Texas Tech University

Doctor of Philosophy Program

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.

Program Requirements

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 (with some exceptions because of the COVID-19 Pandemic).

Upon entering the program, doctoral students must declare their Geographic Major Field from among the following three fields: United States, Europe, or World. The other two geographies will be the student's Geographic Minor Fields. Each geographic field requires at least three credit hours of historiography.

Doctoral Fields and Coursework

  • Geographic Major Field (30 hours)*
  • Geographic Minor Field 1 (9 hours)
  • Geographic Minor Field 2 (9 hours)
  • Other Required Coursework (12 hours)
    • HIST 5304: The Nature of History (3 hours)
    • HIST 6301: Research Methods Seminar (6 hours)
    • Elective HIST course (3 hours)

Eligible historiography courses for each Geography:

    • United States: HIST 6311, HIST 6312
    • Europe: HIST 5305
    • World: HIST 6307

*Students who choose "United States" as their Geographic Major must take both U.S. historiography courses, HIST 6311 and HIST 6312, and are not required to take 3 hours of an Elective HIST course.

All doctoral students who have not previously taken HIST 5304 are required to take it in the first fall semester of their Ph.D. program. All doctoral students must take their first HIST 6301 after the student has earned a grade of B or higher in HIST 5304.

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).

Foreign Language

If not satisfied at the Master of Arts level, proficiency in one language other than English is required of all candidates for the Ph.D. 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 accelerated graduate language course (one that is equivalent to two years of undergraduate language courses; in Texas numeration the 5341 and/or 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, 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 Graduate Studies Committee, the Department, and the Graduate School.

Qualifying Examination

Doctoral students who have finished their coursework in history will take qualifying exams in four fields, aligned with their research interests, in preparation for their dissertation:

  1. Geographic Major - Emphasis 1
  2. Geographic Major - Emphasis 2
  3. Geographic Minor
  4. Thematic

All coursework should normally be completed in the semester prior to the qualifying exam. In the qualifying 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 qualifying exam consists of two separate steps: written examinations in the chosen four fields of study and an oral examination.


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 for, 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.