The Committee on Historical Studies offers the MA degree only. For
students who complete the requirements for the MA in historical studies
(history) and wish to earn a PhD degree, the committee maintains joint
doctoral programs with the Department of Politics and the Department
of Sociology. More detailed information about Committee on Historical Studies degree programs is
published in the Committee on Historical Studies Curriculum Handbook, also available in the Committee on Historical Studies office at 80 Fifth Avenue, 5th floor.
MA in Historical Studies
The MA in historical studies is awarded for successful completion of 30
credits, including two required core courses, and completion of an acceptable
master’s thesis. At least 18 of the required credits must be for courses listed
or cross-listed in Historical Studies. The other 12 credits could be earned by
taking courses offered by other departments of The New School for Social
Research or other divisions of the university, as long as they are relevant to
the the historical studies program. Students who contemplate advancing to a
PhD program must take care to use their electives to meet the prerequisites
for acceptance to the PhD program in Politics or Sociology respectively.
All students must take a linked pair of seminars in their first year that will
orient them to the discipline:
- GHIS 6133 Historiography and Historical Practice
- GHIS 6134 Historical Sources and Methods
The historical studies program is designed to be completed in two years
of full-time study, including the writing of the thesis. Part-time study
is permitted. A student who expects to study part-time should consult
with a department advisor about a timetable for completion of the degree
requirements. Students are expected to attend the committee’s public
seminars, conferences, and lectures and other activities.
The Master’s Thesis: After completing at least 18 credits, including both
required courses, students may submit a proposal for a master’s thesis to
their faculty advisor. The thesis is normally an original paper based on
primary research written in the form of an article prepared for publication
in a peer-reviewed journal. It must reference both primary and secondary
historical sources and should be between 40 and 60 double-spaced pages
(65 pages is the maximum allowed). Students working on a thesis register
for Independent Study under the supervision of the thesis advisor. The
completed MA thesis must be submitted for review by two faculty members
of the Committee on Historical Studies; the deadlines are April 1 for May
graduation and November 15 for January graduation. MA theses that are
found unsatisfactory may be revised and resubmitted.
Admission to the Program in Historical Studies
Persons wishing to enter the program must complete an application for admission and check the option of an MA in historical studies. The New School for Social Research’s MA program has been particularly attractive to students who wish to become more broadly educated historians or more historically informed social scientists. Admission to the joint doctoral program requires a separate application and approval of the committee.
PhD in Politics or Sociology and Historical Studies
Students in their second year of study in a master of arts program in any
of these three fields (or thereafter while still in residence) may apply for
admission to the dual doctoral program. Acceptance is not automatic but is
at the discretion of both the Committee on Historical Studies and the other
department. Applicants must provide the following materials to the secretary
of the Committee on Historical studies: a letter of intent, explaining the
applicant’s scholarly interests and rationale for including historical studies
as part of advanced social scientific research; a transcript of coursework
completed at The New School for Social Research; a three-page prospectus
of the student’s plans for doctoral research (this is not a formal dissertation
proposal); and, a letter of support from the student’s MA program faculty
advisor. Note: Applicants must follow on a parallel track the specific
application procedures for the acceptance to doctoral study in politics or
sociology. Students whose applications for the PhD program have been
accepted by both faculties, must file a change of status petition with the
Office of Academic Affairs of The New School for Social Research.
The aim of the dual degree programs is to provide integrated training
in history and social science for scholars with strong interests in both
fields. Students accepted for doctoral studies by both Committee on Historical Studies and the other
department must work closely with both faculty advisors to design a
coherent program of study and prepare qualifying examinations that will
cover their work in both fields.
PhD Program Requirements
- A total of 60 credits must be completed (including the 30 credits required
for the master of arts degree)
- Students who earned the MA degree in a field other than historical
studies, must take the two core courses, GHIS 6133 Historiography and
Historical Practice and GHIS 6134 Historical Methods and Sources.
A student must complete all the specific prerequisites to take the PhD
qualifying examination in Politics or Sociology respectively.
Qualifying Examination: Students who have completed at least 42 credits
including all required courses in both historical studies and their social
science may petition to take the PhD qualifying examinations. Students
must take one examination for CHS in addition to those required by the
department. The form of the history examination will mirror the practice in
Politics or Sociology as appropriate.
The Doctoral Dissertation: Students who pass all parts of the qualifying
examinations are invited to form a dissertation committee, which must
include at least one member of the CHS faculty as either chair or second
reader. Among other advising responsibilities, this committee member
must determine whether the thesis substantively engages historical sources
and methodology. Doctoral dissertations in a dual programs are expected
demonstrate primary source primary research, an extensive review of the
scholarly literature, and the competent formulation and exposition of
an intellectual problem. The dissertation must be approved by both the
Committee on Historical Studies and the social science department for the
PhD degree to be conferred.