authors, and do so without major grammatical errors. Students are permitted to use one dictionary during the examination. At least one month in advance, students should contact the APO about setting up a time to take an exam, either in person or via remote platform  The exam is graded pass/fail.

To prepare for the exam, students may study on their own, take a class at the CUNY Language Reading Program or take an undergraduate language class at a CUNY college via e-permit. (Please note, however, that most CUNY college language courses emphasize conversational skills, but the PhD proficiency exam is purely written translation).If you are interested in a class, please email the Executive Officer and the APO for more information. 

2) Students may transfer in a language from a Master's degree program. Please note that the language must appear on the transcript.

3) Students may take a class at the CUNY Language Reading Program and receive a grade of B+ or better on a Level II examinations. Please note: It is the final exam grade, not the course grade, which counts. There is a separate tuition charged for all LRP programs.

4) Students may ask for their native language to be accepted. Please write to the APO for more details.

In exceptional cases, students may petition their advisor and the Executive Officer to substitute a single language exam by certification of proficiency of another research skill, such as statistics or a programming language, for which an academic justification in light of the student’s research plans must be provided in writing. Students must submit an academic justification for the skill to the EO and to two relevant faculty members.  The justification should include a description of the student’s training in the skill, how they have used it in the past, and how the skill will remain relevant to their ongoing work.  If approved, the student then submits a piece or pieces of work for which the research skill was necessary and meets with the two faculty members and EO to answer questions or to demonstrate the skill in real time.  The faculty confer separately to determine whether the assessment is pass or fail.

Students must take their Second (Oral) Examination within one semester after completing their coursework. By then the student must have completed all other requirements, as well, including the First (written) Exam, the language requirement, the courses for the Minor, and the three research papers/projects. 

The purpose of the Second Exam is to gauge the student’s ability to discuss significant events, ideas, methodologies, and historiography in their area of interest and to function as a scholar within a community of professional historians.  To that end, the exam takes the form of a two-hour conversation among the student and four faculty examiners— two in the Major field, one in the Dissertation field, and one in the Minor field.  Faculty members will be selected by the student and their adviser and approved by the Executive Officer, a process that students should begin once they’ve reached 45 credits, if not earlier.  All four members must be active (non-retired) members of the doctoral faculty in History.

Students are expected to master 160 books, or forty books for each examiner.  Scholarly articles may be substituted for books; the Program’s recommendation is that four articles be viewed as the equivalent of one monograph, though the decision is ultimately at the discretion of the faculty examiner.  Students must contact the members of their Second Examination Committee at least six months in advance of their examinations to confer on and draft a reading list and to discuss the themes on which they may be examined. The normal procedure is for the student to draw up the initial lists and to revise them in consultation with their examiners.  The student will have at least one meeting with each examiner between the finalization of the reading lists and the exam itself in which the format of the exam, examiner expectations, and the types of questions asked will be discussed.

The student must contact their committee to decide on a mutually agreeable date and time for the oral exam. The following must then be communicated to the APO at least four weeks in advance so that a room can be reserved:

1) each committee member's name, home college, email address and field they are examining
2) the date and time of the exam
3) whether all will be physically present or will participate via remote platform.  If the latter, the exam should be hosted online by one of the faculty examiners, not the student.

The Second Examination may be up to two hours in duration.  Each examiner will be allocated at least 20 minutes and up to 30 minutes for leading questioning and discussion.  Second Examinations are graded as “Pass”, “Pass with Distinction”, or “Fail”. In the event that the exam is held remotely, all committee members must write to the APO with exam results individually; the collective result will be communicated to the registrar.
Students have two chances to pass their Second Examinations. Students who fail all sections (Major and Minor) are required to retake the entire examination in the following semester. Those who fail only the Major sections are re-examined the following semester by the three members of their original committee from the Major field. Those who fail the Minor section are re-examined by the committee member in the Minor field and an additional professor in the same field, chosen by the Executive Officer in consultation with the student’s advisor. Students who fail either part of the Examination twice are dropped from the program. 

