Jul 21, 2024  
2020-2021 Undergraduate and Graduate Catalog 
2020-2021 Undergraduate and Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

History, Ph.D.

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About the History Doctoral Program

The Doctor of Philosophy in History Program requires sixty (60) hours of graduate coursework beyond the B.A./B.S. degree. At least thirty (30) of those hours must be taken at Texas Tech University. All Department of History graduate courses are face-to-face (no online courses are offered).

Program Requirements

Doctoral students must choose one major geographic field and two minor geographic fields of study from among the following three fields: United States, Europe, and World. Students will complete thirty (30) hours of graduate coursework in their major geographic field and nine (9) hours of graduate coursework in each minor geographic field. At least three (3) hours of that coursework in each geographic field must be in historiography. In addition, all doctoral students must complete HIST 5304 - The Nature of History , six (6) hours in HIST 6301 - Research Methods Seminar , and three (3) hours of an elective HIST graduate course. Doctoral students are not allowed to take more than four (4) HIST 7000-level courses (12 semester credit hours) toward the degree requirements.

The 60 hours are distributed as follows:

  • Geographic Major Field: 30 semester credit hours (including 3 hours of “historiography”)
  • Geographic Minor Field: 9 semester credit hours (including 3 hours of “historiography”)
  • Geographic Minor Field: 9 semester credit hours (including 3 hours of “historiography”)
  • HIST 5304 - The Nature of History  3 semester credit hours
  • HIST 6301 - Research Methods Seminar  6 semester credit hours
  • Elective HIST graduate course: 3 semester credit hours

Other Doctoral Program Requirements

Foreign Language Requirement

If not satisfied at the Master of Arts level, proficiency in one foreign language is required of all candidates for the Ph.D. degree. Proficiency in a language is defined according to the following parameters:

  • Native speaker status as certified by the Graduate Studies Committee
  • Attainment of a grade of C- or better in a fourth semester undergraduate course (in Texas numeration, the 2302 course)
  • Attainment of a grade of B- or better in the second semester of an accelerated graduate language course (in Texas numeration the 5342 course)
  • Other class work equivalent to the above, OR
  • demonstration of an equivalent level of competency through an approved examination.

Comprehensive Examination

Doctoral students who have finished their required graduate coursework in history (and in an outside minor field if they select one) are required to take a comprehensive examination in four select fields of study. All graduate coursework should normally be completed in the semester prior to the comprehensive exam. In the comprehensive examination, the student is expected to demonstrate a very high level of factual knowledge, an insight into problems of meaning and interpretation, and a command of the historiography and literature of the fields selected. The comprehensive exam consists of two separate steps: written examinations and an oral examination. For the written portion, a student will be examined in four fields of study aligned with their research interests and in preparation for their dissertation. The four fields are comprised of:

  • Field 1: Geographic Major Emphasis 1
  • Field 2: Geographic Major Emphasis 2
  • Field 3: Geographic Minor
  • Field 4: Thematic


After completion of the comprehensive exams, doctoral students will complete a dissertation. The Ph.D. dissertation should represent a contribution to the discipline, either as a reevaluation of a subject or as an original contribution to knowledge. It should demonstrate a high-level command of research techniques and the ability to organize materials and present them clearly. The chairperson of the student’s dissertation committee is primarily responsible for directing the research and writing of the dissertation, with the other members acting in an advisory capacity. A defense of the dissertation is held after the committee has approved the final working draft.

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