Jul 15, 2024  
2024-2025 Graduate Catalog 
2024-2025 Graduate Catalog

History, Ph.D.

College of Arts and Sciences  
Department: History 
  • History of the Americas
  • World History to 1500
  • World History since 1500
  • Digital Humanities/Public History


The Department of History at the University of South Florida in offers Ph.D. applicants an enriching program of study, coursework, and directed research.

A Ph.D. degree in History can prepare students for a variety of careers in the public and private sectors where research, critical thinking, and writing skills are especially important.


Major Research Areas:
American History; Ancient History; Digital Humanities; Europe and the World; Gender and Sexuality; Latin American History; Public History; World History.

Admission Information

Must meet University Admission and English Proficiency requirements as well as requirements for admission to the major, listed below.

  • Letters of Recommendation: Three (3) letters of recommendation on behalf of the applicant are required; these letters should come from academic sources familiar with the quality of the applicant’s scholarly work and indicate his/her Ph.D. program potential.
  • Statement of Purpose: The statement of purpose should delineate the applicant’s historical and intellectual areas of interest, proposed fields of study, educational and professional goals, the faculty with whom the applicant is potentially interested in working, and why the applicant sees him/herself as a good fit with the program.  
  • Sample of Writing: A scholarly writing sample of no more than fifteen (15) double-spaced pages (excluding bibliography and notes) should demonstrate the applicant’s ability to write effectively and to conduct historical research and analysis. Appropriate examples include a publication, seminar paper, or thesis chapter.
  • Language: Applicants whose research subjects require foreign language sources should provide evidence of proficiency in the foreign language(s) of their field(s) of study.
  • GRE not required.

Curriculum Requirements

Total Minimum Hours: 72 Credit Hours Post-Baccalaureate (42 hours Post-Masters)

Post-Master’s requirements:

  • Core Requirements – 6 Credit Hours
  • Concentration – 9 Credit Hours Minimum
  • Minor Field – 3 Credit Hours Minimum
  • Electives in other disciplines – 6 Credit Hours
  • Dissertation – 18 Credit Hours

Students entering for the post-baccalaureate option must complete the equivalent requirements for the M.A. in History at USF.  Students entering the doctorate who have not satisfactorily completed HIS 6112  Analysis of Historical Knowledge or its equivalent must complete this course in addition to the post-master’s requirements. 

Core Requirements (6 Credit Hours)

Concentration (9 Credit Hours Minimum)

Students select one of the following Concentrations:

History of the Americas Concentration

World History to 1500 Concentration

World History Since 1500 Concentration

Digital Humanities/Public History Concentration

Minor Field Studies (3 Credit Hours Minimum)

Students select three (3) hours in a minor field of study that complements the Concentration. Students may minor in any of the defined Concentrations or a thematic field such as Gender and Sexuality, Race and Ethnicity, Imperialism, or Material Culture. Students may define their own minor field with written permission from their advisor, the Graduate Director, and the Department Chair. 

Electives (6 Credit Hours Minimum)

Students will enhance their Concentration or minor areas of specialization with six credits of elective courses. They may include interdisciplinary courses within the Department, courses outside the department, or a combination of these. These courses should be chosen in consultation with the student’s advisor, and with the approval of the Graduate Director.

Other Requirements

Students may take a maximum of three hours each in HIS 6914  Directed Research and HIS 6908  Independent Study. Exceptions can be made with the approval of the major professor and Graduate Director. 

Ph.D. students are assigned an advisor in their anticipated Concentration upon admittance into the Program.  Students will arrange their program of study and schedules of appropriate courses in consultation with their advisor.

Students need to demonstrate satisfactory progress or they will be removed from the program, consistent with department procedure.

Language Requirement for Ph.D. Students

Students may need to demonstrate proficiency in a language other than English, consistent with the requirements of their field(s).  

Comprehensive Qualifying Exam

The Ph.D. comprehensive qualifying exam in the Department of History at USF consists of a written portfolio and an oral examination. All elements of the portfolio should be approved and revised in consultation with the student’s advisor(s). The written portfolio demonstrates a range of competencies in historical research, source analysis, and writing. It will be reviewed and evaluated by a faculty committee, and the student must pass an oral defense of the portfolio to proceed to candidacy.

Dissertation Defense

Students must complete an oral dissertation defense with the members of the dissertation committee. Faculty from fields other than History may serve on dissertation committees.

Dissertation (18 Credit Hours)