PhD in History
The doctoral program in history is a 60-hour program that culminates in a PhD. Normally, students entering the program are required to have a MA degree. Usually, the PhD degree is a 30-hour program beyond the MA, but the exact hourly requirement beyond the MA will be determined by the Graduate Program Director and the graduate dean. Students in the doctoral program normally attend full time, but students who enter the program with a MA may attend on a part-time basis. Full-time students take three courses per semester. Part-time students should complete at least half of the required number of courses in their first 24 months in the program (usually five or six courses), and the rest in the second 24 months.
Students who have compiled an outstanding record in an undergraduate history major may enter the doctoral program directly through the Accelerated PhD Program. They are not required to obtain a master's degree. Admission to the accelerated track is highly selective and limited to a few undergraduates each year. Students are chosen on the basis of our regular criteria (GPA, GRE scores, letters of recommendation, writing sample and personal statement).
Required or Core Courses
Students who have not taken History 400 or an equivalent course at the master's level must do so in the PhD program. They must also successfully complete at least one 500-level research seminar in the major field. Students accepted into the Accelerated PhD program must complete History 400 and two 500-level research seminars (one in the major field and the second in either the major or minor fields). All students must take History 598 in which they develop their dissertation proposal under the supervision of their major field advisor.
In consultation with their major advisor, students choose coursework and specific research to develop a broad major within the following fields of history:
- Medieval and Renaissance
- Modern Europe
- United States
For those selecting United States history, for instance, the major field might be American urban and social history. Students are required to complete at least 15 hours (five courses) in the major field.
In consultation with their major advisor, students will select one minor field in which they must complete at least three courses. This field must be distinct from the major field and from fields taken at the Master's level. Students in the Accelerated PhD Program must complete two minor fields. The minor fields are:
- Ancient Mediterranean
- Early Modern Europe
- Gender and Women's History
- Medieval and Renaissance
- Modern Europe
- Public History
- United States
Students wishing to pursue a minor field in public history must meet with the Public History Program Director, formally declare public history as their minor field and indicate their plans for fulfilling the minor.
Students may take no more than two courses at the 300-level (for graduate credit) and ordinarily no more than three directed study courses (HIST 499).
Distribution of Courses
The normal distribution of courses in the PhD program is as follows:
(including one 500-level research seminar)
|Minor field||9 hours|
|Directed research/readings and electives||3 hours|
|Dissertation proposal seminar||3 hours|
Students who must complete History 400 will have a 33-hour requirement.
The distribution requirement for the Accelerated PhD Program is as follows:
|History 400||3 hours|
|Major Field (includes two 500-level research seminars)*||24 hours|
|Minor #1||9 hours|
|Minor #2||9 hours|
|Dissertation proposal seminar||3 hours|
|Dissertation research/readings and electives||12 hours|
*Note: the second 500-level research seminar may be completed within a minor field.
Research Tool Requirements
United States History Track: Students who choose US history as their major field must complete two research tool requirements. One must be in public history and may include History 483: Oral History or History 479: Public History Media. When taken for the research tool requirement, History 483 and History 479 can not be counted toward the minor field in Public History. In special circumstances, students may petition the Graduate Program Director to substitute another research tool in place of the public history research tool requirement.
The second research tool requirement may be fulfilled in two ways: 1. a reading knowledge of a foreign language appropriate to the student’s major field or 2. mastery of a special skill required by the student’s doctoral research. With the approval of the Graduate Program Director, students may demonstrate mastery in the following areas: statistics, computer science, GIS and paleography. Courses taken in these subject areas at Loyola or another academic institution may be used to show mastery of a special skill. However, these courses require prior approval by the Graduate Program Director. Paleography may be taken at the Chicago Inter-University Consortium for Advanced Studies in Renaissance and Early Modern History at the Newberry Library.
Non-United States History Track: Students who choose Medieval/Early Modern Europe or Modern Europe for their major field must complete two research tool requirements. These requirements may be fulfilled in two ways:
- A reading knowledge of two foreign languages appropriate to the student's major field. The first language requirement should have been met at the MA level.