As soon as possible, no longer than one semester after passing the oral examination, students must submit a dissertation proposal to a proposal committee. The student will select, with the approval of the dissertation advisor, two faculty members to serve as the second and third member of the committee.  All three members must be active (non-retired) members of the doctoral faculty in History. Under their supervision the student should prepare a dissertation proposal of approximately 10-20 pages of text, plus appendices and bibliography. The proposal must include the following:

1. A statement of the problem.
2. An examination of the present state of scholarship on this problem.
3. A strategy for dealing with the problem.
4. The possible significance of the findings.
5. A critical bibliography with special attention to new or seldom used materials.

The student contacts their committee to decide on a mutually agreeable date and time for the dissertation proposal defense. All members of the Committee should receive copies of the proposal at least two weeks in advance of the proposal defense. 

The following must then be communicated to the APO at least four weeks in advance so that a room can be reserved:
1) each committee member's name, home college, and email address
2) the date and time of the exam
3) whether all will be physically present or will participate via remote platform.  If the latter, the defense should be hosted online by one of the faculty examiners, not the student.

Dissertation Proposals are graded as “Pass”, “Pass with Distinction”, or “Fail”. In the event that the defense is held remotely, all committee members must write to the APO with exam results individually; the collective result will be communicated to the registrar.

Students have two chances to pass to pass. After the meeting the committee may ask the student to revise and re-submit the proposal for a second meeting or it may authorize the sponsor to approve the requisite changes. The second meeting must be scheduled within two months or no later than the first week of following semester. If the committee does not approve the revised proposal at its second meeting, the student will be dropped from the program. He or she may appeal to the entire Executive Committee. If the Executive Committee rejects the appeal the student will be dropped from the program.

Dissertation Progress:
At the proposal defense, the committee will decide if it wants to have the student report on progress in one year or two years. The report on progress shall take the form of a substantial piece of writing. The committee does not have to meet but can reach a conclusion by e-mail on whether or not the student’s progress is sufficient; all members of the committee shall supply written comments to the student. If the members of the original proposal defense committee are not available to review the progress report other committee members may be substituted.

A student who has attended the GC for more than 16 semesters will receive a Satisfactory Progress Review Report from the registrar, and will be required to attend the Dissertation Workshop course offered every Spring.   

History students may choose to apply for the en-route M.A. degree. This degree is frequently required by colleges seeking adjunct instructors. To qualify, the student must have completed 30 credits in the History Program.  No transfer credits are allowed.  The completed credits must include successful completion of the two-semester literature survey in their major field of study (grade B- or higher).  In those major fields that do not offer a literature survey, students must complete at least 10 credits of equivalent work, to be determined by the Executive Officer.  Students also must successfully complete the first-year research seminar, in which they have submitted a major research paper that demonstrates the capacity for historical research and analysis, equivalent to a Master’s thesis. Interested students should consult with the Executive Officer before asking the Assistant Program Officer for the required paperwork. 

Any GC doctoral student who is making normal progress toward the Ph.D. degree will automatically receive an M.Phil degree upon advancement to candidacy. This occurs when all degree requirements except the dissertation and Final Examination have been met. The M.Phil degree is awarded by registrar's office of the Graduate Center.

The final examination in the Ph.D. Program is an oral defense of the dissertation. The dissertation defense committee may be composed of three, four or five members. Three must be active (non-retired) members of the PhD Program in History; the others may come from other programs or from outside The Graduate Center. Students may, with permission of advisor, invite visitors,  faculty and/or students, to their defense.
Before a dissertation defense can be scheduled, two members of the committee must approve the dissertation as being ready to be defended. At least six weeks in advance of when the student hopes to take the examination, the student is responsible for contacting the committee to decide on a mutually agreeable date and time for the defense. At this time, the student is also responsible for getting a copy of the completed dissertation to each committee member. The following must then be communicated to the APO at least four weeks in advance so that a room can be reserved:
1) each committee member's name, home college, and email address
2) the date and time of the exam
3) whether all will be physically present or via Zoom
Immediately following the defense, the committee members must write to the APO with exam results individually; the collective result will be communicated to the provost's office.  
All decisions by the dissertation defense committee are determined by majority vote. The committee has four options:
1) Approved as presented.  
2) Approved with minor revisions. The Chair and EO must sign the Approval of Revised Dissertation form (provided by the APO) before the deposit.
3) Approved with major revisions. The Chair and two other members of the committee must approve the resubmitted dissertation. The committee and EO must submit the Approval of Revised Dissertation form (provided by the APO) before the deposit.
4) Failed. The student can be reexamined at the discretion of the Executive Committee, with the approval of the Provost.
The next step is the depositing process. Please carefully read the instructions here

