Texas Tech University

The Doctor of Philosophy Program in History 


Department of History

Information about departmental admission standards, prerequisites, and other matters dealing with graduate study in history may be acquired by consulting the departmental website  or by contacting the department's Director of Graduate Studies or Graduate Program Coordinator. For a full list of graduate programs and courses offered by the department, see the list at the bottom of the page.


History, PhD

About the History Doctoral Program

The Doctor of Philosophy in History Program requires sixty hours beyond the B.A./B.S. degree. Thirty 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).

All doctoral students must choose three fields of study for their programs organized according to the following requirements:

Program Requirements

Fields of Study

Doctoral students must choose three fields of study organized according to the following requirements:

1. Major Geographic Field (30 hours)

Upon entering the program, all doctoral students must first declare their geographic major field from among the following three fields: United States, Europe, or World. Each geographic field requires a sequence of courses designed to provide the student with the necessary background for teaching competence in the entire breadth of the geographic field.

Requirements specific to each chosen Major Geographic Field:

United States—Students selecting U.S. history as their major geographic field must take HIST 6311 and HIST 6312.
Europe—Students selecting Europe as their major geographic field must take HIST 5305 and are required to choose, in consultation with and with the approval of their committee, two other core 5000-level European history "Readings in" and/or "Studies in" courses that satisfy their particular area and era of specialty.
World—Students who select world history as their major geographic field must take 9 hours of differing world history "Readings in" and/or "Studies in" courses (excluding HIST 6307, a course which is already a general PhD degree requirement).

2. Secondary Geographic Field (9 hours)

Students will select one secondary geographic field (one of the two geographies not selected for the major field), a faculty member to represent that field, and complete 9 hours of coursework in the field.

3. Thematic Field (9 hours)

Students will select one thematic field from the following list (or petition the Graduate Studies Committee for approval of a thematic field not appearing on the list) and complete nine hours of coursework in that thematic field. Students are required to select a committee member for the thematic field who does not represent either of their geographic fields:

• Atlantic World
• Borderlands
• Comparative Imperialisms
• Cultural Theory/Studies
• Diaspora and Immigration
• Economic and Business
• Environmental
• Gender and Sexuality
• Genocide and Ethnic Cleansing
• Globalization
• Indigenous Peoples
• Labor and Working-Class Studies
• Memory and Memorialization
• Politics
• Propaganda, Rhetoric, and Ideologies
• Race and Ethnicity
• Religion
• Science, Medicine and Technology
• Sports and Recreation
• State and Nation Building
• U.S. West
• Urbanization
• War & Diplomacy

Other Required Courses (12 hours)

No more than 12 of the 60 hours of coursework required beyond the B.A. can be taken at the 7000-level (i.e., no more than four HIST 7000 independent readings/studies courses can be taken and counted as part of a student's Ph.D. degree plan).

HIST 5304 - The Nature of History (3 Semester Credit Hours)
(All doctoral students who have not previously taken HIST 5304 are required to take it in the first fall semester of their PhD program.)
HIST 6301 - Research Methods Seminar (3 Semester Credit Hours)
(All doctoral students must take HIST 6301 after the student has earned a grade of B or higher in HIST 5304.)
HIST 6301 - Research Methods Seminar (3 Semester Credit Hours)
(All doctoral students must take a second 6301 research seminar. In the 60 hours required beyond the B.A. for the PhD degree, all students must take at least 6 hours of 6000-level research seminar courses.)
HIST 6307 - Historiography of the World (3 Semester Credit Hours)
(All doctoral students, regardless of which primary or secondary fields they choose, are required to take this course.)

Other Doctoral Program Requirements

Foreign Language Requirement

If not satisfied at the Master of Arts level, proficiency in one language other than English is required of all candidates for the PhD degree. For the purpose of the above listed requirements, "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 HIST 2302 course),
• Attainment of a grade of B- or better in the second semester of an accelerated graduate language course (in Texas numeration the HIST 5342 course),
• Other class work equivalent to the above, OR
• Demonstration of an equivalent level of competency through an approved examination (administered by the Department of Classical and Modern Language and Literature when possible, by an approved outside agency, or by a scholar with demonstrable experience in the language in question) or by some other means acceptable to the committee, the department, and the Graduate School.

Comprehensive Examination

Doctoral students who have finished their coursework in history (and in their outside minor field if they select one) are expected to take comprehensive exams as soon as possible. All 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 in the chosen four fields of study and an oral examination.


The PhD 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.