Public History Ph.D. Degree

The Public History PhD program is very competitive and selective. We admit four students per year with full financial assistance and benefits.

Beyond in-class coursework, all doctoral students complete a practicum in their own special areas of interest—including records management, the administration of historic sites, history museums, historic preservation, or historical publications. They also serve as teaching assistants in their first year of study and as independent instructors during their remaining years.  

The PhD curriculum consists of 72 credit hours: 48 in coursework and 24 in dissertation work. Some good advice on dissertation writing may be found in Liena Vayzman's “Practical Advice for Writing Your Dissertation, Book, or Article.” 

Requirements at a Glance

Public History Field (21 hours)

  • HI 596: Introduction to Public History
  • HI 642: Internship in Public History 
  • HI 791: Research Seminar in Public History

and four courses from the following:

  • HI 533: Theory and Practice of Oral History
  • HI 534: Theory and Practice of Digital History
  • HI 563: Topics in History and Memory
  • HI 587: Cultural Resource Management
  • HI 588: Family and Community History
  • HI 589: Interpretation in Historic Sites and Parks
  • HI 591: Museum Studies
  • HI 593: Material Culture
  • HI 594: Cultural Heritage
  • HI 787: African American Public History
  • HI 788: Native American Public History
  • HI 789: Public History in International Contexts
  • ANT 533: Anthropology of Ecotourism and Heritage Conservation
  • COM 581: Visual Rhetoric: Theory and Criticism

History Field (21 hours)

  • HI 597: Historiography and Historical Method
  • 18 credit hours in history, at least 9 of which are in HI 792: Colloquium in History

Outside Field (6 hours)

6 hours in one category or a field designed in consultation with adviser and the Director of Public History. Students may also want to consider completing certificate programs in their outside fields to complement their doctoral preparation.

Foreign Language Proficiency

The foreign language requirement ensures competence with one of the important tools of scholarship. Students are expected to make every effort to understand and appreciate works of historical research in other languages, even if relevance to their own topic of study is not immediately apparent. Students may meet the language requirement through completion of six credit hours in GIS, receiving a B or better in these courses, and obtaining certification from the instructor attesting to their proficiency in GIS for graduate work.

Doctoral Examination and Dissertation (24 hours)

  • HI 889: Doctoral Dissertation Seminar (1 credit hour for 3 consecutive semesters, beginning in semester preceding preliminary exams)

and 21 hours from the following:

  • HI 895: Doctoral Dissertation Research
  • HI 899: Doctoral Dissertation Preparation