Tuition fees are based on academic levels, with the fees decreasing as a student moves from one level to another.

LEVEL I - Students who have completed fewer than 45 credits and/or have not passed their First Examination
LEVEL II - From the semester following the completion of 45 credits and passing of the First Examination to advancement to candidacy
LEVEL III - From the semester following advancement to candidacy;  upon the completion of the following: at least 60 completed credits (INC grades do not count), all specific course requirements for the area of specialization, the requirements for the minor field, all required language examinations, and the First and Second Examinations.

Leave of Absence
A Leave of Absence will be granted to a student deemed to be in good standing wishing to interrupt doctoral study for up to one year. The request should be made via this form which should be submitted to the EO and APO before the beginning of the semester  Requests for an extension for no more than one additional year must follow the same procedure. A student cannot be granted a total of more than two years (four semesters) of leave during his/her entire period of matriculation. Official leave of absence time is not counted toward the time limit for completion of degree requirements. During the period of the leave, no changes in academic status, including such matters as the scheduling and taking of qualifying exams, application for en-route degrees, and advancement to candidacy, may be processed.  Any international student with F-1 (student) or J-1 (exchange visitor) status should consult the Office of International Students before applying for a leave. A $20 readmission fee will be assessed upon the student’s return.

In addition, the GC has various Doctoral Student Parental Accommodation Policies. Please read the current GC Student Handbook for more information.

Written notice of voluntary withdrawal from the program must be approved by the Executive Officer and forwarded to the Registrar. All applications for readmission are handled by the Registrar. Written approval of the Executive Officer is required.

Student Groups

Current PhD Program in History student groups:

Our largest group is the Peer Mentor Program. A handful of students saw the opportunity for increased constructive communication between students and sought to create an environment where information could be shared and guidance could be provided in a supportive, open, candid manner. Over the course of that first year (2014-15), students took initiative to build a series of workshops dedicated to the First Year Experience, prepping for exams, and teaching undergraduates. In the years since, the program has grown to include workshops focusing on writing, publishing, conferences, and grants. The program as a whole can be contacted at

The City University of New York Early American Republic Seminar (CUNY EARS) is a student-run seminar founded in 2010 to foster conversations on the history of the United States from its founding through the Civil War. Throughout the academic year they host workshops of works-in-progress by graduate students and established scholars from a wide range of disciplines including history, legal studies, literature and American studies.

The Public History Collective is an interdisciplinary group based in the History Program at the City University of New York’s Graduate Center. Their members create and engage with the public through new and innovative scholarship in museums, tours, digital history, archives, education, and public history’s many other forms.

Whether you're a parent, care for a relative, or are thinking about becoming a caregiver, we invite you to join our Caregivers Group centered on balancing caregiving while in graduate school. We discuss the policies and practices of the GC around caregiving, share our own experiences, and get advice from our peers in a welcoming environment. We meet via Zoom monthly, figuring out the best time each month via Doodle Polls. To get added to our email list, please email

The reading group on Gender, Race, and Sexuality is a student-run seminar that meets throughout the semester to discuss interdisciplinary work on the history of gender, race, and sexuality. Their goal is to re-examine classic texts and explore new developments in the field, while also providing an opportunity to both further develop and receive feedback on their own work. You can reach them at

General Student Resources

Information and Downloads

Review the following useful Graduate Center resources:

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