Before you can move on to candidacy for the Ph.D. (become ABD – "all but dissertation"), you must receive Preliminary Certification from the department. Preliminary Certification is confirmation by a committee of advisors that:
- You have a strong conceptual grasp of the leading scholarship in the fields most relevant to your areas of interest.
- You have developed independent positions on major historiographical issues or, in fields outside history, developed independent positions on major theoretical and methodological issues.
- You are ready to teach topics within the fields.
- You have the research tools, including language skills, and intellectual maturity to undertake independent dissertation research.
You will demonstrate your readiness to undertake independent dissertation research by submitting a portfolio of your best work to-date. The portfolio format, modeled on the tenure dossier, is intended to combine a set of minimum requirements (most of which is completed in the normal progression through coursework during years one and two) with sufficient flexibility to allow the students to display their historical knowledge, historiographical vision, and methodological skills to their best advantage. These minimum requirements include basic knowledge of historical methods, critical engagement with secondary literatures, ability to work with primary sources, clarity of written communication, and evidence of teaching ability.
NOTE: Ordinarily a student registered for full-time study should pass the preliminary examination by the end of the third year. If you have not passed your examination by this time, you must file with the Dean of the Graduate School a statement approved by the DGS in the major department, explaining the delay and setting a date for the examination. Except under unusual circumstances, extension will not be granted beyond the middle of the fourth year. For more information, see the Graduate School's Student Handbook.