The Department of History offers a wide variety of resources to aid in the completion of your doctoral dissertation.
Each year the Department awards, on a competitive basis, a limited number of "write-up" fellowships. The fellowship provides relief from teaching, allowing students to focus entirely on writing. Students receive a stipend of $10,000 each semester, plus fees in the fall semester and health insurance and the filing fee in the spring semester.
The Department also nominates students for three competitive University fellowships that support research: the University of California Dissertation Fellowship, the Chancellor’s Dissertation Fellowship, and the Mentored Research Award. Information on these fellowships, as well as other grants administered by the Graduate Division, is available at http://www.grad.berkeley.edu/financial/deadlines.shtml#berkeley
Factored into Department’s standard five-year fellowships are the Dean's Normative Time Fellowship (DNTF) for students admitted before 2010 and the Dissertation Completion Fellowship (DCF) for students admitted in 2010 and after. These fellowships provide a two-semester stipend plus fees. For more information see http://grad.berkeley.edu/policies/guides/dntf
Workshops on Securing Outside Funding
Head graduate advisors regularly offer workshops on applying for extramural fellowships and writing successful proposals specifically geared to historical research and funding sources. The Graduate Division also regularly offers general workshops on writing academic grant proposals as well as sessions on applying to specific programs (e.g., Fulbright-IIE Grant).
Our program requires students to submit a dissertation prospectus (or proposal) in order to advance to candidacy. Generally, the prospectus should describe the issue or problem the dissertation will address and include a discussion of relevant historiography, a description of the sources and methods to be used, and a plan of research. Each student, however, should discuss the precise form and content of the prospectus with his or her intended dissertation chair (also called the "first reader"). The first reader and the other members of the dissertation committee evaluate and must approve the prospectus before the student is advanced to candidacy.
The History Graduate Association (HGA) partners with the Department to help organize and support dissertation-writing groups. The consensus among graduate students in the Department is that students should decide with whom they will share their work in progress and whose commentary would best support and encourage them in the process of dissertation writing. The Department and HGA encourage the formation of dissertation-writing groups, and the Department Chair can offer small amounts of funding for refreshments or other incidental expenses. Groups are encouraged to invite faculty members to participate in their sessions.
A challenge often faced by history graduate students is that they conceive of an outstanding project at the prospectus stage, and then what they find in the archives changes both the shape of the dissertation and their thinking on the historical issues at the heart of it. This is actually one of the joys of historical research, but to a novice historian it can be disconcerting. If you find yourself in this situation, talk to your adviser about having a "Chapter-Plus Colloquium": an opportunity to present and discuss a first draft chapter plus a revised outline of the dissertation. The members of the dissertation committee are invited to participate, in addition to other faculty and students whom the presenter chooses to invite. Materials can be pre-circulated and the colloquium devoted to discussion of the chapter, the revised outline, and possible strategies in moving forward. The Head Graduate Adviser can help facilitate the organization and scheduling of the colloquium.
The final stretch of completing the dissertation is often where "life" intervenes and momentum is lost. Some students find that a firm goal – a scheduled presentation or "defense"" of their dissertation to their committee, the department, and their peers – helps them focus and marshal a final campaign to complete the dissertation. Students in consultation with their faculty mentors and the Head Graduate Adviser have the option of scheduling a Dissertation Presentation through the SAO for Graduate Affairs. The members of the dissertation committee would participate, in addition to other faculty and students whom the presenter invites.
Annually the Department Chair appoints three members of the faculty to guide and assist students in searching for jobs. Additionally, Barbara Hayashida coordinates a series of three placement workshops to prepare candidates for the job market. The first, held in the spring, is a general overview of the process of applying for academic positions in history and the materials candidates need to prepare. It usually includes a panel discussion with several advanced students who have already been through the process. The second workshop, held in the fall, focuses on what search committees look for in candidates. The third is on interviewing and is held in December.
Submission Deadlines and the Graduate Division’s “Dissertation Filing Guide” are available at http://www.grad.berkeley.edu/current/index.shtml