FAQs for Current PhD Students In History

Newly Admitted Students

What should newly admitted students do?

1. Complete all of the Next Steps for Admitted Graduate Students.

2. Update your Mason and non-Mason email contact preferences in Patriotweb to ensure ease of communication. 

3. Insert your G number into your email signature for university related correspondence. 

Check your Mason email regularly in the weeks leading up to your first semester.  

Assistantships, Funding, Tuition Waivers

What is the contracted date range for my assistantship?

Two full semesters beginning in August (fall semester) and ending in May (spring semester). Assistantships do not run over the summer semester.

Who am I assisting?

You will be assigned to a professor prior to the start of each semester.

Can I have outside employment while working as a graduate assistant?

No, unless given permission by the director and chair.

How do I renew my assistantship?

Doctoral students are given an assistantship for up to five years based on performance and good academic standing.

Are there certain fees that tuition waivers do not cover?

They do not cover books.

How do I know if my tuition waiver has been applied?

Students should check their account balance in Patriot Web. 

How many credits are covered by tuition waivers?

The number of tuition waiver credits provided can vary from year to year. That said, full-time GAs received 17 credits of tuition waiver for the 2020-2021 academic year.

Who can I contact regarding GA (graduate assistantship) pay (scheduling, pay checks, etc.)? 

The Accounts Payable portion of the Office of Fiscal Services office handles all graduate student employment pay matters.


Registering for Coursework

How do I register for Major Field Readings (HIST 803), Minor Field Readings (HIST 804), Directed Reading (HIST 796) or Directed Research (HIST 797) courses?

Students must complete an individual section request form and submit it to the graduate coordinator via email attachment. This form must be signed by the supervising professor.

What is a 'restricted course'? How can I gain approval to register?

A restricted course requires student approval before you can register. This is to ensure that students who need the course in order to fulfill a program requirement can enroll before the class fills up. 

To register for a restricted course (for example, HIST 810 or HIST 696), email the contact person listed in Patriotweb. Provide your g number in the request. 



Who is my dissertation advisor?

Your dissertation advisor is determined by meeting with the PhD Graduate Director to discuss optionsFor general advising information, please click here

For a list of all faculty research interests/affinities, please click here. 

How do I finalize my program of study?

Please ask for an advising appointment with Dr. Smith at smisuze@gmu.edu to finalize your program of study.

Can I shorten the length of time to earn a PhD?

Yes, with a reduction of credits up to a maximum of 30 pre-approved credits.


Minor and Major Field Exams

When should I take my Major Field oral exam?

The oral exam may be taken after completing 15 credits of coursework in your major field.

What is the procedure for scheduling my Major Field oral exam?

Students must first contact all of his/her committee members to secure a date and time. Once done, they must contact Lea Burgess (lburges5@gmu.edu) to reserve a room.

What is the procedure for completing the two 804 minor field exams?

Students must propose their 804 minor field topics to the Graduate Committee in the semester before you plan to enroll in HIST 804 to complete the readings course and exam. 

Information on the minor field proposal process is located here

The graduate coordinator proctors all minor field exams. Students will receive their examination prompts from the graduate via email, taking about 7.5 calendar days to complete the exam in a "take-home" format. 

Once completed, students return the exam to the graduate coordinator. The two faculty readers will notify the student directly of their grade via the official grading form.  



How do I register for HIST 998 Doctoral Dissertation Proposal?

To register for HIST 998, you must complete an Individual Section Request Form and submit it to the graduate coordinator via email attachment. This form must be signed by the supervising professor.

When can I register for HIST 999 Doctoral Dissertation Research? 

You may register for HIST 999 after advancing to candidacy. To do so, you will need to send an email request to the graduate coordinator that includes your name, G number, dissertation advisor and the number of credits you intend to enroll into. They will then provide you with the Course Registration Number (CRN) you'll need to enroll yourself via Patriot Web.



Do you have a checklist I should follow to graduate?

Please refer to the Graduation information on the Registrar's website.