Skip to main content
Skip to main menu Skip to spotlight region Skip to secondary region Skip to UGA region Skip to Tertiary region Skip to Quaternary region Skip to unit footer


Graduate Coursework

Graduate Coursework and requirements

Coursework in the department varies depending on intellectual object. Below is some information on what to expect from our graduate-level courses as well as other requirements of the program.


Colloquiums are deep-dives into the historiography. These courses offer students the chance to explore a dedicated reading list of 10-11 books on the chosen course topic and a final historiographical paper relevant both to the course topic and to their areas of interest. Students are often asked to lead a class discussion on one of the chosen books, creating engaging scholarly discussion amongst peers. Topics vary by semester. MA students are required to take at least three colloquium courses, two of which should be in their geographic area of study. PhD students are required to take four colloquium courses: three in the major field and one in their minor comparative/thematic field.  


Seminar courses serve as an opportunity for students to do original research. In these classes, students workshop their ideas with their fellow graduate students and professors. Seminars also serve as professional development training for research, with discussions concerning research sites, writing and applying for research grants, and doing archival research efficiently. Students are usually expected to write a 25-35-page original research paper. MA students are required to take two seminar courses. PhD students are required to take three seminars unless they already hold an MA in history. If the latter applies, students need only take two seminars.

Research Skills

Students are required to show proficiency in at least one language or other technical skill such as computer programming that matches their program of study. This will be approved by their major professor and the graduate coordinator. Some students choose to take graduate language courses or a language exam to complete this requirement while others choose a research skill such as taking a course in GIS (Geographic Information Systems). Please see the Guidebook for more information.

Thesis proposal (MA only)

Ranging from 1000 to 2000 words, the thesis proposal includes a description of the thesis subject, a discussion of primary sources where applicable, a review of the literature, a tentative bibliography, and anticipated significance of the research. This should be submitted by the student's third semester of study. Once the proposal is ready, the student defends the proposal before their thesis committee.  

Dissertation proposal (prospectus) (PhD only)

Ranging from 5000 to 7500 words, the dissertation proposal is written after doctoral students have passed their oral exams. It includes a description of the dissertation topic, justification for the topic, a bibliography, a discussion of sources and methodology, results of preliminary research, and a statement of the anticipated results of the research. Once the proposal is ready, the student defends the proposal before their dissertation committee.

Support us

We appreciate your financial support. Your gift is important to us and helps support critical opportunities for students and faculty alike, including lectures, travel support, and any number of educational events that augment the classroom experience. Click here to learn more about giving.

Every dollar given has a direct impact upon our students and faculty.