Urban Historical Studies Specialization

This specialization combines historical approaches with those of the social sciences in studying urban processes, organizations, and society. It is designed to meet the needs of students who intend to enter the interdisciplinary Urban Studies Ph.D. program or a similar program after completion of the Master of Arts degree. A thesis is not required in this specialization.

Course Work

The minimum degree requirement is 27 graduate credits distributed in the following manner:

  • History 712 Historiography and Theory of History, or
  • History 713 Historical Research Methods
  • History 595 The Quantitative Analysis of Historical Data
  • 2 History colloquia (800 number courses)
  • 2 History seminars (900 number courses including History 927, Seminar in American Urban History), and
  • 3 courses (9 credits) in Urban Studies graduate courses to familiarize students with the following:
    • Contemporary urban social theory - select one course from:
      Sociol 770 Urban Sociology
      Sociol 775 Social Change and Social Evolution
      UrbStd 911 Urban Development and Redevelopment
      UrbStd 945 The Internal Structure of the City
    • Social science research methods - select one course from:
      Sociol 750 Research Methods in Sociology
      UrbStd 734 Urban Demography
      UrbStd 921 Research Methods in Urban Affairs
    • Urban studies research seminar:
      Select an appropriate Urban Studies seminar from numbers 900 to 971, or
      Sociol 927 Seminar in the Sociology of Contemporary Institutions

Academic Review

Within the first semester after completing 9 credits (including two of the following courses: 712, 713, a colloquium and/or seminar), Urban Historical Studies students must request an Academic Review from your Major Professor in the History Department. The Review involves an evaluation of your academic progress in master's course work, and of two unrevised course papers. At your Review, you and your advisor will discuss the general areas for the exam. You also will consider two other faculty members who could serve on your comprehensive examination committee, and begin to identify some books and key articles for your examination reading list. After this review, you and your advisor should complete the Advisor Designation and Academic Review Form and return it to the Director of Graduate Studies.

Preparing the Comprehensive Examination Reading List

You may take the exam in one of the following areas: Ancient; Medieval; Early Modern Europe; Europe since 1815; United States; global; and African, Asian, Latin American and/or Middle Eastern history. Students in Urban Historical Studies will focus on urban history within one of these areas, but they are expected to have a command of the area’s history as well. Your examination committee will help you prepare a reading list of between 25 and 30 books for this exam. Once your committee approves of this list, you and the committee members must complete the Comprehensive Examination Reading List Approval Form and return it to the Director of Graduate Studies.

Comprehensive Examination

You may schedule the exam at any time during the semester. The written exam is a three hour open-book, open-note exam in Holton Hall. Usually, one question is historiographical and asks students to discuss how historians have interpreted a particular subject in the student's field of interest. A second question usually asks students to discuss a significant historical question about the student's field. You should schedule the one-hour oral defense in consultation with your committee within ten days of the written exam. In this defense, you may be asked to elaborate on your essays, or to discuss subjects in your major fields that were not examined in the essay examination.

Optional Thesis

Not required, but with the approval of the Director of Graduate Studies, you may substitute a thesis for the comprehensive examination requirement. Urban Historical Studies students who write a thesis must add 6 thesis credits to the general requirements for the degree. They are subject to all of the requirements for preparing a thesis listed above for the General History Option A.