History, PhD

The PhD program, with a focus on global, transnational, and comparative history, seeks to train research historians who plan to teach at the college and university level. Systematic training in theory and methodology and preparation for college teaching are distinctive features of the Northeastern program. 

Academic Standing/Progress

Students are required to maintain an overall GPA of at least 3.500. In addition, the PhD annual review is based on a report by the student’s advisor, with attention to:

  1. Success in setting up a doctoral committee
  2. Passing the departmental language examination in the language of their field
  3. Successful performance of teaching assistant duties
  4. Successful completion of courses in the tiered system (i.e., the required course sequence)
  5. Successful completion, where appropriate, of other required activities, including construction of the comprehensive examination list and the dissertation proposal and scheduling of comprehensive examinations

Doctoral Degree Candidacy

Students entering without an MA in history must complete 45 semester hours and must pass the qualifying examination by the end of the third year in the program. Upon completion of these two requirements, students will be deemed PhD degree candidates by the college.


Qualifying examination
Annual review
PhD candidacy
Dissertation committee
Dissertation proposal
Dissertation defense

Core Requirements

Theory and Methodology
A grade of B or higher is required:
HIST 5101Theory and Methodology 14
HIST 5102Theory and Methodology 24
Digital History
HIST 7370Texts, Maps, and Networks: Readings and Methods for Digital History4
Readings or Directed Study
Complete 20 semester hours in either Readings or Directed Study:20
Directed Study
Research Seminar
HIST 7314Research Seminar in World History4
HIST 8409Practicum in Teaching1


Complete 8 semester hours from the following range:8
HIST 7200 to HIST 7702


Exam Preparation
Only needed for PhD students who have completed all course work but have not yet passed the comprehensive exam:
Exam Preparation—Doctoral
Complete the following (repeatable) course twice:
Dissertation Continuation
Following completion of two semesters of HIST 9990, registration in the following class is required in each semester (excluding summers) until the dissertation is completed:
Dissertation Continuation

Program Credit/GPA Requirements

45 total semester hours required
Minimum 3.500 GPA required