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History Graduate Degrees

The Ph.D. degree consists of thirty-three credit hours at the graduate level. At least twenty-four of these credits must be taken in the Department of History (courses cross-listed between History and other departments count towards this twenty-four credit rule), and in most cases, these courses are at the 700-level or above.

All students are required to take History 805, The Nature of History in their first semester at KU. Ph.D. students must also take a minimum of three historiographical colloquia and two History 802 research seminars (in the second and third semesters of study, respectively).

Students are expected to refine their Program of Study as they move through the graduate program. Our program privileges advanced training in History that prepares and encourages students to research and write “across and between” conventionally-defined historiographical fields. To develop such a research program, students read in geographic, chronological, and thematic fields. In consultation with their advisor(s), they define one major and two minor fields.

Rather than traditional comprehensive exams, Ph.D. students develop a Professional Portfolio, which they submit and defend in an oral examination in their fourth semester of study. They then compose a dissertation prospectus and conduct an oral defense in their fifth semester of study. In the following semesters, they research and write the doctoral dissertation, which, upon successful defense, leads to the conferral of the Ph.D.

For more specific details about the graduate curriculum and the above-listed benchmarks, see the Graduate Handbook.



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