Graduate Handbook | Third Year
At this point you should be completing your course work while preparing for and taking your qualifying exams. Keep in mind that you need to remain enrolled full-time at USC. If you have completed your course requirements, there are two simple options for remaining enrolled:
- Enrolling in sufficient units of History 590: Directed Readings, and using this rubric for quals preparation . One advantage of this, even during the semester in which you take your exams, is that it can help you build toward the 60 units required for your Ph.D. (Remember that no more than 8 of these units can be earned through continuing enrollment in History 794: Doctoral Dissertation.)
- Enrolling in GRSC 800: Studies for the Qualifying Examination. Basically, this course is a placeholder, counting for zero units while qualifying you as a full-time student.
During either the first or second semester of the third year, most students should be taking their qualifying exams. Students in field requiring expertise in multiple and particularly challenging foreign exams may take their exams later.
Upon satisfactory completion of your qualifying exams, all that stands between you and the Ph.D. is the completion of your dissertation, a book-length work of original work and scholarship. As part of your transition to this phase of your professional development, you must develop, submit, and defend your dissertation prospectus within six months of passing your qualifying exams. After having done so you will be admitted to Ph.D. candidacy. For further details on the prospectus and dissertation process, see the section Dissertation Work.
As in previous years, you will need to submit your Annual Report to the department in advance of the yearly screening meeting. You will also again be asked to fill out a form with your TA preferences. Keep in mind that the option of when to take a future fellowship year is at the department’s discretion. Discuss with your Major Professor when you should request to take your final fellowship year.