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PhD Program

Attainment of the Ph.D. requires mastery of selected historical fields and a demonstrated ability to conduct original research. The department expects all of its Ph.D. students to locate and classify historical evidence from historical sources, to interpret the evidence, and to present its synthesis in written and oral forms. Ph.D. students must be able to use research tools such as foreign languages and, in some cases, statistics. The doctoral dissertation is the culmination of the historian's training and constitutes an enlargement of our knowledge and understanding of history. Fulfillment of all requirements for the Ph.D. usually involves at least four years of full-time study. Students must complete all requirements for the Ph.D. within seven years.

Degree Requirements

The Ph.D. program requires a minimum of 90 graduate credits beyond the B.A. degree. The M.A. in History degree at Wayne State may account for 35 of these, but only 30 credits in post-bachelor's programs may be transferred from other institutions.

The 90 graduate credits for the Ph.D. program must be taken so as to fulfill the following requirements:

  • HIS 7830, Methods and Research in History, or its equivalent.
  • A minimum of three 8000-level seminars in history.
  • A minimum of 30 hours in courses numbered 7000 or above. (May include all hours earned under items 1 and 2 above. Excludes hours earned in pre-candidacy and candidacy maintenance courses.)
  • A minimum of 40 hours of coursework in history. (May include all hours earned under items 1, 2 and 3 above except hours earned in HIS 7990, 7999, and 8999.)
  • Eight hours earned in cognate courses, to be determined in cooperation with the adviser.
  • Additional graduate-level work to a minimum total of 60 hours. (Excludes hours earned in pre-candidacy and candidacy maintenance courses.)
  • Thirty hours of candidacy credit.

Fields of Study

Students should prepare themselves in three fields of history (see below). These will include two major fields and one minor field, at least one of which must be in a geographical field, and the other of which must be in a transnational field or a geographical field outside of one's area of specialization. The fields of study must be chosen from the following:


 American History  Transnational History
 African American  Citizenship
 America  Constitutional and Legal
 America through the Civil War era  Gender
 American since the Civil War era  Migration and Ethnic
 Latin America (for examination only)  International Relations
 European History  Urban
 Early Modern Europe  World
 Modern Europe  
 Medieval Europe (for examination only)  
 African and Asian History  
 Modern Africa (for examination only)  
 Modern East Asia (for examination only)  

 Foreign Language and Research Tools

Students whose major field is in American History must demonstrate a reading knowledge of one foreign language before the oral defense of their dissertation. Students whose major field is in a non-American field must demonstrate a reading knowledge of two foreign languages or, with the permission of the graduate director, mastery of one foreign language and the acquisition of certain specific auxiliary skills, such as statistics, as a substitute for the second language.

For a fuller description of the doctoral program, please consult the Graduate Handbook.

3094 FAB 656 W. Kirby
Detroit, MI 48202
Phone: (313) 577-2525
Fax: (313) 577-6987
Website: clasweb.clas.wayne.edu/history
Email: ab3697@wayne.edu