Apr 17, 2024  
2017-2018 Graduate Catalog 
2017-2018 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 with an MA from another institution should take not only the 24 post-MA credit hours required by the Graduate School, but also an additional 12 credit hours, for a total of 36 credit hours at UT; if approved by the adviser, these additional 12 credit hours may include non-graduate-level language instruction.
  • Students who enter with an MA must complete 9 credit hours in their major doctoral field. Students who enter without an MA must complete 18 credit hours in their major doctoral field. All students must complete 9 credit hours in a teaching field, which will either be World History or an approved alternate field.
  • Fulfill the foreign language requirement.
  • Students who enter with a non-thesis MA or without an MA must complete two 600-level research seminars. Students who enter with a thesis MA need complete only one 600-level research seminar and History 621. 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 from another institution, a minimum of 27 of 36 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 Teaching Field

Students may choose an alternative teaching field. This entails three courses in a major field other than the student’s own 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 an eight-hour written exam and a two-hour oral exam 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. A student who fails the 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

Students will select a major doctoral field in Pre-Modern Europe, Modern Europe, or American 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 - Doctoral Research and Dissertation  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.