Doctoral Program

First awarded by the University of Maryland in 1937, the doctorate in History is conferred for superior achievement in historical research, writing, and interpretation. The degree is an essential component in the training of professional historians. The most significant requirement of the Ph.D. degree program is the dissertation, an original and noteworthy contribution to historical knowledge. In anticipation of dissertation research, students spend several years mastering bibliographical tools, research and writing methods, and general, special, and minor fields of study.

Admission to the Ph.D. program is offered to highly qualified applicants holding at least a bachelor's degree, normally in history or a related discipline. Application and admissions procedures are described on the Department's website.

The length of time required to complete the doctoral degree varies by field of study and student. Students admitted with a bachelor's degree might expect to complete the program in five-to-six years of full-time study. Students entering with a Master of Arts degree might expect to complete the program in four-to-five years of full-time study. The degree must be completed in nine years.  Students typically take two years of course work, prepare for and take language exams (if required for their field) and comprehensive exams, and then work on the dissertation.

General Requirements

General program requirements are as follows:

  1. Course work in the major and minor fields
  2. Language examinations if required by field
  3. Comprehensive examinations
  4. Dissertation prospectus
  5. Advancement to candidacy
  6. The dissertation

Each of these program requirements must be met before the Ph.D. can be conferred.