Senior Departmental Examination

The Senior Departmental Examination

The senior departmental exam takes the form of a discussion of the student’s thesis and the student’s experience in the Department. Three people will be present at the exam: the student, the adviser, and the thesis’s second reader. The exam will last approximately 30 minutes and count for 5% of the student’s Departmental GPA.

Students will receive the thesis comments no later than 10 days before the departmental exam. One week prior to the scheduled exam, the student will submit electronically to Judie Miller a personal statement in a PDF format.

Using the template provided by the Department, the first page of the statement should list all the student’s departmental courses, independent work, and other history-relevant courses and experiences, such as study abroad or internships. On the succeeding pages, the student should write an essay of no more than 1,000 words that summarizes her/his academic background before entering the Department, intellectual development while studying history at Princeton, and career goals. The Department will offer a workshop on how to write such a statement during the Spring semester. Sample personal statements are available here.

The writing of the personal statement and the senior departmental exam are intended to be a moment of intellectual reflection. During the exam, students should be prepared to respond carefully to the written comments on their thesis by their adviser and second reader as well as discuss their personal statement.