Preparation for qualifying exams begins when students enter the program; all course work and additional reading provides the groundwork for successful exams. They may supplement regular courses by auditing undergraduate history courses and by taking graduate courses offered in other departments for credit. (Courses from other departments cannot be counted toward the requirement of four reading courses. Students may petition the GSC to make an exception to that rule.) Students should also enhance their knowledge through teaching assistantships at the survey level.
Full-time students admitted to the Ph.D. program must take qualifying exams during the fall of their third year. To be eligible, they must resolve incompletes and complete language exam(s) by September 1.
In their second year, students will form their examining committees. It is their responsibility to consult with their advisers during the third semester of coursework and to ask three professors to direct individual fields and serve as an examining committee. At least two committee members will be History Department faculty. A faculty person from History or another department at the University of Delaware may supervise the third field. The student's adviser will normally serve as coordinator of the exam committee. If the adviser is not part of the examining committee, a coordinator will be chosen by their committee members.
Each student will have a Primary field and two Secondary fields. Lists for the Primary field will comprise approximately 60-80 books or their equivalent in articles, from the student's principal area of research. Working in close collaboration with the faculty member, the student will develop a list that prepares him or her to answer broadly historiographical questions about the field and to write a prospectus for a dissertation that will, ultimately, contribute to that field. Lists for Secondary fields will comprise approximately 30-40 books or their equivalent in articles. One secondary field will cover a topic, theme, or period of history related to but distinct from the primary field. The other secondary field will be geographically comparative to the other two fields and/or will be from another discipline (such as Art History or English). These fields provide broad coverage of a topic, may prepare a student to teach courses, and may also contribute to the student's preparation for the dissertation prospectus.
Students will submit their proposed fields, and identify the faculty members who have agreed to supervise each field, to the Graduate Program Academic Support Coordinator no later than April 15 of their second year (4th semester). The Graduate Studies Committee will meet to review the proposed fields. In particular, the GSC will determine if the fields demonstrate a reasonable breadth of coverage, topically and chronologically. In other words, the GSC will likely not approve three fields that all cover 1918-1939, nor will it approve three fields that are all focused on the American West. Rather, the GSC will encourage breadth whenever possible.
Secondary Field A: American Religion in the 20th Century
Secondary Field B: European Modernisms
Primary Field: American Slavery
Secondary Field A: African American History, 1865-1945
Secondary Field B: Literature of the African Diaspora
Primary Field: 19th Century American Material Culture
Secondary Field A: American Consumer Culture, 1870-1970
Secondary Field B: Art History in the Age of Empire
Primary Field: Comparative Imperialisms
Secondary Field A: Europe, 1919-1939
Secondary Field B: North Africa in the 19th century or The United States, 1919-1939
Primary Field: American Capitalism, 1812-1973
Once students have prepared lists, members of the examination committee will help them prepare in each field. The examining committee as a whole shall ensure that thestudent's three fields are sufficiently broad, diverse, and distinct. The entire examining committee will also approve all questions for the written exam.