Department of History

Queen's University
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Course Work

The purpose of the course work in the candidate's major field is to introduce the candidate to the major historical writings and debates in the area covered, prepare them to teach and undertake original research in that area, and provide a context for the broad-ranging historiographical and interpretative portion of their thesis proposal. The purpose of the course work in the minor is to add breadth to the candidate's training, either to strengthen and widen the framework for the dissertation, to prepare for future teaching or to broaden knowledge of methodology and historiography.

At the time of pre-registration in the summer, after consulting with the thesis supervisor and Graduate Chair, students shall provide the Graduate Office with a list of their intended seminars. Upon arrival in September, they shall obtain the approval of their instructors, potential thesis supervisor, and the Graduate Chair for their entire programme (courses and major and minor fields). Normally the thesis is written in a major field. No member of the faculty shall be responsible for supervising more than one graduate seminar or graded reading course in a candidate's Ph.D. programme. A minimum final grade of B+ (3.3) in all primary courses is required. Failure to fulfil this requirement will result in the student being asked to withdraw from the programme.

History 901

All doctoral students are required to take History 901. This seminar introduces Ph.D. candidates in the Queen's Department of History to a selection of theories and methods that have shaped the contemporary discipline of history. The purpose of the course is threefold:

  1.  to expose doctoral students to an array of approaches to history and debates about the practice of history, which, it is hoped, will help them to situate their thesis work in broader theoretical and methodological contexts;
  2.  to provide students with a foundational vocabulary and conceptual resources for the field of history;
  3. to encourage the development of intellectual community among the Ph.D. candidates. Toward these ends, course readings encompass a wide range of different theories, methods, and examples of historical scholarship drawn from the department's three major ‘clusters' (Canada/North America; world; Europe). Individual weeks' readings will usually include one or two theoretical or methodological pieces alongside one or two examples of historical scholarship that incorporate the theory or method in question. This half year course is taught as a Pass/Fail graded course. All course assignments will be graded using the normal scale, but the final grade will be calculated as P or F, while expecting a rigorous and high standard of performance for a passing grade.

Graded reading courses can be taken in exceptional circumstances and only if no existing graduate seminar in the field is offered. Request for a graded reading course requires approval by the Graduate Chair, the supervisor and the instructor of the reading course.

Royal Military College

Students may also take graduate courses offered at the Royal Military College. Offerings vary from year to year, and interested students should consult both History departments well in advance. Note: Normally students taking courses at RMC must take, or must have taken, two other regular history courses in the Queen's History Department, either as part of a three-course M.A. program or as one of three Ph.D. courses. The cooperative Queen's/RMC programme permits students to take a course at either institution without payment of extra fees.

Instructors are asked to arrange their courses so that each student will have completed by mid-October sufficient written work to provide an objective standard upon which to judge his/her progress. The purpose of this regulation is to assist instructors and the department fellowships committee in the writing of references for scholarship applications which are usually due by late October/early November and also so that students may have an indication of their standing to date in each course.

All graduate instructors shall report to the Graduate Chair on the progress of students enrolled in their courses by the end of the first term of enrolment. The Graduate Committee may judge it appropriate to recommend to the School of Graduate Studies that a student withdraw, if it is thought that he/she is not capable of showing improvement in the second term.

Incomplete Work

The deadline for completion of incomplete work in any graduate course is 15 August of the year following initial registration in the course. Individual exceptions can be made to this rule only on the explicit permission of the Graduate Committee following appeal by the student to the Graduate Committee. If a student has not completed all requirements for a course the year following initial registration, then that student must sign a contract with his/her instructor that specifies exactly when those requirements are to be completed. A student may not register in the second or subsequent year of his/her graduate programme with an incomplete mark unless the Graduate Committee has ruled that an extension be granted.

Graduate teaching is conducted in full graduate courses, joint or combined courses, or directed reading courses. A joint or combined course is a seminar in which both graduate and senior undergraduate students are enrolled. The orientation of joint or combined seminars should depend on the balance of enrolment. In joint courses where the graduate students constitute a majority, the primary orientation should be graduate. In combined courses where the undergraduate students constitute a majority, the primary orientation should be undergraduate. In any particular case, precise pedagogical methods remain the prerogative of the instructor. Graduate students will take no more than 30% of their courses in combined or joint undergraduate and graduate courses. The size of graduate seminars normally should not exceed 12 students. Combined seminars should not contain more than 16 graduates and undergraduates. Enrolment in joint seminars will be limited on a sliding scale depending on the number of graduate students enrolled in the seminar. The maximum enrolment will be reduced by one for each graduate student registered in the seminar. Hence one graduate registration will reduce the total enrolment to 15; two will reduce it to 14, et seq. Four graduate student registrations reduce it to 12, and total enrolment will not be reduced further beyond that. If five graduate students register for a joint seminar, consideration will be given to de-combining the course.