In order to give history graduate students at Florida Atlantic University a higher-quality learning experience and to better prepare those who plan to enter Ph.D. programs, all students will take a qualifying examination in their last semester before obtaining the M.A. degree. .
The qualifying examination for thesis-track students will be an oral examination consisting of a defense of the thesis along with questions related to the larger field in which the thesis is located. (For example, if the thesis is on a topic related to the Cold War, the larger field the student would be tested on might be U.S. History since 1945.) This examination will be given by all three members of the student's advisory committee and it will be sixty to ninety minutes in length. The student's advisor will continue to be responsible for scheduling the thesis defense, and students should contact all committee members in advance to see what they recommend in terms of adequate preparation, especially for the field questions. No notes or books may be used by student during the defense and field examination. In order to pass this exam students must receive a unanimous decision from the advisory committee. Should they not pass the first time, they will be able to revise their theses and/or prepare further for the field questions, and then participate in another defense and examination but not less than one month later. If they do not pass the second participate in another defense and examination but not less than one month later. If they do not pass the second time they are dismissed from the program. Those students who achieve a superior performance in the defense and field exam will be designated as having passed "with distinction." Students must be enrolled at FAU during any semester in which they take the exam.