Jan 25, 2022  
2021-2022 Graduate Bulletin 
2021-2022 Graduate Bulletin

History PhD


The Ph.D. in 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 History can provide career opportunities in academia, state and federal governments, and museums and archives.

Admission Requirements

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.

Retention Policy

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 fifty-four (54) semester hours of course credit beyond the baccalaureate degree
  • A reading knowledge of one world 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. 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: doctoral students must demonstrate proficiency in a major field and two minor fields of history. Doctoral students will select their major and minor fields in consultation with the student's major professor and the Director of Graduate Studies for History.

Comprehensive Exam Committee: the student will assemble a committee consisting of at least two faculty members from the major field and one from each of the two minor fields. This committee will conduct the comprehensive examination.

Dissertation Committee: after passing the comprehensive exam, the student will assemble a five-member dissertation committee. The dissertation committee will approve the dissertation prospectus and the final dissertation. The dissertation committee may include an outside reader who has the required qualifications to serve on a doctoral dissertation committee.

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. 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 major field and two minor fields.