Get your PhD in History

Since plans of doctoral study are highly individualized, students do not always move through the program on the exact same schedule. Below are the general program requirements for completing the PhD in History.

Doctoral students must complete 72 semester hours (s.h.) of graduate credit (up to 30 s.h. may transfer from MA work at UI or elsewhere), including the following required coursework:

  • HIST:6002, First Year Graduate Colloquium
  • HIST:6003, History Theory and Interpretation
  • HIST:6004, Comps Seminar I
  • HIST:6005, Comps Seminar II
  • Seven HIST Reading Courses, numbered 6000 or above

All doctoral students will complete a qualifying research paper and those entering without an MA degree will write an additional research paper.

All doctoral students will demonstrate a reading proficiency in a foreign language.  This requirement will align with the individual’s area of study.

Comprehensive exams are crafted based on geographic and thematic fields of study.  Three fields of study make up the comps exam and are meant to demonstrate a breadth of knowledge that will also be examined by a committee during an oral defense. The first two fields of study will have a written examination supervised by the advisor and another faculty member.  The third field will consist of either a teaching option for those who want to purse work in Academia or a non-teaching project option (public history, digital history, etc.) for those not wanting to pursue a collegiate teaching position.

A research-based dissertation and oral defense is the final step of the doctoral program.

The PhD program generally takes 5 years for those with an MA and 7 years for those starting with a BA. 

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