Jul 14, 2024  
2016-2017 Graduate Catalog 
2016-2017 Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

History Major, PhD


  • Successful completion of the BA or MA degree from an accredited institution. 
  • Acceptable scores on the Graduate Record Examination (general).


Before being admitted to doctoral candidacy, a student must fulfill the following requirements.

  • Complete HIST 510  at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, (may be waived for comparable experience elsewhere).
  • Spend two consecutive semesters in residence.
  • Complete the minimum course requirements outlined by the Graduate School (48 credit hours beyond the BA, or 24 credit hours beyond the MA).
  • Students who enter with an MA must complete 9 credit hours in one Group I doctoral field. Students who enter without an MA must complete 18 credit hours in one Group I doctoral field. There is no requirement for minimum credit hours for a Group II field. All students must complete 9 credit hours in the Group III field. Courses taken to fulfill MA degrees may be counted toward all field requirements.
  • Fulfill the foreign language requirement.
  • Students who enter with a non-thesis MA must complete two 600-level research seminars. Students who enter with a thesis MA need complete only one 600-level research seminar. Students who enter without an MA must complete four 600-level research seminars. All 600-level course work must be completed at the University of Tennessee.
  • Maintain a 3.0 overall grade-point average in graduate work attempted.
  • For students who enter without an MA, a minimum of 39 of the 48 credit hours of course work must be graded A-F. Nine credit hours of course work may be taken outside the department. For students who enter with an MA, a minimum of 18 of the 24 credit hours must be graded A-F. Up to six credit hours may be taken outside the department.
  • Except by prior approval of the Director of Graduate Studies in History, a student’s course work must be at the 500-level or above.

Language Requirement

Students must demonstrate competency in a foreign language or languages through coursework or examination. Students in pre-Modern Europe will be required to pass three language exams, including Latin. The other two languages will be determined in consultation with the adviser. Students in Modern Europe will be required to pass two language exams, as determined by the adviser. Students in US history will be required to pass one language exam. The foreign language requirement must be fulfilled before taking the comprehensive examination.

Alternative Third Field

Students may choose an alternative third field. This entails three courses in a Group I field other than the student’s own Group I field and requires approval from the Director of Graduate Studies, the student’s adviser, and a faculty member in charge of supervising that alternative field, and culminates in a two-hour oral exam conducted by the adviser and two course instructors. No more than one of these courses can be an independent study.

Comprehensive Examination

The comprehensive examination consists of a written exam (Group I) and an oral exam (Group II) and must be taken no later than the semester following the semester in which the student completes the residence, course work, and language requirement (summer excluded). Failure to take the comprehensive examination within the required time will be counted as a failure on the examination. Only students with an overall grade point average of at least 3.0 will be allowed to take the comprehensive examination. Qualified students will be examined in one field selected from the Group I list below and one field selected from the Group II list below. The two exams are taken in the same semester. The Group I is an eight-hour written exam. It must be passed before the Group II can be taken. The Group II is a two-hour oral exam. A student who fails either exam must repeat it the following semester (summer excluded). A second failure on either exam will cause the student to be dropped from the history graduate program. A student who does not repeat a failed exam within the required time will likewise be dropped from the program.

Admission to Candidacy

Upon successful completion of the above requirements, a doctoral student may be admitted to candidacy.

Doctoral Fields

Group I. Pre-modern Europe; Modern Europe; United States (colonial to present).

Group II. To be defined by the student’s doctoral committee from within one of the following fields.

United States – Colonial and Early Republic; 19th century; 20th century; Regional; Military and Foreign Relations; Social and Cultural; American Political; Gender.

European – Ancient; Medieval; Early Modern; Modern; Political and Diplomatic; Intellectual and Cultural; Social and Economic; National Fields; Gender.

Group III (Teaching Field). World History.

Dissertation and Defense

Original research forms the basis for the dissertation. Doctoral candidates must register for a minimum of 3 credit hours of HIST 600  (Dissertation Research) each semester and must complete 24 credit hours of dissertation credit. A final oral defense is given on the dissertation in its historical context. The program must be completed within eight years from admission as a potential candidate.