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Prelims (See also: History Gray Book)

The preliminary exams (“prelims”) are designed to ensure that students have acquired the necessary background for teaching and scholarship in history and women’s studies. Field requirements for the preliminary examinations therefore encourage a combination of breadth and depth. The preliminary exam has both written and oral components. Like other History students, joint students complete a written exam in their major field. The oral exam covers this field and two other fields described below and includes the defense of the WGS 891 paper.

  • A major field which is geographical/temporal/topical
  • Gender/Women’s/Sexuality History
  • A comparative field distinctly different from the major field geographically, temporally or disciplinarily
  • Note: If the Gender/Women’s /Sexuality field is comparative, then the third field does not have to be, but it cannot overlap with or simply be a subset of either of either the major or the GWS field

Note: Women’s and Gender Studies students “course off” the cognate field with WGS 530 and 601.

---Adapted from History’s Gray Book:

Schedule your preliminary examination using the following guidelines:

Preliminary Exam Information Form
The Preliminary Exam Information form is used to identify members of your prelims committee, define the subject matter of each field, and record an anticipated prelim date. It is also used to ensure that there are no problems with committee composition or with the fulfillment of other requirements. Students and their advisors are urged to consult as early as possible with the History DGS and WGS/History liaison about any uncertainties regarding fields, committee composition, or examination dates. Each faculty examiner must initial the form, signifying his or her commitment to serve on the prelim committee. The prelims chair and the History DGS must sign this form indicating their approval. This form is distributed to all third-year students at the beginning of the fall term.

Students who plan to take prelims during the fall term of their third year should turn this form in to the History graduate office at the beginning of fall term. Students who plan to take their prelims during the winter term of their third year (as do most joint WGS/History students) should turn this form in by the end of the fall term of their third year. Once this form has been approved, any changes in fields or examiners require that a new form, signed by the prelims chair, be submitted to the History graduate office for final approval by the DGS.

Preliminary Exam Check In and Scheduling Request Form
A Prelim Exam “Check In” meeting with your prelim committee must be held at least six weeks prior to your proposed exam date to determine whether you will be ready to take the exam on the scheduled date.

Once you and your committee have agreed upon a date and time for the prelim exam, file the Preliminary Exam Check In and Scheduling Request Form with the History graduate office no later than six weeks before the exam date to obtain final approval from the History DGS. At this time, all members of the prelim committee must certify in writing the student’s readiness to take the exam on the proposed date. The chair of the committee notifies the History DGS if the full committee agrees that the exam can go forward on the scheduled date. In the event that the student is found not to be ready, an alternative date (within the deadline guidelines) must be set and the History DGS notified.

The check-in meeting may be conducted in whatever way the student and committee members mutually agree on. Once students have secured their committee members’ signatures, staff will reserve a room and send a confirmation notice to the committee members. If students experience difficulties scheduling the exam, please contact the History graduate office for assistance.