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Doctor of Arts Program Guidelines
Doctor of Arts Research Project Guidelines
The Doctor of Arts Independent Research Project demonstrates the student's mastery of historical theory, method, and practice through a sustained investigation of a problem of professional and/or scholarly importance. The project may take a variety of acceptable forms, but will always require significant historical research and demonstrable pedagogical goals or classroom applications. The finished D.A. project is expected to achieve a level of originality and scholarly attainment commensurate with published work of a similar kind.
In addition, the D.A. Project will demonstrate:
1. A thorough mastery of the relevant historiographic context of the topic or project under investigation.
2. A thorough mastery of the principles and methods of historical research.
3. An advanced ability to integrate and organize historical evidence within a sophisticated analytical frame, usually taking the form of a sustained argument.
4. Thorough competence in the skills of written communication.
5. An advanced ability to integrate historical and/or historiographic research with pedagogical and/or educational goals.
The D.A. Project must include:
1. An introduction in which the author clearly sets forth (a) the historiographic context and significance of the work; (b) the methodology or praxis to be employed; (c) the substantially original historical or historiographic outcome (argument or project goal) of the work; (d) the work's intended pedagogical or educational value.
2. A substantial narrative component and conclusion, usually taking the form of multiple chapters with an aggregate length of 100-200 pages.
3. A full and properly constructed and formatted scholarly apparatus, including, at minimum, both notes and bibliography.
Within these parameters, the History Department will accept a wide variety of potential projects, including research in the fields of public history or digital history, the evaluation and synthesis of historical knowledge for teaching goals, the application of new historical perspectives to education, and creative, comparative, collaborative, and/or transdisciplinary approaches to post-secondary history education.
D.A. Comprehensive Examinations
It is often said that no one will know as much about, or be as historiographically current in their three fields as when they sit these examinations. This may be hyperbole, but there is no question that the preparation involved in the taking of doctoral comprehensive examinations is one of the most important steps in the intellectual development of a scholar. It is seen as a daunting process and for good reason. Indeed, because the successful completion of these examinations is an absolute pre-condition for moving on to the final stages of the Doctor of Arts degree, this is a truly crucial juncture in the life of any doctoral student.
The purpose of DA Comprehensive exams is twofold. First, these exams will be used to ascertain that the candidate has a solid grasp of the core historiography within her or his four major fields. Second, and in keeping with the pedagogical focus of the degree, the exams will also be used to ascertain the candidate's ability to plan and design lower level college history classes. The comprehensive exams shall cover four fields, U.S. History to 1877, U.S. History since 1877, and two of the remaining three fields, Premodern European/Mediterranean History, Modern European History, and World History.
Format and Timetable: At the very outset of the process, typically six months to a year prior to the time when the student intends to sit her/his examinations, there shall be a meeting of the student's entire examining/supervisory committee, convened by the DA student's primary advisor, which will be used to co-ordinate the process. Because of the pedagogical element of the DA program it will be incumbent upon the committee to determine which field examinations shall contain which pedagogical/course design questions. Typically, each field will be supervised by a single faculty member who has worked with the student in the area. Examinations in all fields will be based upon a list of readings mutually agreed upon by the supervising faculty members and the candidate. The DA student's advisor will coordinate this process, ensuring that reading lists are comparable.
The DA student's advisor will also superintend the actual examination process, although the field supervisors will be responsible for setting the examination questions and grading the final product. The exams may be administered at any point after the candidate has completed 30 credit hours post MA, or 60 hours post BA.
Administration: All four field examinations will typically be administered on campus, and each shall constitute a discreet eight hour examination during the course of which candidates will be required to answer no fewer than two, and no more than three, essay-style questions. No external sources shall be used in the course of writing these examinations. The examinations shall be conducted over a two week period - typically two exams each week - and will be graded in a timely fashion by the faculty member supervising that particular field.
In order to progress to candidacy the DA student will need to earn a grade of 3.5 (B+) or better on each examination. If a student fails to meet this standard they will be allowed to retake the failed examination(s) once within six months of the first attempt. Any subsequent failure will result in termination from the program.
There is no oral examination component of these comprehensive examinations.