Graduate ProgramPh.D in History

The History Department’s Ph.D. program is a vibrant, engaged intellectual community of scholars and students. We work across all historical periods and methodologies. On this page you’ll find information about the program and its requirements.

Program Requirements

Required Courses:

Doctoral students must take at least eleven courses in the History Department. Students must complete their course work by the end of the fifth semester in the doctoral program.

 

For Doctoral Students in U.S. history:

  • Sequence of 2 foundation seminars in U.S. history:  History 8101 (US to 1865) and 8111 (US since 1865)
  • 1 methodology seminar (History 8714), normally to be taken in the first year of study;
  • 2 readings seminars that address a series of methodological and interpretive debates; one of these must be taken in the first year;
  • 2 research seminars in which a substantial piece of original research is produced; one of these must be taken in the first year, preferably in the second semester;
  • 2 readings seminars in the secondary or “outside” field.

For Doctoral Students in European history:

  • 1 foundation seminar (History 8301)
  • 1 methodology seminar (History 8714), normally taken in the first year of study;
  • 2 readings seminars that address a series of methodological and interpretive debates; one of these must be taken in the first year;
  • 2 research seminars in which a substantial piece of original research is produced;

◦                          one of these must be taken in the first year, preferably in the second semester

◦                          at least one of the two research papers must be based on primary research in a language other than English; this does not apply to students writing dissertations on the history of the United Kingdom

  • 2 readings seminars in the secondary or outside field

For Doctoral Students in Asian, African, Latin American history:

  • 1 foundation seminar (History 8501, History 8701)
  • 1 methodology seminar (History 8714), normally taken in the first year of study;
  • 2 readings seminars that address a series of methodological and interpretive debates; one of these must be taken in the first year;
  • 2 research seminars in which a substantial piece of original research is produced;

one of these must be taken in the first year, preferably in the second semester

at least one of the two research papers must be based on primary research in a language other than English; this does not apply to students writing dissertations on the history of the United Kingdom

  • 2 readings courses in the secondary or “outside” field.

 

Electives:

Beyond their required coursework, students can fulfill their credit requirements with electives from the courses offered by the department. Students are limited to one Independent Studies course, except by permission of the Director of Graduate Studies.

Doctoral students may elect to take courses outside the department, but these courses will only count for credit with the prior approval of the student’s advisor and of the Director of Graduate Studies.

 

Language Requirement:

All students must show competence in at least one foreign language. To demonstrate competence, a student must pass a short translation exam administered (in most cases) by the University’s language departments. The dissertation adviser will determine whether competence in a second language is required. The language requirement must be satisfied prior to taking the preliminary examinations. For doctoral students in American history, the language exam requirement may be waived at the discretion of the adviser and with the approval of the DGS.

 

Language courses do not count as degree credits.

 

Non-Temple Credits:

Students who enter Temple’s doctoral program with an M.A. in history may petition to have up to two courses of their M.A. applied to the requirements for the Ph.D. program. Students can receive up to two course releases for graduate level work done prior to their matriculation at Temple. In order to be considered, students need to submit the following material to the Director of Graduate Studies: 1. Course syllabus; 2. All written work submitted for the course; 3. An official transcript from the University where the course was completed. The student must have received a letter grade of B or higher (no pass/fail grade), in order to be considered.

 

Enrollment Requirements Beyond Course Work:

It must be remembered that students must maintain continuous enrollment at Temple University until the degree is completed unless a leave of absence has been granted. The following enrollment requirements apply once students have completed their course requirements:

  • HIS 9994: all students who have completed their coursework but not yet passed the preliminary examination enroll in HIS 9994. Only one credit is required for the semester. Students are automatically considered full-time with one credit of 9994.
  • HIS 9998: Students who have completed their preliminary exams but have not yet defended their prospectus will enroll for one credit of HIS 9998 (sufficient for full-time status).
  • HIS 9898: Students who have advanced to candidacy are required to enroll in at least one Dissertation Colloquium, History 9898. This course can be taken in any semester between the prospectus defense and the dissertation defense.. In exceptional circumstances this requirement can be waived on petition to the Director of Graduate Studies.
  • HIS 9999: Students who have advanced to candidacy and are not enrolled in HIS 9898 need to register for HIS 9999. Doctoral candidates must complete a minimum of six credits of research (HIS 9898 or HIS 9999) after achieving degree candidacy and before graduation. University policy states that no student may be classified as a full-time student for more than six semesters while completing a doctoral dissertation.

 

Preliminary Examination Committee:

In consultation with their permanent advisor, Ph.D. students will select the members of their Preliminary Examination Committee in the second year of their study. With the approval of their primary advisor (who serves as the chair of this committee), students may select one faculty member from outside the Department of History. Once this committee has approved a student’s program, the student’s primary advisor will notify the graduate secretary in writing of the composition of the Preliminary Examination Committee.

