Department of History

Departmental Funding

Some sources of financial support most commonly available to history graduate students are listed below. The sums awarded and other conditions of awards may change, so you should check with the graduate director or with the graduate administrator for updated details. Prospective students should also consult the list of nondepartmental awards available.

Teaching Assistantships and Teaching Fellowships

All students holding graduate teaching assistantships (TA) or teaching fellowships (TF) must register for nine credits of course work each semester during the fall and spring semesters. Under the terms of their employment, they are expected to devote 20 hours a week to their assigned duties. Problems arising with immediate supervisors should be brought to the attention of the graduate director.

Course instructors will meet regularly with TA/TFs and discuss examinations, grading, returning papers/examinations, and other pedagogical matters with them. At the end of the term, instructors must evaluate the TA/TF’s performance in a written report, which will be shown to the individual and incorporated into their academic file.

Obligations: TA/TFs must attend all of the lectures and class sessions of the course to which they are assigned. They must attend all of their own recitation sections, or arrange for a substitute in case of illness or other emergency. Changes in time/location of recitations must be approved by the instructor and communicated to the departmental staff.

TA/TFs must hold at least two hours of office hours per week and notify students and departmental staff of these hours.

Other types of TA/TF duties: TA/TFs who grade examinations but do not preside at recitations are obliged to perform all of the duties outlined above except for the meeting of recitations. The obligations of instructors toward these students remain as outlined above.

TFs who independently teach a course must meet the professional standards required of faculty teaching at the University. They should have their course syllabus approved by a faculty member teaching a similar course, and they should arrange to have their course evaluated.

Information on the value of stipends is available here.

Decisions: The graduate committee makes funding decisions at the end of the fall term admission cycle in early March. Internal applicants provide two letters of recommendation; the committee examines these letters and the students' grade cards. The committee examines the entire record of external applicants. Taking the two groups together, the committee constructs a ranking for aid. The graduate director moves through the ranking as spaces open. In external applicants, the committee looks for excellent grades, scores, and letters, evidence of superior ability to research and write history, mastery of relevant languages, and clear goals for graduate work. In internal applicants, the committee considers progress in the program, grades, and recommendations. Ability to teach also arises in some cases: non-native English speakers must pass an examination offered by the administration.

Exceptions: Temporary TA positions sometimes open. These can be half-year positions (created, for example, by funds provided for an extra survey course or by a funded student taking a leave of absence). Courses can also open for other reasons. In these cases, the chair and the graduate director check the alternate list for funding and offer the slots to the highest-ranked student(s) in the relevant field. In the event that a course (rather than a TA slot) becomes open, the chair and graduate director will look to advanced students in the relevant field. Appointment to one of these slots does not necessarily mean that the student will be placed in the regular aid stream.

Renewals: Renewals of fellowships are contingent on satisfactory progress. In general terms, the two-year term for completion of an MA degree and two years between an MA and entry into PhD candidacy through passing the doctoral overview is considered to be satisfactory progress. More narrowly, completion of incompletes in timely fashion is also required. “I” grades incurred during the spring semester must be removed by February 1 of the following year or the student will not be eligible for reappointment. “I” grades incurred during the fall semester must be removed by December 31 of the following year or the student will not be eligible for reappointment.

Assignments: Assignments are governed by a combination of seniority and teaching competence. The balance between the two is a matter of ongoing discussion, but the chair retains the right to step in on the side of teaching. For the fall semester, the graduate director reserves TA assignments for new students in their specialties.

Research Assistants

Obligations: Graduate student assistants should perform the duties assigned them by the department. An evaluation of their performance should be submitted at the end of the semester by the faculty person for whom they worked. This evaluation should be put into students' files after they read it.

Value: Same as TA/TF (above).

Rights: Students serving as research assistants are chosen from the TA/TF pool. They are part of the regular funding pool.

Decisions: Same as TA/TF.

Summer Teaching

Obligations: Teaching a summer course, usually a survey in the student's area.

Value: Pay is at theTA/TF rate.

Eligibility: Students who are in the funding stream and beyond their MA—preferably beyond their comps—are eligible to teach a summer course. In addition, students who taught a summer course the previous year are not normally eligible.

Comments: The department makes an effort to see that the courses offered match the pool of eligible teachers. There is, however, unavoidable haziness in making assignments. We often do not know the size of the summer budget and the course we can offer until the schedule is almost out. There is no fixed number of courses. Assignments are made on the basis of seniority and teaching ability (usually meaning field), and there is ongoing discussion of the right balance between the two.

Hays Summer Research Grant

Description: Established in honor of University Professor Emeritus Samuel P. Hays, the Hays Summer Research Grant provides summer support up to a maximum of $2,000.

Eligibility: In addition to U.S. history dissertation research, PhD history graduate students specializing in other regions are welcome to apply.

Requirements: Applicants should provide the following documentation to the graduate secretary in 3710 Wesley W. Posvar Hall

  • Research proposal (not to exceed three typewritten, double-spaced pages)
  • Budget
  • Letter from the student's major advisor

The deadline for submission of all materials is February 15. Awards will be announced in early April.

C.Y. Hsu Summer Research Fellowship

Description: The award(s) are designed to enable PhD candidates to take exploratory trips to their research and/or field sites to help them prepare their doctoral prospectuses and write up applications for nationally competitive fellowships to fund their doctoral research. A maximum of $2,000 will be awarded to any individual student.

Eligibility: PhD students in the Department of History, and PhD students in the Asian Studies Program outside the Department of History, are eligible to apply.

Requirements: Applicants should provide the following documentation to the graduate secretary in 3P25 Wesley W. Posvar Hall:

  • Research proposal (no more than three typewritten, double-spaced pages)
  • Budget
  • CV
  • Transcript
  • Letter from the student's major advisor
  • List of possible sources of funding for which the student has applied

The deadline for applications is February 15th. Awards will be announced in early April.

Summer Fellowships

Description: Each spring, our graduate students can apply for departmental summer fellowships, which may be used for language study; pre-dissertation field research; archival research; or a combination of these activities.  Updated information about the application procedures will be circulated at the beginning of the calendar year. 

Arts and Sciences Social Science Doctoral Dissertation Fellowships (SSDD)

Each year the Department awards a limited number of SSDD fellowships on a competitive basis. These fellowships allow students to devote one year of research for their dissertation. The Graduate Administrator will provide detailed information on eligibility and application procedures at the beginning of each calendar year.