College of Arts and Sciences

Department of History

Degree Requirements

(applicable to students enrolled prior to Fall 2010)

Doctor of Philosophy in History

Checklist: Ph.D. in History

Students will present themselves for preliminary examinations in 3 fields. Students may configure their preliminary examination fields in one of 2 ways, in consultation with a major professor. Choose either Track I or Track II.

Track I is designed to train generalists and includes a primary field and 2 secondary fields. The primary field will normally be the one in which Ph.D. candidates complete their doctoral dissertations.

Track II is designed to focus more specifically on a research field and includes a primary field, a general field related to the primary field, and a secondary field that may be drawn from either the general fields available for Track I or primary fields available in Track II.  As in Track I, the primary field will normally be the one in which Ph.D. candidates complete their doctoral dissertations. The Public History Track and the World History Track have their own specific requirements (see Public History or World History).

Track I

Primary and Secondary Fields of Study:

*United States
*Public (a coordinate primary field taken with U.S. history; see Public History Track)
*Early Europe: Ancient Greece to 1450
*Early Modern Europe: 1450 to 1815
*Modern Europe: 1815 to the present
*World (see World History Track)
*Modern East Asia: 1800 to present
Modern South Asia
Latin America: Colonial period to the present
Middle East and Islamic World
Women's History
Global Environmental History
War and Peace Studies

Only starred fields may be chosen as primary fields.  Any exception must be approved by the major professor and the departmental Graduate Studies Committee and should be requested no later than the student's first semester in the doctoral program.

Track II

Primary Fields of Study:
United States Foreign Relations
American West
Modern France
Modern Germany
Modern Britain
Modern Russia
Atlantic World (World Track or Early Modern Europe)
Modern China
Modern Japan

All primary fields in Track II must be taken in conjunction with the appropriate general field. The major professor may require that students in Track II take only seminars in their primary field and field courses in their general and secondary fields.

General Program Requirements: The program consists of 72 credit hours beyond the bachelor's degree. At least 34 credit hours must be devoted to the core program of 400- and 500-level courses and must pertain to the student's chosen primary, general, and secondary fields. The student must file a program with the Graduate School by the end of the second semester of enrollment in the doctoral program. The program establishes the student's committee, outlines a course of study, and proposes a dissertation topic.

Required courses within the core program for students with primary fields in U.S. history and public history must include 1 seminar in the primary field, 4 field courses in the primary field, Historiography (History 580) and Teaching History in College (History 595, 1–2 credit hours). Students in U.S. history or public history are required to take American Historiography (History 581). For students in all other primary fields, required courses within the core program must include 2 seminars (at least one in the primary field), 2 field courses (at least one in the primary field), Historiography (History 580) and Teaching History in College (History 595, 1–2 credit hours). Pertinent courses taken for the master's degree may be included in the 34‑credit core program. Nine (9) credit hours may be taken outside the history department. All students enrolled in at least 6 credits in a given semester must have a minimum of 3 credits in seminars, field courses, or research at the 500 or 800 levels. The remaining credit hours in the doctoral program must consist of a minimum of 20 hours of Doctoral Research, Dissertation, and/or Examination (History 800), pertinent courses listed in the Graduate School Bulletin, a maximum of 9 credit hours of non‑conjoint course work at the 300 or 400 level (of which a maximum of 6 credits may be taken at the 300 level), approved by the major professor, and allowed transfer credits for work taken elsewhere beyond the bachelor's degree. Students transferring hours from another school may use up to a maximum of ½ of the graded credits for the master's and doctoral degrees (more info). If required courses are not available during the student's tenure in the program, appropriate substitutes may be taken (History 597, independent readings, etc.) with the approval of the major professor and the director of graduate studies.

Foreign Language: The language requirement for the Ph.D. shall consist of the language(s) stipulated by the major professor, with the understanding that a reading knowledge of at least one foreign language will be required. Continued funding is contingent upon passing the language examination by the end of the third semester of the doctoral program. All language requirements must be fulfilled prior to the scheduling of preliminary examinations (see Language Examination Guidelines).

