History of Consciousness Ph.D.


Detailed information for prospective graduate students, including procedures for application and admission to graduate studies, examinations, and requirements for the doctor of philosophy degree, is available from the Division of Graduate Studies and on the department website.


The deadline for applications to the History of Consciousness (HISC) program is Dec. 10 of each year. Admissions information and application materials are available online. Applications are invited from students with backgrounds and interests in the humanities, arts, and social sciences and are especially encouraged from individuals with a clear idea of the project they wish to undertake. Strong preference is given to applicants working in areas for which the faculty resources in history of consciousness are appropriate and available. Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores are optional but highly recommended. A writing sample is required of no more than 10 pages. Admission is for the fall quarter only.

It is important to note that in light of California’s elimination of affirmative action as an admissions criterion, the History of Consciousness Department reaffirms its commitment to the principles of affirmative action. These principles mean a commitment to diversity, equal opportunity, and outreach to underrepresented communities. Further, this commitment underlines our understanding that the very fabric and quality of our scholarship depends on the representation and interplay of diverse experience and perspectives. So defined, affirmative action is reflected in every aspect of the history of consciousness program, including scholarship, teaching, admissions, hiring, and the process of departmental governance.

Advancement to Candidacy

Course Requirements

The common requirements are:
•    HISC 203A, Approaches, to be taken in fall quarter of the first year;
•    HISC 240, Pedagogy of Teaching/Teaching Assistant Training, to be taken in the fall of the first year;
•    HISC 203B, the writing-intensive version of Approaches, to be taken in spring quarter of the first year;
•    A minimum of five history of consciousness graduate seminars during the first two years;
•    HISC 291, a two-credit advising course, each quarter;
Students register for a minimum of two courses (5 credits each) plus HISC 291 (2 credits) per quarter until after Advancement to Candidacy, at which time they may register for one course per quarter (normally HISC 299A) plus the 2-credit HISC 291 in order to qualify for full-time enrollment. With the exception of HISC 203A, HISC 203B, HISC 240 and the five required history of consciousness seminars, courses taken to fulfill the university enrollment requirements may include not only history of consciousness seminars but also independent study courses with specific faculty and graduate seminars offered in other departments.

HISC203AApproaches to History of Consciousness


HISC203BApproaches to History of Consciousness


HISC240Basic Principles of University-Level Pedagogy




Minimum of five HISC grad seminars

A minimum of five history of consciousness graduate seminars during the first two years

Foreign Language Requirements

Students must demonstrate a proficiency in a language other than English (as demonstrated by an undergraduate degree in the language, taking a translation examination, completing coursework, or petitioning for exemption).

Teaching Requirement

Students must complete three quarters of supervised teaching experience.

Qualifying Examination

The qualifying examination includes a written and oral component. The written component consists of a qualifying essay (normally drafts of one to two chapters of the proposed dissertation) that demonstrates the candidate’s ability to do extended, dissertation-level research, analysis, and writing on an original topic. The written component also includes a dissertation prospectus. The oral examination focuses on the student’s qualifying essay, dissertation prospectus, and relevant fields of scholarship.

Advancement to Candidacy

Students are encouraged to advance to candidacy in their third year. In order to remain within normative time they must advance by the end of their fourth year in the program. In order to advance to candidacy, students must complete their coursework; demonstrate proficiency in a second language (by taking a translation examination, completing coursework, or petitioning for exemption), be in good academic standing, and complete and pass the written and oral portion of the qualifying examination.



After advancement to candidacy, students concentrate on dissertation writing. The current normative time to degree limit of seven years means that a student usually has a minimum of three years after advancement to candidacy for completion of the dissertation. Students register for one course per quarter (normally HISC 299A) plus the 2-credit HISC 291 which qualifies as full-time enrollment. 

HISC 299A    Thesis Research    5
HISC 291         Advising     2

Academic Progress

In order to remain within normative progress, students must advance by the end of their fourth year in the program. 

A student who has been advanced to candidacy for more than nine quarters is not considered to be making satisfactory progress.

For a complete list of Academic Requirements and Standards, visit the Graduate Division website.

Applying for Graduation

For information on how to apply for graduation, visit the Graduate Division website.