Graduate Field Requirements

Learning objectives for the Graduate Field of History, PhD degree

When students complete the PhD, they should be able to:

  • Make an original and substantial contribution to the discipline, producing publishable scholarship.
  • Have a broad knowledge of theory and research across three concentrations/sub-fields (which may include one minor concentration from another discipline outside history).
  • Demonstrate an in-depth knowledge of one major historical concentration/subfield.
  • Communicate research findings effectively in written and in spoken presentations.
  • Demonstrate effective skills in undergraduate teaching.
  • Uphold professional and ethical standards in the discipline.

History Field Requirements

The Graduate Field of History offers advanced study in the following areas of concentration: 

African history, American history, ancient Greek history, ancient history, ancient Roman history, early modern European history, English history, French history, German history, history of science, Korean history, Latin American history, medieval Chinese history, medieval history, modern Chinese history, modern European history, modern Japanese history, modern Middle Eastern, premodern Islamic history, premodern Japanese history, Renaissance history, Russian history, South Asian history and Southeast Asian history.

Within these broader categories, our faculty have a wide range of expertise in social, cultural, political, and intellectual history. These include the study of gender and sexuality, race and ethnicity, migration, labor, diplomatic relations, foreign policy, and science and technology.

The program is designed to accommodate the specific needs, backgrounds, and objectives of individual students.  Thus, upon entering the program the Ph.D. student chooses three faculty members to serve on the Special committee. The committee and the student fashion the program of courses and advanced research each student will pursue.

To encourage flexibility, general requirements are kept to a minimum.  For the doctorate, these include:

  • taking seven graduate-level seminars including History 7090, Introduction to the Graduate Study of History
  • demonstrating proficiency in two languages other than English (for those studying African and American history, only one foreign language is required)
  • completing the Graduate School's residence requirement of 6 semesters of full-time study at a satisfactory level of accomplishment; teaching for at least one year (normally as a teaching assistant)
  • passing the "Q" examination early in the second semester of study; the written and oral "Admission to Candidacy" examination after completion of formal study (the "A" exam)
  • completing the doctoral dissertation and defending it in a final examination.

Incoming Ph.D. students who hold a master's degree from another university must still complete the requirements listed above.  No formal transfer credit is given, but the Special Committee normally takes previous graduate work in history into account, which may speed the student's progress toward the doctorate.