The PhD in history prepares students to teach and conduct research in American history and to understand it within an expanded global perspective. Students are required to integrate the major field with a minor field outside of U.S. history. This broader intercontinental perspective enables students to explore themes such as the interaction of political, economic and cultural systems, questions of race and ethnicity, and the transnational dimensions of national experience. This global perspective is encouraged by providing a selection of courses that are cross-national, comparative, and integrative in content and format.
Students are encouraged to enlarge their perspective by understanding and analyzing national history in broader, international contexts. This goal is facilitated in two ways: first, a close integration of the minor into the major area; second, a selection of courses that are cross-national and integrative in format.
In a setting of relatively small classes, individualized research projects, and frequent contact with faculty, students are trained in the arts of scholarly research and writing. No less is the emphasis placed on fostering teaching skills. Through a required teaching seminar, hands-on teaching experience, and careful mentoring, students are prepared for teaching in a college or university environment.
A total of 45-60 semester hours of course work and dissertation credit, including a minimum of 33-39 hours of course work beyond the MA in history and a minimum of 12 hours of dissertation credit, are required to complete the PhD in history. Upon entering the program, all students will develop a Plan of Study with the approval of the Director of Graduate Study.
For information regarding deadlines and requirements for admission, please see the Guide to Graduate Admissions.
In addition to the application materials required by The Graduate School, applicants must submit a writing sample and a personal statement to be considered for admission.
The PhD program admits only a few highly qualified students each year. To enroll in the PhD program, students must first obtain a MA in history as well as a BA degree in history or a closely-related field.
Degree Program Requirements
Required: 45-60 credit hours
|Required Core Courses||15|
|Colloquium in American History before 1865|
|Colloquium in American History after 1865|
|Varieties of Teaching|
|PhD Readings Course|
|PhD Dissertation Proposal Course|
Complete up to 6 hours of additional research
|Electives in U.S. Major||9|
Select 9 hours of elective courses
Select 9 hours
Research Hours (0-6)
If the Director of Graduate Study should conclude that an admitted PhD candidate did not perform at least 6 hours of substantive research during the MA degree program or earned an MA 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 M.A. Research Project I and HIS 709 Introductory Research Seminar .
Electives in U.S. Major (9)
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 PhD credit. Consult with the Director of Graduate Study for course offerings.
Minor Field (9)
With the approval of the student's 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) at the 600-level or above outside the Department of History as part of their minor field.
Additional Minor in Public History (9)
With the approval of the students' advisory/dissertation committee and the Director of Graduate Study, 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 for a total of nine credit hours. The elective may be chosen from the following courses (or other public history offering with approval of the Director of Graduate Study):
|History Museum Curatorship: Collections Management|
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. 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.
All students are 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.
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 on the committee. Mentors will be responsible for the pedagogical, scholarly, and professional development of their students during their program of study, will chair their Doctoral Advisory/Dissertation Advisory Committee, and will direct the student’s dissertation.
Permission to Proceed and Grade Point Average (GPA)
All students in the PhD program must obtain “permission to proceed” at the end of their first year of courses (normally 18). This permission is granted by a collective decision of the Doctoral Advisory/Dissertation Committee and the departmental Graduate Committee.
Students must maintain a 3.5 GPA to proceed to the writing of the dissertation.
The qualifying examination, which will come at the end of the 33-39 hours of course work (including a 3 hour PhD readings course and a 3-hour PhD seminar), will include two parts:
- A written examination composed of questions from the major and minor fields.
- An oral examination given no later than one month after the completion of the written examination.
If a student fails only one part of the written examination, he/she may be required to retake only that part. If a student fails all three fields, he/she must retake the entire examination.
Students will register for a minimum of 12 hours of dissertation credit (HIS 799 Dissertation) while researching and writing the dissertation.