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Graduate Program

PhD Program

PhD students adopt programs of study with four fields or spheres, two of which will be teaching fields and two of which will be research fields.

Teaching fields are ones that qualify students to teach basic introductory or survey courses. They may be national, regional, or global in scope. Examples include US I, Southeast Asia, Western Civilization. Students will generally acquire their knowledge through Independent Reading courses and any undergraduate courses they chose to audit. Students may obtain reading lists for teaching fields from faculty members’ websites.

Research fields are specialized and concentrated interests that should support dissertation work. These normally will be met through 400-level courses and Directed Readings courses. Examples of research fields are the Enlightenment, African-American migration, or history of psychology. At least one of these fields must be transnational or comparative in nature. Students may find offered research fields and associated reading lists on faculty members’ individual pages.

Program Requirements

The PhD degree requires 90 hours of graduate credit beyond the bachelor’s degree. Students entering the program with an MA degree from another institution may receive up to 15 hours history credit for that degree.

Below is a general outline of the PhD program requirements:

  • First Year
    • HIS 500: Problems in Historical Analysis (fall)
    • Two additional 400- or 500-level courses (fall)
    • HIS 501: Worlds of Inquiry (spring)
    • Two additional 400- or 500-level courses (spring)
    • Complete either a teaching or research field
    • Complete at least one research paper
    • Qualifying Examination in Research Field I (spring)
  • Second Year
    • Three courses per term that prepare students for research and teaching field examinations and to hone their research and writing skills
    • Complete at least one research paper
    • Qualifying Examination in Research Field II
  • Third Year
    • Examinations in the teaching field
    • Writing and defense of the dissertation prospectus
    • Serve as teaching assistants in the fall and spring semesters
  • Fourth Year and Beyond
    • Work on dissertation
    • Teach a one-semester course

For more detailed information about these requirements see the PhD handbook.

Language Requirement

Candidates in American history are not required to pass language examinations except in cases where the student’s prospective thesis or dissertation advisor determines that language skills are essential to carry out the student’s proposed thesis or dissertation. PhD candidates not in American history must pass two language examinations.

For more information about the language requirement, see the PhD handbook.

For more information on our PhD program, see the PhD handbook or fill out this form.