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History | Comprehensive Exams

This exam is a four-hour test of the student's factual, interpretative, and bibliographical-historiographical knowledge in a standard or individually-designed field. The standard fields, highly recommended for M.A . students, are American History from the colonial period to 1865, United States History since 1865, and Modern European History 1789 to the present.

The M.A. comprehensive examinations are offered three times annually, in April, June, and January. Students who are taking a comprehensive examination are strongly encouraged to consult with the two designated Exam Readers, who are named approximately six weeks before an examination is administered, and their advisor in order to discuss the best ways to prepare for the examination. For this examination students should plan to undertake the study of material that goes beyond their coursework. The topics and readings covered in the Colloquia offerings are especially significant in preparation for this examination. Note: A student who fails a comprehensive exam may petition for permission to take it a second time. A second failure is terminal for his or her candidacy.

Appendix: Comprehensive Examination Fields


Standard Fields
Fields chosen from the following list must conform to graduate program planning procedures but do not require detailed description or approval by the examining faculty. A field composed of two or more fields from the list will be identified by combining appropriate numbers, e.g., 29.056/057, History of the British Isles since 1688. Because a master's level field must meet minimum requirements for chronological coverage (see p. 6), not all standard fields qualify as master's level examinations.

Europe (including the British Isles and Russia)
HIST-010 History of Modern Europe Since 1789
HIST-011 History of Modern Europe Since 1500 (offered only if department resources allow)
HIST-012 History of Modern Europe, 1500-1815 (offered only if department resources allow)
HIST-014 History of Europe, 1815-1914 (Ph.D. only)
HIST-015 History of Europe, Since 1914 (Ph.D. only)
HIST-016 European Diplomatic History (Ph.D. only)
HIST-017 European Intellectual History (Ph.D. only)
HIST-018 European Social History (Ph.D. only)

United States
HIST-020 History of the United States (including Colonial)
HIST-021 History of the United States, 1607-1865
HIST-022 Recent United States History Since 1865
HIST-023 The United States: Colonial Period, Revolution and Constitution (Ph.D. only)
HIST-024 The Middle Period in United States History, 1789-1877 (Ph.D. only)
HIST-025 United States Diplomatic History (Ph.D. only)
HIST-026 United States Intellectual History (Ph.D. only)

Latin America (available only as outside fields at Ph.D. level)
HIST-030 History of Latin America
HIST-031 The Colonial Origins of Latin America and the Achievement of Independence
HIST-032 Latin America Since Independence
HIST-033 Latin American Diplomatic History
HIST-034 Latin American Intellectual History

Russia (normally available only as outside fields at Ph.D. level)
HIST-040 History of Russia, 1462-1964
HIST-041 History of Russia Prior to Peter the Great
HIST-042 History of Imperial Russia
HIST-043 History of Russia in the Twentieth Century
HIST-044 Russian Intellectual History Since 1700
HIST-045 Russian Social History

British Isles (available only at Ph.D. level)
HIST-050 History of the British Isles to 1689
HIST-051 History of the British Isles Since 1689
HIST-052 History of Britain and the Empire to 1783
HIST-053 History of Britain, the Empire, and Commonwealth Since 1783
HIST-054 History of the British Isles to 1485
HIST-055 History of the British Isles, 1485-1688
HIST-056 History of the British Isles, 1688-1815
HIST-057 History of the British Isles Since 1815

Asia (available only at Ph.D. level)
HIST-060 History of Modern Asia Since 1815
HIST-061 History of South Asia Since 1815

Ancient (available only as outside fields at Ph.D. level)
HIST-070 Classical History
HIST-071 Greek History
HIST-072 Roman History

Individually Defined Fields
Individually defined fields must comply in full with the program planning procedures stated above. The student may select from:

HIST-100 Individual Field in the History of Modern Europe
HIST-200 Individual Field in the History of the United States
HIST-300 Individual Field in the History of Latin America
HIST-400 Individual Field in the History of Russia
HIST-500 Individual Field in the History of Britain and Empire
HIST-600 Individual Field in the History of Asia
HIST-700 Individual Field in Ancient History
HIST-800 Individual Field in the History of a Single Country
HIST-900 Individual Field in Comparative History
HIST-1000 Individual Field in Interdisciplinary Study