Curriculum and Degree Information

In addition to the general University requirements, students must complete the following for the Ph.D. in History:

A minimum of 60 credits of approved coursework is required for a Ph.D. in history. By the end of their first year all students will have completed their first major research paper and at least half of the Historiography Survey in their major field. Students in U.S. and Modern European history will have taken both halves of the Literature Survey. In the second year students will write a second research paper and prepare their minor fields. In the third year students will complete their coursework and write a third research paper that will, ideally, become the basis for the dissertation prospectus. 

Every student is required to take at least three research seminars (but no more than four) as part of the 60 credits required for the Ph.D. in history. No student may take all three seminars with the same professor without the approval of the Executive Officer.  Students may transfer as many as 30 credits of History graduate coursework from other institutions, but the credits may not replace required courses in the Ph.D. program, except that one of the three required seminars may be fulfilled with transfer credits, upon consultation with the Executive Officer.

Students must successfully complete two semesters of the 5-credit Historiography Survey of the major field. A second two-semester Historiography Survey will fulfill the requirements for the minor. If a Historiography Survey is not offered in the desired major or minor, students should speak to the EO about alternative arrangements. 

Students must take the First Examination in two parts - at the end of each semester in which the Historiography Survey of the major is completed.

Students must demonstrate a reading knowledge of at least one foreign language. Any additional language requirements beyond the first language requirement are determined by the student’s faculty advisor and depend on the field in which the student is majoring. The choice of languages in which the student is examined must be approved by the student’s advisor and the Executive Officer.

An oral examination before three to five members of the faculty is required. Students are examined in both their major and minor fields. The oral exam must be taken within six months after the students complete their coursework. If the six-month date falls in an off-course period, the student must take the exam no later than the beginning of the following semester. More information can be found in the student handbook. 

A dissertation proposal must be approved by three to five members of the faculty within six months of passing the Second Examination. If the six-month date falls in an off-course period, the student must take the exam no later than the beginning of the following semester.

The student is required to prepare the dissertation under the guidance of a member of the doctoral faculty. Upon completion, the dissertation will be defended at an oral examination.