PhD Program | Department of History

PhD Program


A doctoral student is expected to produce a dissertation that provides an original, specific, and significant contribution to historical scholarship. Completion of the dissertation requires original and independent research in the field of specialization. The final oral examination will be a defense of the completed dissertation.

Our program is designed to enable students to earn their PhD in History with five years of full-time study, although many students are able to complete the program in fewer years. Our PhD curriculum is structured in reference to four "concentrations" of study: United States history; European history; Military history; and a thematic historical concentration called Body, Place, and Identity. Each concentration encompasses ten to twenty specific "fields" of study. All students pursuing the PhD in history will be examined in four of these fields of study, at least two of which must rest within their primary concentration, and at least one from the three remaining concentrations (or from a selection of fields in non-Western history). All four examination fields must be chosen from a list maintained by the department.

Students entering the program with a BA degree must complete a total of 54 classroom hours of graduate coursework, including 3 credits of HIST 5940; 3 credits of HIST 6000; and 15 credits (5 courses) of research seminars. No more than 9 credit hours can come from independent study courses without approval of the Department's Graduate Studies committee, which can provide exceptions for individual students through a formal process when justified by appropriate circumstances.

Students entering with the program with a MA or MS degree must complete a total of 30 classroom hours of graduate coursework, including HIST 6000 and a minimum of 12 credits (4 courses) of research seminars. No more than 6 credit hours can come from independent study courses without approval of the Department's Graduate Studies committee.

If disciplinary training outside of history would enhance the student's program or career plans, the student's committee may allow an outside minor field with the permission of the department's Director of Graduate Studies. Completion of a specific number of graduate hours does not automatically make a student eligible for a degree. The student must also show proficiency for the PhD by demonstrating satisfactory performance on written and oral examinations, by the completion of a language requirement, and by the completion and successful defense of a doctoral dissertation. Any student who fails to register for two consecutive long terms/semesters in classes at UNT will be required to reapply for admission to the history doctoral program.

Each doctoral student will create a program of study and degree plan in conjunction with their major professor and doctoral committee. The department's Director of Graduate Studies will serve as the general advisor for all PhD students and will assign incoming students a faculty mentor to guide them until the student selects a major professor. The major professor will serve as the chair of the student's doctoral committee and, in consultation with the student, will select other members of the committee. The student's degree plan and the composition of the doctoral committee must be approved by the department Director of Graduate Studies and by the dean of the Toulouse Graduate School.

The student's doctoral committee will guide the student on program planning, will arrange for all departmental examinations, and will approve the student's dissertation topic. They will also judge the completed dissertation as a piece of original research that justifies the awarding of the PhD degree.

Doctoral committees in the Department of History must include a graduate faculty member whose principal faculty appointment is in a department or at a university other than the UNT Department of History. The student's major professor and the student will work together to select a university member whose expertise will contribute meaningfully to the dissertation.

The student must demonstrate a reading knowledge of one foreign language. Students usually accomplish this by taking at least 12 undergraduate hours of a foreign language with a 2.7 GPA, or by passing a proficiency exam administered by the UNT Department of World Languages, Literature and Cultures or similar accredited program. The language requirement must be completed prior to taking the qualifying examinations.

The qualifying examination will ordinarily be taken when course work, other than research and dissertation, has been completed. The student's doctoral committee arrange both written and oral examinations that cover four fields. The successful completion of these examinations is a prerequisite to admission to candidacy for the degree.

The dean of the Toulouse Graduate School grants admission to candidacy upon recommendation of the doctoral committee and the department Director of Graduate Studies, based upon the academic record of the student, approval of a dissertation topic, successful completion of language requirements, and success passing the qualifying examinations.

THECB Marketable Skills: Department of History

The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) marketable skills initiative is part of the state's 60 x 30 TX plan. 60 x 30 TX was launched in 2015 with a clear and bold vision: to be among the highest-achieving states in the country. 60 x 30 TX is a roadmap to help Texas reach that future through higher education.

Marketable skills for this degree include interpersonal, cognitive, and applied skill areas, that are valued by employers, and are primary or complementary to the major. The marketable skills goal was designed to help students articulate their skills to employers. UNT's marketable skills were faculty-developed and approved by employers or discipline-specific agencies, e.g., internship providers, chambers of commerce, workforce development boards, and other workforce-related entities. For information on these marketable skills -

The marketable skills for the Ph.D. in History are:

  1. Synthesize/interpret large amounts of data
  2. Pedagogical practices
  3. Mastery of the historical literature
  4. Expertise in the history of specific topics/regions
  5. Research/write studies based on primary sources