In response to increasing student interest in historical studies that transcend geographical areas, we offer students the option of crafting an individualized program of study. It is aimed at those for whom a major in one geographical study program with an (internal) minor in another geographical study program is not sufficient—in other words, students who wish to gain roughly equal depth of training in more than one geographical area.
Students considering this option should be aware that the choice may have job-market ramifications. Although there has been some movement in recent years away from the traditional definition of academic jobs in terms a single geographical area (e.g., U.S. history, African history, or East Asian history), many academic positions are still defined in geographic terms.
Another consideration to bear in mind is that an individualized program of study, because it offers roughly equal grounding in the history and historiography of more than one geographical area, will require more time to complete than would a major in one program and a minor in a second program.
Those who wish to pursue individualized studies should, first, discuss this option with the three faculty members with whom they would like to work (two co-advisors and a third committee member). The basic process is for the student and the supervising committee to reach an agreement on the student’s M.A. requirements, language requirements, minor requirement (if any), the format and timing of the preliminary exams, and any needed revision of the benchmarks that normally define satisfactory progress. Once an agreement has been reached, the student, with the committee’s support, must petition the Graduate Council for approval of the individualized program of study.