 

Preliminary Examination:

Students must complete at least 10 courses before taking the preliminary examinations. Doctoral students are required to take preliminary examinations in three fields. One field must be a general area (i.e., U.S., or Europe,); the second field should be designed to underpin and support the dissertation research (i.e., Twentieth-Century American Political History); the third field should be geographically distinct from the first two fields or geographically broader than those two fields. The parameters of each examination field must be approved by the examination committee and the Director of Graduate Studies in advance of the examination. Students must meet with their advisor and field examiners by the end of their second semester in the program to secure approval of the field and the reading lists. Students in the American history general field are required to have two professors oversee the general field exam. For students in other areas, while the exam committee may consist of one member for each field, students are strongly urged to have two professors oversee the general area exam.

The preliminary examination will be a written take-home essay. Examinees will have up to two weeks in which to complete it. During that time they will be expected to write an original essay approximately 2500-3500 words in length for each of the three fields on the examination. Examinees should obtain the questions for the examination from the Graduate Secretary and return the completed examination to that same person. Examinees are expected to provide the Graduate Secretary with an electronic and a hard copy of the examination.

 

With the written examination students need to demonstrate their mastery of the field, their ability to explain and evaluate interpretations, and their ability to defend their own interpretation. Bibliographic citations to specific interpretations are expected.

 

Satisfactory completion of the Ph.D. preliminary examination requires receiving passing grades in all three fields.

 

Upon passing the written exams, students will be orally examined by their committee. The oral exam should be scheduled within 30 days of the beginning of the written exam. The oral exam will be two hours and students may be asked to defend or expand upon their written exams; students may also be asked to discuss other issues pertinent to their prepared fields of study. To pass the exam all members of the committee must approve of the student’s performance.

The Preliminary Examination must be passed within six semesters after matriculation. Failure to complete the course work and take the preliminary examination within six semesters may be considered grounds for dismissal from the program.

 

For doctoral students in  American History who enter the Ph.D. program in the Fall, 2014, the following preliminary examination structure applies:

 

All doctoral students in American history will take a qualifying exam in American history at the beginning of their third semester of study.

 

The qualifying exam will be a take-home exam consisting of one synthetic question covering all of American history.  Ph.D. students will take the exam at the beginning of their third semester.  The exam will offer students the choice of two questions.  Students will have one week to write an essay of no more than 6,000 words.  The exam will be set by an exam committee of three to five graduate faculty in American history appointed by the DGS.   The examination questions will be based on a United States field list of 60 books that doctoral students in American history will be expected to have read by the time of the qualifying exam. The exam committee, newly appointed each year, will update the reading list annually.  That list will be distributed to incoming doctoral students in American history when they accept admission to the program. At the end of the fall and spring semesters, the exam committee will be responsible for conducting a workshop with first-year doctoral students in which the expectations of the qualifying exam are discussed.  The exam will be graded blindly by the exam committee. Doctoral students who twice fail the qualifying exam will be dismissed from the program.

 

Doctoral students who pass the qualifying exam will proceed to the general exam, which will consist of three fields.

 

One field must be geographically distinct from American history (such as Latin American history). The geographically distinct field reading list will be limited to 50 books or article equivalents.

 

The other two fields are research fields, in a period or methodology, such as Early American, Early Republic, environmental, foreign relations, gender, military, public, or urban history.  Each research field will be limited to 70 books or article equivalents.

 

The general exam for doctoral students in American history will be an oral exam. The oral exam will be two hours long; students will be asked to discuss issues pertinent to their prepared fields of study. To pass the exam all members of the committee must approve of the student’s performance.”  Students may retake the oral exam if they fail it.  After failing twice, students are dismissed from the program.

 

Doctoral students in American history must complete the general exam by the end of their fourth semester.

 

 

For additional information, click on “The Comprehensive Examination: Strategies for Success

 

Dissertation Committee:

After passing the preliminary exam and in consultation with the primary adviser, students will select the members of their dissertation committee. The committee will consist of the primary adviser and two additional graduate faculty members of the history department. Further, either during the process of writing the dissertation prospectus, or at some time following its approval, students, again in consultation with their primary advisor, should select a qualified outside reader of the dissertation. The outside reader may either be on the faculty of a Temple University department other than history, or a member of the faculty of a college/university other than Temple. Once s/he has agreed to serve in the capacity, s/he will be added to the Doctoral Advisory Committee, which will now be called the Dissertation Examining Committee. The total membership of the Dissertation Examining Committee may exceed four faculty (the minimum being the three Temple Department of History graduate faculty who approved the prospectus plus the outside reader). Regardless of the size of the Dissertation Examining Committee, however, a majority of its members must be Temple University History Department graduate faculty.