- A reading knowledge of one foreign language appropriate to the student's major field and demonstrated mastery of a special skill required by the student's doctoral research. Either the language or the skill should have been completed at the master's level. History 479: Public History Media and History 483: Oral History may fulfill the special skill requirement. When taken for the research tool requirement, History 479 and History 483 cannot be counted toward the minor field in Public history. With the approval of the Graduate Program Director, students may demonstrate mastery in the following areas: statistics, computer science, GIS and paleography. Courses taken in these subject areas at Loyola or another academic institution may be used to show mastery of a special skill. However, these courses require prior approval by the Graduate Program Director. Paleography may be taken at the Chicago Inter-University Consortium for Advanced Studies in Renaissance and Early Modern History at the Newberry Library.
Courses in disciplines for which a doctorate is normally awarded should be taken as a minor field rather than as a research skill.
Near the end of their graduate program, students must pass a take-home written examination and a two-hour oral examination in their major field. For the written examination, the student will produce three 10–15 page historiographical essays based on a reading list developed in conjunction with a three-member committee of history faculty of their choosing. The committee should be established no later than the beginning of the semester in which the student intends to take the examination. Students will have two weeks to complete the exam, which will be evaluated by the committee. The two-hour oral exam will occur within two weeks of completing the written exam.
For the PhD major field examination in US history, students should choose two of the three designated chronological areas. They should also choose two thematic areas for the examination. The three designated chronological areas are: early America (before 1800); 19th-century US history; and 20th-century US history. Thematic areas include: urban, women/gender, sexuality, Atlantic world, Indian, cultural, African-American/race, American West, immigration and ethnicity, labor, environmental, and legal. Other thematic fields are possible with the approval of all committee members.
In addition, students satisfy the examination requirements in their minor field by passing a take-home written examination in which they will produce two 10–15 page historiographical essays based on a reading list developed in conjunction with a two-member committee of history faculty of their choosing. The committee should be established no later than the beginning of the semester in which the student intends to take the examination. Students will have one week to complete the exam, which will be evaluated by the committee. Those who select a minor field outside of history must successfully pass a comprehensive examination in that discipline. Students in the Accelerated PhD Program take only one minor field exam. The other minor field requirement is satisfied by the successful completion of three courses (nine credit hours) with at least a B (3.0) average.
For the PhD major and minor field examinations in areas outside of US history (such as medieval/renaissance, modern/early modern Europe and other thematic fields), students should work closely with their committee members to create reading lists with a broad chronological sweep and a set number of thematic areas.
The portfolio documents the achievements of doctoral students and thereby identifies their strengths, weaknesses and abilities as professional historians. Students begin compiling their portfolio during the first semester in the program. The following items constitute a minimum for the PhD portfolio: 1. one broadly-defined historiographical essay (possibly but not exclusively) written in HIST 400 in the first year of the program; 2. one research essay based on primary sources and 25–35 pages in length, written with the goal of publication, completed in one of the two required 500-level research seminars; 3. one short book review (500-700 words, similar to book reviews in the American Historical Review); 4. one long book review (1,500–3,000 words, similar to book reviews in Reviews in American History), 5. an internship report (if applicable); 6. three historiographical essays written as part of the comprehensive examination; 7. a current resume or curriculum vita (c.v.). The portfolio will be evaluated by the student’s faculty advisor annually. Successful completion of the portfolio is required for admission to PhD candidacy.
Dissertation Proposal Review and Dissertation
Students will develop a "dissertation field" within the major field in which they intend to write their PhD dissertation. This field must be designated before 18 credit hours of coursework beyond the MA (normally at the end of the first year in the doctoral program). At this point, students present a dissertation topic and proposal to their major adviser (History 598 Dissertation Proposal seminar) for review and approval. Students formalize their proposed committee with the submission of the recommendation of the Dissertation Proposal Committee form to the Graduate School.
Following the successful completion of doctoral examinations and the portfolio requirement, students will make a public presentation of their dissertation proposal to a committee, which will include the dissertation director and at least two other faculty members acquainted with the research areas of the dissertation. In discussing the proposal, students and members of the dissertation committee should work out problems and address questions the committee members may have. Upon successfully completing the dissertation proposal review, students submit a formal dissertation outline to the Graduate School. Following its approval and the successful completion of all other degree requirements, students are admitted to PhD candidacy.
The PhD dissertation must be completed, approved by the designated committee members and successfully defended orally at a public defense.