The Department of History offers MA and PhD programs that prepare students for careers in teaching, in historical research, and in archives, historical agencies, museums, libraries and government. The Department offers a wide array of geographically, chronologically and thematically defined courses.
At the master’s level, the Department offers four options:
- a general degree in History;
- a specialization in Public History for those interested in areas such as museum work, archival administration and historic preservation;
- a coordinated Master of Arts/Master of Library and Information Science degree program;
- a specialization in Urban Historical Studies for students who intend to pursue a PhD in Urban Studies or in Urban History.
At the doctoral level, the Department offers the PhD in History.
The Department also participates in the interdisciplinary master’s and doctoral programs in Urban Studies. For more information, see the Urban Studies page.
To be considered for admission, an applicant must meet Graduate School admission requirements plus these departmental requirements:
- A master’s degree in history or a related field
- Three letters of recommendation from persons familiar with the applicant’s intellectual achievement and potential.
- A sample of the applicant’s written work that demonstrates his or her ability to conduct historical research and/or the ability to analyze the work of others critically.
- Scores of the Graduate Record Examination.
Please visit the History department’s website for information on the History Department Application.
Credits and Courses
To earn the Ph.D., a student must have accumulated at least 54 graduate credits, at least 30 of them taken at the post-master’s level. (Precise numbers of credits and actual course requirements while in Ph.D. status will be determined after a review of the applicant’s previous coursework.) Doctoral students may not accumulate more than 6 credits in U/G courses, nor more than 6 credits in independent study without the approval of the Director of Graduate Studies. Of the 54 credits, at least 9 must be in fields other than history. No more than 18 credits in courses outside of History may be counted toward the doctoral degree.
|HIST 712||Historiography and Theory of History||3|
|or HIST 713||Historical Research Methods|
|Select two of the following:|
|Historiography and Theory of History (if not taken above)|
|Historical Research Methods (if not taken above)|
|Research Methods in Local History|
|Professional and Pedagogical Issues in History|
|History and the New Media|
|HIST 990||Dissertation Research (minimum 6 credits)||6|
|Select 12 credits of electives (may include additional dissertation credits)||12|
The Director of Graduate Studies provides initial advising for the student in selecting courses and assists in selecting a Major Professor for long-term advising; the Director may assign a provisional graduate advisor before students select a Major Professor.
Students are required to consult periodically with, and have their schedules approved by, the Director of Graduate Studies, the provisional advisor, or the Major Professor. The Major Professor helps the student to define a dissertation topic and assists the student in choosing appropriate courses and in selecting members of the student’s Preliminary Examination and Doctoral Committees. The Major Professor normally chairs the student’s Preliminary Examination and Doctoral Committees.
Foreign Language or Data Analysis Proficiency
Students must demonstrate proficiency in one or more relevant foreign languages by passing a written examination in the translation of source materials or historical analysis. If a student’s Major Professor considers proficiency in more than one language necessary to the student’s specific plan of study, exams in more than one language may be required.
With the approval of the Major Professor, a student may substitute proficiency in another skill relevant to historical study; in these cases, proficiency will be demonstrated through relevant coursework.
Students are not required to elect a minor field, but they may wish to supplement their chosen specialty in this way. Depending on the particular course array, students may need to take more than 54 credits to complete both the major and minor requirements. Those who wish to take a minor have three options:
Option A: Minor In One Field
Working with a minor professor, students take 8-12 credits in a single department, leading to a minor examination.
Option B: Interdisciplinary Minor
Students take 8-12 credits in two or more departments, selected for their relevance to the student’s area of specialty. The minor will be defined in consultation with the student’s Major Professor and the Director of Graduate Studies.
Option C: Minor in Public History
This 21-credit minor is appropriate for students planning a career in archives, museums, historic preservation, or other related specialties. It is not available to students who already have a specialization or degree in public history at the master’s level. Students in this minor are required to take 12 credits as follows:
|HIST 700||Introduction to Public History 1||3|
|HIST 701||Internship in Public History||6|
|HIST 715||Research Methods in Local History||3|
|Select 9 credits (see below)||9|
Students must take HIST 700 in the first semester of their first year.
The remaining 9 credits in public history must be selected from courses that pertain to the area of public history in which the student wishes to specialize.
For students interested in careers as archivists, electives should be selected from the following courses:
|INFOST 650||An Introduction to Modern Archives Administration||3|
|INFOST 850||Seminar in Modern Archives Administration||3|
|INFOST 753||Preserving Information Media||3|
|INFOST 750||Arrangement and Description in Archives||3|
|INFOST 759||Fieldwork in Archives and Manuscripts||3|
Students interested in careers in museums are advised to take at least three of the following courses:
|ANTHRO 720||History and Theory of Museums||3|
|ANTHRO 721||Administration and Organization of Museums||3|
|ANTHRO 722||Visitor Experience and Design in Museums||3|
|ANTHRO 723||Museum Curation||3|
Students interested in careers in historic preservation are advised to take at least three of the following:
|ARCH 560||Introduction to Historic Preservation||3|
|ARCH 760||History of Building Technology||3|
|ARCH 533||Topics in Architectural Theory:||3|
Doctoral Preliminary Examination
The doctoral preliminary examination includes written and oral components designed to demonstrate the breadth of a student’s knowledge and the ability to conduct advanced historical research. It must be taken within five years of enrollment in the Ph.D. program.
Students who fail the doctoral preliminary examination may not proceed to the dissertation. The exam may be retaken only once. The Director of Graduate Studies provides specific guidelines for selecting the Doctoral Preliminary Examination Committee and preparing the doctoral preliminary examination proposal.
The dissertation is a major piece of original research representing a substantial contribution to historical scholarship. In consultation with the Major Professor, the student chooses a dissertation committee, which must approve the prospectus. The student’s Major Professor provides guidance in preparing the prospectus and in developing and writing the dissertation.
The candidate must pass an oral examination in defense of the dissertation.
Time Limit and Residence
All degree requirements must be completed within ten years from the date of initial enrollment in the doctoral program. To meet the continuous-year portion of the residence credit requirement, students must complete 8 to 12 graduate credits in each of two consecutive semesters, or 6 or more graduate credits in each of three consecutive semesters, including summer sessions. In exceptional cases, modifications of the residence requirement may be requested, subject to the approval of the History Department and the Graduate School.