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Ph.D. Program Requirements

Note: The History Graduate Student Handbook is available in PDF form online with comprehensive information about our graduate programs for prospective and current students. Please click on the link on the sidebar for the most current edition.

As a basic requirement, all applicants to the Ph.D. program must hold the B.A. degree and have completed the History M.A. Students who enter without a History M.A. and who seek to complete a Ph.D. must first enter the M.A. program and complete the requirements.

A total of 45-60 hours of course work and dissertation credit, including a minimum of 33-39 hours or course work beyond the M.A. in history and 12-24 hours of dissertation credit, are required to complete the Ph.D. in history.

Upon entering the program, all students will develop a Plan of Study with the approval of the Director of Graduate Studies.

Specific Requirements for the Ph. D. in History

  • Required Core Courses (15 hours)

    • HIS 701-702: Colloquia in U.S. history (6 hours)
    • HIS 714: Varieties of Teaching (3 hours)
    • HIS 750: Ph.D. Readings Course (3 hours)
    • HIS 751: Ph. D. Dissertation Seminar (3 hours)

  • Research Hours (0-6 hours)

    If the Director of Graduate Study should conclude that an admitted Ph.D. candidate did not perform at least 6 hours of substantive research during the M.A. degree program or earned an M.A. in an area of history other than U.S. history, then the student will be required to complete up to 6 hours of additional research. These additional research hours will ordinarily include HIS 703 and HIS 709.

  • Electives in U. S. Major (9 hours)

    In addition to the core requirements, students must complete 9 hours of elective courses in their major. HIS 692: Advanced Topics in History may not be counted for Ph.D. credit. Consult with the Director of Graduate Study for course offerings.

  • Minor in a Field Outside of United States History (9 Hours)

    With the approval of the students' advisory/dissertation committee and the Director of Graduate Study, doctoral students will choose and define a minor field outside of U.S. history. The minor field will consist of one required course (HIS 716, Graduate Colloquium in World History), at least one course at the 600-level or above with the minor field faculty member of the dissertation committee, and a third course at the 600-level or above on a topic outside of U.S. history, for a total of nine credit hours. All course work applied toward the minor must be approved by the Director of Graduate Study and listed on the student's Plan of Study.

    Where appropriate, and with the permission of the Doctoral Advisory/Dissertation Committee and Director of Graduate Study, doctoral students may take a maximum of one course (3 hours) at the 600-level or above outside the Department of History as part of their minor field.

  • Additional Minor in Public History

    With the approval of the students' advisory/dissertation committee and the Graduate Program Director, doctoral students may undertake a second minor field in Public History (in addition to a first minor field in World History). The Public History Minor will consist of two required courses HIS 631 Digital History and HIS 627 Museum and Historic Site Interpretation: Principles and Practice and one elective course for a total of 9 credits. The elective may be chosen from the following courses (or other public history offering with approval of the Graduate Program Director):

    Course List:

    • HIS 547 History Museum Curatorship: Collections Management, 3 credits
    • HIS 629 Museum Education, 3 credits
    • HIS 690 Internship, 3 credits

    All course work applied toward the minor must be approved by the Graduate Program Director and listed on the student's Plan of Study. Course work for the Public History Minor may be carried out simultaneously with HIS 750 PhD Readings Course and HIS 751 PhD Dissertation Proposal Course since this field will not be included as part of Ph.D. comprehensive examinations.

  • Language

    All students will be required to pass a written test demonstrating reading knowledge of one foreign language appropriate to their area of specialization prior to taking the qualifying examination. (see below)

  • Mentor and Doctoral Advisory/Dissertation Committee (ADC)

    A mentor must be named after 9 hours of course work. Normally, the mentor will be the graduate faculty member in the Department whose research and teaching interests most closely correspond to those of the student. Prospective mentors must agree to serve and be approved by the Graduate Committee. Mentors will be responsible for the pedagogical, scholarly, and professional development of their students during their program of studies, will chair their Advisory/Dissertation Committee, and will direct the students' dissertation.

  • Permission to Proceed and Grade Point Average (GPA)

    All students in the Ph.D. program must obtain "permission to proceed" at the end of their first year of courses (normally, 18 hours). This permission is granted by a collective decision on the part of the student's dissertation committee and the departmental Graduate Committee.

    Students must maintain a 3.5 average in course work in order to be eligible to proceed to the writing of a Ph. D. dissertation.

  • Qualifying Examination

    The qualifying examination, which will come at the end of the 33-39 hours of course work (including a 3 hour Ph.D. readings course and a 3 hour Ph.D. seminar), will include two parts: (1) a written exam composed of questions covering the major and minor fields; (2) an oral examination to be given no later than one month after the completion of the written examinations.

    If a student fails only one part of the written exam, he or she may be required to retake only that part. If a student fails either the written or oral exam (or both), he or she must retake the entire examination.

  • Dissertation (12-24 hours)

    Students will register for a minimum of 12 hours of dissertation credit (HIS 799) while researching and writing the dissertation.

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