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A. Required coursework

1. Core Seminar (HIS 524, HIS 525: 3 credits each semester)

This course provides an intensive, year-long introduction to historical theory and research. It also familiarizes students with the thematic organization of the graduate program. All full-time students in the doctoral program as well as the Academic Track of the master's program are required to take this course, which is offered only as a fall/spring sequence, during their first year.

2. Two or three Field Seminars (3 credits each)

The department offers a number of Field Seminars designed to familiarize students with the history and historiography of specific regions and periods. These courses include: Medieval and Early Modern Europe (HIS 501) and Modern Europe (502); Early American History (521) and Modern American History (522); Colonial Latin America (541) and Modern Latin America (542), all of which are offered on a one- or two-year cycle. In addition, the following Field Seminars are offered in African and Asian history: Introduction to African and/or Asian History (562), South Asian History (563), Chinese History (564), and Japanese History (565); note that some of these Field Seminars may be offered slightly less frequently.  Some Field Seminars are populated with students in the Master of Arts in Teaching program (MAT), as well as with MA and PhD students. Students may choose to take either two or three Field Seminars, in accordance with their intellectual interests and needs. Students choosing to concentrate in the history of Europe, the United States, or Latin America are encouraged to complete both parts of the Field Seminar sequence in their area of concentration.  If more survey or focused reading is required in a specific area, students have the option of taking a third Field Seminar or a relevant Theme Seminar.  With the approval of the Graduate Director and Advisor, students may also satisfy their Field Seminar requirements by taking an appropriate course in an outside department or institution.

3. Three or four Theme Seminars (3 credits each)

The Theme Seminars are the heart of the department's commitment to the theoretically informed, interdisciplinary study of history. Topics, approaches, and instructors vary, but these seminars generally fall within the rubric of our program's theme clusters: Gender, Race, Sexuality; Nation-State, Civil Society, Popular Politics; Empire, Colonialism, Globalization; and Environment, Health, Science, Technology. On occasion, students may apply to take seminars in outside departments or institutions (that is, other universities in the NY Consortium) that may serve as a Theme Seminar. There is also some flexibility for those students wishing to take either three or four Theme Seminars. On occasion, students may also wish to "convert" a Theme Seminar into a Research Seminar (by completing the readings and writing a research paper, with the prior arrangement of the seminar professor and the student's advisor).

4. Two Research Seminars (3 credits each)

One Research Seminar is offered each semester. It gives students the opportunity to carry out individual research projects using primary sources in areas related to their developing scholarly interests. Research seminars are generally taken during the second and third years. Third-year students often use the Research Seminar to begin preliminary work on their dissertations.

5. Supervised Teaching (HIS 581, 3 credits)

All students who hold teaching assistantships and are not enrolled in Teaching Practicum (HIS 582, see below) are expected to register for this course, if possible; if this is not possible, the student should notify the Graduate Director.

6. Teaching Practicum (HIS 582, 3 credits)

Required of all Teaching Assistants, as well as those expecting to TA for undergraduate courses in the future. It is generally taken during Fall semester of Year 1. This course gives students the opportunity to discuss the pleasures and pitfalls of undergraduate classroom teaching in a large, diverse public university. Stony Brook offers a laboratory for future college teachers to develop and try out "lesson plans," as well as to broach such universal concerns as classroom authority, student participation, student-teacher relations, the problem of plagiarism, sexual harassment, etc. Students may be required to attend teaching workshops offered by the Graduate School in addition. These workshops, as well as the Teaching Practicum, are also open to students who do not hold teaching assistantships.

7. Dissertation Prospectus Workshop (HIS 695, 3 credits)

This course must be taken by all PhD students and should be completed in the Spring semester of Year 3. Students are expected to work closely with their Advisors during the semester as they prepare their dissertation plan. If possible, they should also meet with their whole committee—or, at minimum, solicit feedback from each committee member. The instructor of the workshop, the student's PhD advisor, and the rest of his/her committee must approve the prospectus  prior to the formal end-of-semester Prospectus Presentations. 

B. Elective coursework

8. Directed Readings (HIS 682, 3 credits each)

Students who enter the program without a master's degree may choose to take three credits of Directed Readings in the Fall and/or Spring of the initial year, to enable the student to meet regularly with his or her Advisor and address any deficiencies in preparation for the PhD program. In addition, on the rare occasion that a student's needs are not met by the department's Field and Theme seminars, he/she may wish to arrange a Directed Readings with an individual faculty member so as to undertake a specific set of readings on a topic of mutual interest.

9. Orals Workshop (HIS 684, 3 or 6 credits)

This workshop provides a space for students to work semi-independently in the scholarly literature of their developing fields of specialization. Normally, students enroll in Orals Workshop (for either 3 or 6 credits, depending on their remaining course requirement needs) in the Fall semester of Year 3. To prepare for the Orals, students have to define three areas of specialization (two in their major geo-political field, and one in a comparative field). Ideally, students should develop their Orals book lists and topics on the basis of the most relevant Field and Theme seminars they have taken and in consultation with their Orals committee. Students may use the Orals Workshop to read independently or in small groups, as well as to meet periodically with Orals committee members. All students should make sure they have dress rehearsals before the exam actually takes place. (See below for details on the Oral Examination.)

10. Courses in other departments and institutions

Students are encouraged to take courses in other departments in order to acquire the theoretical tools offered by other disciplines and gain an interdisciplinary perspective on their fields of interest. Many of our students take courses in such departments as Sociology, English, Art History, and Cultural Analysis and Theory, as well as such interdisciplinary programs as Women's and Gender Studies, and Latin American and Caribbean Studies. Such courses should be selected in consultation with the student's Advisor. In addition, Stony Brook belongs to a NY-area Consortium of universities. Students are welcome to take graduate seminars for credit at Columbia, NYU, or other institutions. To take a class through the Consortium, students need to submit a request form to the  Graduate School and obtain prior permission from their Advisor and the Graduate Director. Whether it can be used to fulfill a requirement as a Field, Theme, or Research course is decided on a case-by-case basis by the Graduate Director, in consultation with the student's Advisor. 

Sample Course of Study

Below is a sample course of study that might be followed by a first-year doctoral student without a master's degree who also holds a teaching assistantship. Graduate School regulations stipulate that a new student who enters the program without an  MA degree must take 12 credits per semester during Year 1; a student with an MA degree (or at least 24 credits at the graduate level) may register for only 9 credits per semester.

Fall Semester

Core Seminar I (HIS 524): 3 credits
Teaching Practicum (HIS 582): 3 credits
Field Seminar: 3 credits
Theme Seminar: 3 credits

Spring Semester

Core Seminar II (HIS 525): 3 credits
Supervised Teaching (HIS 581): 3 credits
Theme or Field Seminar: 3 credits
Theme or Field Seminar or Directed Readings: 3 credits