Nature of the Course Offerings in the Ph.D. Program

Students in the Ph.D. program may enroll for credit in all courses on the 6000 and 8000 level. If a course has only a 7000 component, you may take it at that level. You can find details on the content of each graduate course for the current semester in the department mini-catalog, which can be found on the graduate student homepage.


•    6000-level courses are open to both graduate students and advanced undergraduate students. These lecture/discussion courses usually survey an entire period. Graduate students will have separate reading and writing assignments. If you have taken a course at the 4000 level (undergraduate), or its equivalent, you cannot take it again at the 6000 level. Only six credits of 6000-level coursework from your M.A and 6 from your Ph.D. work may count toward the degree.

•    7000 and 8000-level courses are the same in content, meeting times, and usually similar in requirements, although more is expected of Ph.D. students. M.A. students register at the 7000 level and Ph.D. students at the 8000 level. If you have taken any of the courses described in the graduate catalog at the 7000 level, you may not take them again at the 8000 level, unless their content has completely changed; see graduate course descriptions. Courses on the 8000 level are open only to graduate students and are usually limited to a class size of 15 or fewer.

•    8000-level courses designated "Studies in...," "Thematic Studies in...," "Topics in History." These courses survey important scholarship on a specific period or topic. They are designed to familiarize students with leading scholarly interpretations. Class sessions are devoted to discussions of common readings, written critiques, and student presentations. Course content typically varies from term to term. You may take enroll in the same number course more than once as long as the topic is not repeated.

•    8000-level with “historiography” in their title are designed to give broad coverage of the important scholarship in an entire field. All Ph.D. students must take at least one of these in their major field. You are encouraged to take historiography courses in your other fields as well, and your field advisors may require you to do so. We regularly offer historiography courses in U.S history before 1877, U.S history after 1877, African American history, modern European history, Global History, and Egyptian history. Historiography courses in other fields may be available occasionally.

•    History 8012 is a directed readings course taken individually with a professor. These courses allow students to explore areas of interest not offered as a regular class, to fill in gaps in knowledge, or to investigate possibilities for a thesis topic. Taking this course requires the express agreement of the professor who will direct it; no one has the right to a directed readings course. You must file a directed readings registration form with the department office prior to enrolling. Ph.D. candidates normally may enroll for no more than 6 hours of directed readings. You may, however, petition the Director of Graduate Studies for permission to take up to an additional 6 hours, for a total of 12 hours. It is our policy not to approve readings courses if you are able to attend a class that covers the same or similar general topics.

•    8070 Research Seminars emphasize research using primary materials. Students will produce original and substantial research papers. All Ph.D. students must take at least one 8070 seminar.

•    History 8990, Reading for and Writing Comprehensives is taken at the end of your coursework. This course allows you to undertake intensive individual study for the comprehensive exam and/or to write the exam. You must take three credits of 8990 in each field for a total of 9 credits of 8990 that count toward the degree.

•    History 8991, Independent Readings, is an individualized readings course for students preparing for comprehensive examinations. Credit is not applicable to the degree. Normally only assistants take this. It can be taken at any stage of your program. You need to fill out a form to register for this class. Get it here (pdf).

•    History 8025 (Principles & Practices in History Education) is a rigorous readings course exploring approaches to the teaching of history. Highly recommended for all graduate students. Required for graduate students prior to their first semester teaching their own course.

•    History 9000 is the course number assigned for dissertation credit. You must take a total of 12 dissertation credits before you can qualify for the Ph.D. degree. You may take as many dissertation credits as you like, but only 12 will count toward degree requirements. You must contact the Director of Graduate Studies before enrolling for dissertation credits.