The University of Massachusetts Amherst
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Doctoral Program

Degree Requirements

This summary is intended to provide an overview of the requirements. Details may be found in the Graduate Program HandbookMore 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

For students entering with an MA, four courses in the 600 - 700 series are required, including two graduate seminars. For students entering without an MA, 8 courses in the 600 - 700 series are required. 

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.

Academic Residency

Ph.D. students must be enrolled (at a minimum) in full time course work for one academic year. This will encompass 2 classes for a total of 8 credit hours for two consecutive semesters.