History PHD Programs: Prerequisites and Requirements
When it comes to earning a doctorate in history, there are almost endless subjects of focus from which to choose. These subjects can range from U.S. regional history to ancient Greek history to military history, but each Ph.D. program has a strong focus on research methodologies and teaching.
Doctor of Philosophy in History
While doctoral programs in history allow students a great deal of freedom and range as far as topics and research methods are concerned, they can also be grueling and take up a great deal of time, as the average Ph.D. program in history takes around eight years to complete.
Individuals who enroll in a Ph.D. program in history usually concentrate in a highly specific aspect of the field, such as a particularly important historical figure or time period. There are currently at least 150 different doctoral programs related to history available at accredited U.S. universities, and each of these programs allows for focus training within each historical subject. Much of a Ph.D. program in history is taken up with research and typically results in a dissertation, which is submitted for review and eventually published.
Educational prerequisites vary from school to school, but entrance into a history Ph.D. program nearly always require an undergraduate degree; completion of a master's degree program is encouraged. Students must generate a great deal of academic interest in the historical topic they would like to explore and sometimes must submit any previous writing or thesis papers they have completed on the topic. Letters of recommendation and an entrance exam are also required at some universities.
History Ph.D. coursework vary from program to program, but the most commonly available courses include:
- American history seminar
- Transnational history
- Ancient history
- Early modern Europe
- Modern Europe
- Medieval history
- Industrial history
- History of technology
Popular Career Options
A graduate of a Ph.D. program in history may go on to careers in academia as a history professor and researcher. Other potential careers include:
- Librarian of historical works
- Nonfiction historical writer
- Information specialist
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