Course Requirements


The Ph.D. in History requires a total of 66 post-baccalaureate credits, 18 of which must be History 690: Doctoral Thesis credits. 

Students entering the program with an approved M.S. degree already in hand may count up to 30 "considered" credits from their previous degree toward their Ph.D. in History.

The combined M.A./Ph.D. program is detailed in the History Graduate Handbook. This option is available to students who have received a B.A. degree and would like to receive an M.A. degree en route to a Ph.D. Typically this is a five year program.

All students are suggested to take History 503, History of America Before 1860 (if focusing on 

US History); History 505, U.S. History 1860 to the Present (if focusing on US History); History 512, Topics in World History; and History 540, Historical Methods.  

Students will declare a Major Field of emphasis and two Minor Fields.

Major Fields are:


  • History of Science and Technology
  • Environmental History
  • U.S. History

Minor Fields are:

  • Gender
  • Race
  • Class
  • American West Science and technology
  • Environmental History
  • Labor and economy
  • Religious studies
  • Imperialism
  • Historical theories and methods
  • Comparative frontiers
  • Philosophy of science
  • Public History
  • Museum Studies
  • Students are welcome to develop additional subfields in consultation with their dissertation committee


Public History Option
The Ph.D. program in History offers students the opportunity to obtain an area of concentration in Public History. To obtain the area of concentration, students are expected to take an additional 12 credits, including 3 credits of History 502, Public History and Material Culture, and at least 9 credits of internship, History 598, which can be completed after the student takes his or her comprehensive exams.

Mastery of Subject Matter

Mastery of the major field will be determined by:

  1. The Dissertation
  2. The Dissertation Defense
  3. A record of excellence in all departmental courses
  4. A four-hour written exam generated by the faculty in the major field, generally the student's committee chair
  5. Two two-hour exams generated by other members of the committee
  6. A two-hour final oral examination with the student's committee

Foreign Language Requirement

All students are required to demonstrate reading knowledge of at least one foreign language as determined by an examination administered by the Department.


For more information on the Ph.D. option, please see the History Graduate Handbook.