Jun 24, 2024  
2022-2023 Graduate Catalog 
2022-2023 Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

History, Ph.D.

Return to: 3320 Department of History  

Greg Moore, Director of Graduate Studies, gmoore19@gsu.edu

The Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree program prepares students for positions in junior, community, small liberal arts, and senior colleges and universities; for productive postdoctoral research in history; and for careers in public service.

Major fields of study for the Ph.D. degree includes: Colonial/Early National United States; 19th and 20th Century United States; Early Modern Europe; Modern Europe; World History; Regional and Global History; and Public History. The department also offers a number of regional fields as well as topical fields in a variety of subjects, including legal and constitutional history, labor history, urban studies, women’s and gender history, transnational and postcolonial studies, history of science, and historic preservation.

Applicants may obtain additional information about the Department of History by contacting the Director of Graduate Studies at the addresses above.

Additional Admission Requirements

  1. A high standard of undergraduate achievement, in undergraduate and graduate work, especially in the major field.
  2. Ordinarily, the M.A. degree in history. Additional course work may be required if the department deems previous graduate work inadequate for Ph.D. study in history.
  3. Acceptable scores on the General (Aptitude) Test of the Graduate Record Examination.
  4. Language skills deemed adequate by the department. This will normally include evidence of proficiency in at least one alternate language.
  5. Positive evidence of research aptitude and skill, such as the M.A. thesis, and a sample of the applicant’s research and written work.
  6. A statement of the applicant’s educational and professional goals.
  7. Recommendations from three faculty members (preferably in history), who have had the student in graduate courses.
  8. Official transcripts of all previous college and graduate level work. 

Procedural Rules:

  1. The Department of History may require a personal interview with the Ph.D. applicant.
  2. Admission to the Ph.D. program is not automatic on the completion of the M.A. in history at Georgia State University.
  3. Normally, a student may not take three degrees-the bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorate-in the Department of History at Georgia State University.

Degree Requirements


Students will complete 10 graduate level history courses. The distribution of courses is described below.

Students Entering with MA

Students who enter the Ph.D. program with an MA in history earned at GSU may replace two HIST 7000-level core courses with two sections of HIST 8890 (Special Topics in History).

Semester of Study Requirements

All new students should take HIST 7050 in their first semester of study and HIST 7000 in their second semester of study.

Directed Readings Courses

  • Students may take up to three directed readings courses to fulfill their coursework requirements.

Major Field

Students must complete 3 courses in the major field and may apply HIST 7010, HIST 7020, HIST 7030, or HIST 7040 to their major field. HIST 7060 may not apply to major field course requirements. Major fields include the following:

  • Colonial/Early National U.S.
  • 19th and 20th Century U.S.
  • Early Modern Europe
  • Modern Europe
  • World History
  • Regional and Global
  • Public History

Minor Fields

Students must declare two minor fields and complete at least 2 courses in each of their minor fields, which may include the appropriate 7000-level course. Minor fields must demonstrate temporal, methodological, or geographical diversity from the major field. Minor fields include the following:

  • Any of the Major Fields
  • African Diaspora
  • East Asia
  • African-American
  • South Asia
  • Atlantic, Indian or Pacific Oceans
  • Mediterranean
  • Economic, Labor or Working Class History
  • Legal and Constitutional History
  • Medieval
  • History of Science
  • Early Modern Britain
  • Immigration and Ethnicity
  • Modern Britain, Ireland, British Empire
  • Islamic World
  • American South
  • France
  • Germany
  • Religion
  • Women’s History
  • Sexuality
  • Gender
  • Historic Preservation
  • World
  • Empires
    Students may define an alternative minor field in consultation with their advisor and the Director of the Graduate Studies.

Language Requirement

The student must demonstrate reading proficiency in a world language, through successful completion of a graduate language course (with a grade of B or better) or successfully completing a reading knowledge examination.


Students in the doctoral program are required to be in residence for four semesters, two of which must be consecutive. In all four semesters the students must register for at least eight hours of coursework.

Continuous Enrollment

In order to remain in compliance with the university’s policy on continuous enrollment, students must maintain enrollment totaling 6 hours or more over all consecutive three-semester periods. Please note, graduate assistants are required to enroll for a minimum of 12 credit hours each for the fall/spring semesters and 9 credit hours for the summer semester. These credit hours will consist of courses required for the prescribed program of study, as well as additional hours of HIST 8980, HIST 8999, and/or HIST 9999.


Upon completion of the language requirements and the course work in the doctoral program, the doctoral student will be required to complete successfully a comprehensive examination (consisting of written and oral parts) in his/her major and minor fields. These examinations, administered by an examination committee consisting of two examiners for each field, will be offered twice a year in the Fall and Spring semesters on days and at times to be announced at least one month in advance. The student will normally complete the oral examination in the major and minor fields with two weeks of the written examination. At the conclusion of the comprehensive examination, the members of the examination committee will determine whether the student has passed or failed. A unanimous vote of the committee is required to pass. Should a student fail the comprehensive examination, the committee shall determine the conditions under which the student will be permitted to re-take the examination or portions thereof in accordance with the regulations of the Graduate Division of the College of Arts and Sciences. The examination may be repeated once following a minimum interval of six months. A student who fails the examination a second time will be subject to termination. The examination must be passed at least one academic year prior to the conferral of the degree.

Dissertation Prospectus

On the successful completion of the written and oral parts of the general examination, the student will be required to submit a prospectus of the dissertation to a scheduled meeting of members of the dissertation committee (which will normally be comprised of three professors of the Department of History faculty), who are nominated by the student and approved by the director of graduate studies on behalf of the department chair. The prospectus will include a carefully prepared and closely reasoned statement or exposition of the topic or subject that the student has chosen to research in consultation with the dissertation advisor. An oral defense of the dissertation prospectus will normally follow within six months of exams and will be administered by the dissertation committee.


After completing the language, course work, general examination and dissertation prospectus requirements, the student will be admitted to candidacy for the degree.


The student must complete satisfactorily a dissertation and earn not less than twenty hours of credit in HIST 9999 (Dissertation Research), supervised by the dissertation director.

Dissertation Defense

Upon completion of the dissertation, the candidate will be required to pass an oral defense of the dissertation that will be conducted by members of the dissertation committee.


Students must be registered for a minimum of one hour during the term of their graduation.