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UMass Sesquicentennial

University of Massachusetts Amherst

History Department

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Doctor of Philosophy Degree Requirements

This summary is intended to provide an overview of the requirements. Details may be found in the Graduate Program Handbook. More complete information on graduate study in history may be found in the departmental statement, Graduate Programs in History, available from the Department of History office. The Department of History offers doctoral work in three major areas of history: Europe, United States, and Latin America. Each of these areas is divided into various fields.

On admission as a Ph.D. candidate each student is assigned a Guidance Committee to advise and approve the choice of doctoral fields appropriate to the student's major interests. The candidate chooses an area of specialization, and within this area a major field.

Course Work

Four courses in the 600 - 800 series are required, including two graduate seminars.

Language Proficiency

Candidates must pass the departmental examination demonstrating reading ability in one foreign language. Students specializing in areas for which knowledge of more than one foreign language is usual for scholarly work must demonstrate reading proficiency in the relevant languages.

Preliminary Comprehensive Examination

Candidates must pass the general examination in three fields. Not more than two can be in the candidate's area of specialization. With the approval of the major adviser and of the departmental Graduate Program Director, the candidate may offer one field in a department other than history.


A dissertation is required.

Statute of Limitations

Doctoral degree candidates shall complete all requirements within four calendar years of initial registration.


Minimum full-time residence at the University of Massachusetts for one academic year.