 

Prospectus:

All doctoral candidates must prepare a dissertation prospectus in close consultation with the advisor prior to advancing to Ph.D. candidacy. This document, usually about 15 pages in length, must achieve the following goals:

  • identify the major research question of the dissertation.
  • situate the dissertation in the existing scholarly literature.
  • lay out a coherent research strategy that identifies the archives and sources that will be used.
  • include a timeline for research and writing of the dissertation.

The prospectus defense is a public event, open to History Department faculty and doctoral students. At this event, the doctoral candidate makes a brief presentation lasting approximately 10 minutes, outlining the contents of the prospectus. A copy of the dissertation prospectus is made available at least one week before the defense for examination by the faculty. During the defense, faculty and students engage the candidate in vigorous conversation about the proposed project.

At the end of the defense, the candidate’s Doctoral Advisory Committee meets privately to vote on advancing the student to Ph.D. candidacy. The Doctoral Advisory Committee is formed to oversee the student’s doctoral research and is comprised of at least three Graduate Faculty members from the History Department. The student’s primary advisor functions as the Chair of this committee and is responsible for overseeing and guiding the student’s progress, coordinating the responses of committee members, and informing the student of her/his academic progress.

 

Dissertation:

The doctoral dissertation is an original scholarly study that makes a significant contribution to the field of History. It should expand existing knowledge and demonstrate the student’s familiarity with research methods and a mastery of her/his primary area of interest. Dissertations should be rigorously investigated; uphold the ethics and standards of the historical profession; and demonstrate the student’s ability to place discoveries in her/his primary field in a broader context. All dissertations must be prepared in accordance with the guidelines of the Dissertation Handbook, which is available from the Graduate School.

The student should arrange with her/his primary advisor (i.e., the Chair of the Doctoral Advisory Committee) and the other members of the Doctoral Advisory Committee a procedure for submitting draft chapters for review. Further, either during the process of writing the dissertation prospectus, or at some time following its approval, the student, again in consultation with her/his primary advisor, should select a qualified outside reader of the dissertation. The outside reader may either be on the faculty of a Temple University department other than History or a member of the faculty of a college/university other than Temple. Once s/he has agreed to serve in the capacity, s/he will be added to the Doctoral Advisory Committee, which then becomes the Dissertation Examining Committee. The total membership of the Dissertation Examining Committee may exceed four faculty: the minimum being the three Temple Department of History Graduate Faculty who approved the prospectus plus the outside reader. Regardless of the size of the Dissertation Examining Committee, however, a majority of its members must be Temple University History Department Graduate Faculty.

 

From time to time, the roster of a committee has to be changed. Students who wish to change the composition of their committee should send a letter to the Director of Graduate Studies requesting that such change be made and providing the rationale. Once the DGS has approved the change, the student must complete the required form, acquire the necessary signatures, and submit the form to the Graduate Secretary.

 

Once a majority of the Dissertation Examining Committee, including its Chair, agrees that the written dissertation is of sufficient quality to be defended, the student should arrange with the Committee a time for the oral defense to be held. S/he should then notify the Graduate Secretary when the oral defense will be scheduled. The oral defense must be publicly announced in writing at least 10 days in advance of the date of the defense and must be open to the academic community.

The Chair of the oral defense must be identified. This person must be a Temple University presidential faculty member and may not be the chair of the student’s Dissertation Examining Committee.

 

The dissertation defense is a public event, open to History Department faculty and doctoral students. At this event, the doctoral candidate makes a brief presentation of perhaps 10 minutes, outlining the main argument of the dissertation. A copy of the dissertation is made available at least one week before the defense for examination by the faculty. During the defense, faculty and students engage the candidate in vigorous conversation about the project.

 

Students must provide the Chair of the History Department with a bound copy of the final draft of the dissertation before they can receive their Ph.D. The Chair ensures that graduate students in the Department of History have access to the department’s collection of dissertations.

 

Students must submit to the CLA Dean’s office an application to graduate by the announced deadline date. Those who do not apply in time must reapply to graduate at the next commencement. Master’s and doctoral degrees are conferred in January and May. Students should note that there are graduation fees, as well as additional fees, associated with the handling and publication of dissertations.

 

Progress Report:

Students need to show continuous progress in the PhD program. Their progress and standing in the program are evaluated through the following methods:

 

  • Ph.D. students provide written statements of their progress to their adviser as well as to the Director of Graduate Studies annually beginning in the second semester of their second year of enrollment.
  • The Graduate Faculty of the Department of History conducts an annual review of each M.A. and Ph.D. student at the end of the spring semester. Individual faculty members summarize the progress of their advisees. Students who are not making adequate progress will receive a letter from the Director of Graduate Studies informing them of the problem and advising them of appropriate measures to correct the problem.

 

Time Limit for Degree Completion: 7 years