FAQs for Current PhD Students In History

Newly Admitted Students

  1. What should newly admitted students do? Enroll, visit the PhD Graduate Director, submit their biographies to the Graduate Office, and submit their dissertation topic as soon as reasonably possible.

Assistantships, Funding, Tuition Waivers

  1. What is the term period for my assistantship? Two full semesters beginning in August and ending in May.
  2. Who am I assisting? You will be assigned to a professor.
  3. Can I have outside employment while working as a graduate assistant? No, unless given permission by the director and chair.
  4. How do I renew my assistantship? Doctoral students are given a three-year assistantship based on good performance and good academic standing.
  5. Are there certain fees that tuition waivers do not cover? They do not cover books.
  6. How do I know if my tuition waiver has been applied? Students should check Patriot Web. Go to Student Services and Financial Aid. Go to Financial Aid. Go to Award, then Award Amount by Semester.
  7. How many credits are covered by tuition waivers? 9 each semester.


  1. Do you have a checklist I should follow to graduate? Yes,  it is available online through the Graduate Academic Affairs Office in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences (CHSS).
  2. When should I submit my dissertation topic to the graduate office? As soon as you know your topic.
  3. Who is my dissertation advisor? Your dissertation advisor is determined by meeting with the PhD Graduate Director to discuss options.
  4. How do I register for HIST 998/999, dissertation proposal/course? To register for HIST 998 (dissertation proposal), you must contact the History Graduate Office to obtain a CRN. To register for the dissertation course, you must contact Graduate Academic Affairs in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences.
  5. When can I register for HIST 999?  You may register for HIST 999 after advancing to candidacy.
  6. When should I take my oral exam? The oral exam may be taken after completing 15 credits of coursework in your major field.
  7. What is the procedure for scheduling my major field oral exam? The student must contact all of his/her committee members to secure a time. After a date and time have been secured, the student must contact the Graduate Coordinator at egibson5@gmu.edu to reserve a room.
  8. What is the procedure to formalize the completion of my minor field examination? Students must submit the minor field approval form with signatures from their first and second readers. Exams will be sent electronically to students, who will submit thier completed exams via email.
  9. How do I register for minor field readings courses (HIST 804)? An individualized section form is initiated by the History Graduate Office and submitted to the Registrar on the student's behalf.
  10. How do I finalize my program of study? Please ask for an advising appointment with the PhD Graduate Director to finalize your program of study.
  11. Do I need to submit my program of study to anyone other than the department? The Graduate Office submits your program of study to the CHSS Graduate Academic Affairs Office when you advance to candidacy.
  12. Can I shorten the length of time to earn a PhD? Yes, with a reduction of credits up to  a maximum of 30 credits.
  13. How do I start the paperwork to register for an independent readings course? After receiving approval from the PhD Graduate Director, please contact the Graduate Office to initiate the paperwork.
  14. What information is needed to register for the readings course? First, you must have approval from the PhD Graduate Director. Then send the approved request to the History Graduate Office including the name of the professor with whom you will be working, the semester you wish to take the course, and the full title of the readings.