The Ph.D. in United States History program provides the opportunity for graduate students to work closely with nationally recognized scholars in their fields. The skills history teaches—critical reading, advanced research, the ways in which evidence can be used to create arguments, superb writing, and oral presentation proficiency—are essential to any number of careers. A Ph.D. in American/United States History can provide career opportunities in academia, state and federal governments, and museums and archives.
For admission to the doctoral program, the school requires a minimum grade point average of 3.5 on all graduate work, GRE general test scores, transcripts, three letters of recommendation, a statement of academic objectives (500 to 1,000 words), and an example of written work (up to 25 pages). Three letters of recommendation should be from people qualified to assess the applicant's readiness for graduate study. Normally, applicants for the Ph.D. program will have completed an M.A. in History and written a thesis.
Students with perceived academic deficiencies may be admitted conditionally. To remove the conditional status, students must meet Graduate School requirements, which are described in the Admission Requirements and Procedures section of the Bulletin, and they must satisfy all additional requirements stipulated by the school director and Dean of Graduate School.
In addition to the Graduate School criteria for regular admission, students whose native language is not English must score at least 90 on the TOEFL iBT Examination. The school presumes that applicants who have fulfilled these requirements possess an adequate knowledge of English. If, upon their arrival at the university, it is determined that they do not possess an adequate command of English, the school reserves the right to require appropriate remedial courses.
Members of all underrepresented groups are strongly encouraged to apply.
The School of Humanities has a retention policy more stringent than the general policy of the graduate school. The program's policy is published in its Handbook. Students should consult the Handbook for a description of the policy.
See Admission Requirements and Procedures for other requirements.
Program Requirements and Academic Policies
All students are expected to successfully complete the following requirements:
- A minimum of eighty-four (84) semester hours of course credit beyond the baccalaureate degree, including historiography courses relevant to the student's major and minor fields
- A reading knowledge of one foreign language
- Proficiency in a research tool, consisting of training in an appropriate discipline or research skill (or a reading knowledge of an additional foreign language)
- A dissertation, which will confer twelve (12) hours credit (HIS 898) inclusive of the minimum hourly requirements
- A comprehensive written and oral examination
- A dissertation defense is required
- A 3.0 GPA on is required for graduation
Doctoral students are prohibited from taking more than three 500-level history courses and no more than four throughout their graduate careers. Exceptions to the policy may be made only under unusual circumstances and with the approval of the program's graduate coordinator and the student's major professor.
Fields: candidates seeking a doctorate must demonstrate proficiency in their major field of study and two minor fields of history. More information on minor fields is available in the program's Handbook. For the second minor field, students may develop a minor field outside history in the humanities or social sciences.
Doctoral Committee: the student's program will be directed by a five-member graduate committee, consisting of three faculty members from the major field and two from the secondary emphasis (minor) area fields. This committee will approve the dissertation prospectus and conduct the comprehensive examination. Additional details are available from the program's Handbook or the graduate coordinator.
Dissertation: a dissertation is expected to be a mature and competent piece of writing, embodying the result of significant and original research on a subject chosen by the candidate and approved by the major professor and the graduate committee. Upon completion and approval of the dissertation, the candidate is expected to stand satisfactorily a defense of the dissertation and the field in which the dissertation lies.
For more information, see the program's Handbook, General Degree Requirements and General Academic Information .
Course Requirements (54-84 hours)
The PhD student should successfully complete additional hours of graduate course work in the primary area of U. S. history and additional hours in two minor concentrations.