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    Jun 21, 2024  
American University Catalog 2023-2024 
American University Catalog 2023-2024

History (PhD)

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Offered by the Department of History , College of Arts and Sciences .

Admission to the Program

In addition to meeting the minimum university requirements for graduate study, applicants normally have completed an MA in History or a related field, have earned a satisfactory score on the Graduate Record Exam (Verbal, Quantitative, and Analytic), and have made a substantial beginning in one tool of research. Admission is based on academic record, letters of recommendation from three professors with whom work was taken recently, a sample of recent written work of substantial length (MA thesis, research paper, or interpretative essay) and favorable judgment by the department’s graduate committee and department chair.

Degree Requirements

  • 30-42 credit hours of approved graduate work, exclusive of up to 24 credit hours from HIST-898 Doctoral Continuing Enrollment (1-9) /HIST-899 Doctoral Dissertation (9)  ​​​ 
    • Students entering the program directly from a bachelor’s degree must complete 42 credit hours of graduate work, exclusive of HIST-898 /HIST-899 ​​​  
    • Students entering the program with a MA degree accepted by the program must complete 30 credit hours of graduate work, exclusive of HIST-898 /HIST-899 ​​​  
    • Up to 6 credit hours may be transferred from approved graduate work
  • Tools of research
    • One or two of the following, the number and type determined by the student’s advisor: relevant foreign languages, quantitative methods, history and new media, oral history, or a methodology approved by the graduate committee of the Department of History  
  • Comprehensive doctoral examination in three fields
    • Comprehensive doctoral examinations are tailored to the individual student’s fields of study
    • One field must be a historical field outside the student’s main area of concentration, a comparative or multidisciplinary field, or a field in another discipline
  • Dissertation proposal and oral defense
  • Dissertation and oral defense

Course Requirements

Required (3 credit hours)

Research Seminars (6 credit hours)

Complete 6 credit hours from the following:

Electives (15-27 credit hours)

Note: The total number of credit hours required depends on the student’s approved Program of Study.

  • 15-27 credit hours from approved graduate coursework


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