Preliminary Examinations: Upon satisfying the core program and foreign language requirements, students will be eligible to take their preliminary examinations. Candidates are required to present themselves for examinations in 3 fields of study. Students should select their 3 preliminary examination fields in consultation with their major professor during their first semester of study. Examinations in the 3 fields will be both written and oral. Students are expected to take their preliminary examinations no later than their fifth semester of full-time enrollment in the doctoral program. Examinations will be given during the fourth and fifth weeks of the fall and spring semesters. The director of graduate studies will coordinate the development of both the written and oral stages of the preliminary examination and will be responsible for scheduling them.

The Written Examination: In Track I, the preliminary examination in the primary field will consist of two 4‑hour written examinations; the 2 secondary fields will each be covered by a 4‑hour written examination. In Track II, there will be a 4-hour preliminary examination in the primary field, an 8-hour exam in the general field, and a 4-hour exam in the secondary field. The professor or professors responsible for composing the written examinations will determine their nature and scope. The primary field ordinarily provides the intellectual basis for the dissertation and the student's later emphasis in teaching and research. The student is expected to achieve depth and breadth of scholarly sophistication and mastery in this field. In the general and secondary fields, the student is ordinarily expected to show broad and comprehensive knowledge in order to support the ability to teach undergraduate courses.

All 3 portions of the written examination must be passed before the student may proceed to the oral preliminary examination. The examination in each of the 3 fields will be judged separately. After all written examinations have been taken, the director of graduate studies will convene a meeting of representatives from all the examining fields. The meeting will produce a report of the student's performance in each field (pass or fail), and its participants will choose examiners from fields not represented on the student's doctoral committee to attend the oral examination. The major professor will give notice of the results of the examination to the student. Prior to this notification, each examiner is strictly enjoined to maintain absolute confidentiality with respect to the student's performance on the examination.

Students who fail part of their examinations will be required to retake only the part failed before proceeding to the oral examination. Second examinations are a final opportunity and may not ordinarily be scheduled sooner than 3 months after the date of the first written examination.

The Oral Examination: The oral preliminary examination will be conducted in accordance with the Policies and Procedures of the Graduate School and will be approximately 2 hours in length. The major professor, members of the doctoral committee, and examiners from fields not represented on the doctoral committee must participate in the examination. Other faculty may participate as well. Ordinarily, three faculty must be present, including 2 from the primary field (one being the major professor), and one from each secondary field.

The oral examination must be held during the same academic term in which the written examination is passed, except in the case of an oral reexamination. The history department will not approve and forward to the Graduate School requests to schedule the oral preliminary examination until the director of graduate studies has confirmed that the student has passed the written examination. Because the Graduate School requires 2 weeks advance notice to schedule the oral preliminary examination, there will be an interval of at least 2 weeks between such notification and the taking of the oral examination.

The Doctoral Dissertation: The doctoral dissertation must be an original work of historical research in the candidate's primary field.  The committee will advise the student on all aspects of the preparation and presentation of the dissertation in accordance with the Policies and Procedures of the Graduate School. Students must schedule a D‑1 meeting with the committee by the fifth semester of enrollment, at which the student will present a dissertation proposal for the committee's approval. If necessary such meetings will continue until such approval is achieved. The major professor (chair of the committee) will at that point file a report on the proposal for the student's file and provide the student with a copy.

When the dissertation is written and approved by the committee, the candidate must schedule an oral dissertation defense. The dissertation defense will be conducted in accordance with the Policies and Procedures of the Graduate School. The student must enroll for the minimum hours as specified by the Graduate School during the semester in which the final examination is held. After passing the final examination, the student must provide a hardbound copy of the dissertation to the history department. Any departmental expenses incurred in submitting the completed dissertation (office printing, xeroxing, and thesis binding) will be charged to the student's account.

Academic Standards: The academic standards set forth in the Policies and Procedures of the Graduate School will be strictly observed. Ph.D. students who fall below a 3.3 cumulative grade point average in any 2 semesters will be permanently barred from further enrollment. The director of graduate studies will send a letter informing the dean of the Graduate School that the student will be barred from further enrollment in graduate study in history and stating the reasons for the decision. A copy will be sent to the student. Only grades of B or better will be accepted for program credit.
Department of History, PO Box 644030, Washington State University, Pullman, WA 99164-4030
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