Ph.D.

Admission

December 1 is the deadline for PhD program (The Department of History accepts applications for fall admission only). Applications accepted after October 1.

  • Applications for doctoral study in history are processed through the University of Arkansas Graduate School.  All application materials are processed through the University's UA Connect online system. Applicants are required to complete and application and submit official transcripts through the University of Arkansas Graduate School. Applications can be accessed online and are available here.
  • Submit contact information on UA Connect for three references who will upload letters of recommendation directly to UA Connect
  • Upload the following documents to UA Connect:
    • Departmental Application in PDF Format
    • CV or Academic Resume in PDF Format
    • Statement of Purpose in PDF Format of no more than 1,000 words. This details your preparation for your intended field of study. Report any relevant language training, indicate with whom you wish to pursue your research project, and feature any experience you have with archival research or substantial academic writing (i.e., thesis)
    • A Scholarly writing Sample of no more than 10,000 words in PDF Format. Ideally this will be a portion of an MA thesis or published article

All prospective students are evaluated by the Graduate Studies Committee of the Department of History. Each applicant must meet all University of Arkansas requirements for the MA degree in history, with a grade point average of at least 3.25 in previous graduate history work. Applicants without an MA degree or its equivalent, but with exceptionally strong qualifications, may be admitted directly into the PhD program at the discretion of the Graduate Studies Committee of the Department of History.

The prospective doctoral student is required to take the Graduate Record Examination before beginning any graduate work toward the doctorate. A minimum score of 156 on the Verbal Reasoning test and a 4.5 on the Analytical Writing test is required. The Department of History offers the following fields for examination:

  • Ancient Mediterranean World
  • Late Antiquity/Early Medieval
  • High/Late Medieval
  • Early Modern Europe, 1500-1815
  • Europe Since 1815
  • Great Britain and the British Empire, 1707 to the Present
  • Russia and U.S.S.R.
  • France
  • Latin America
  • Far East
  • Middle East and Islamic World, 600-1700
  • Middle East and Islamic World since 1700
  • African history
  • United States to 1877
  • United States since 1877
  • Candidates in United States History must, in consultation with their advisor, choose three fields from the list with a fourth field that is either topical or comprehensive. Candidates pursuing other fields of history must choose two from the list with the remaining two being either from the list or topical/comprehensive fields according to the advice of their dissertation supervisor.

Course Requirements

No definite course requirements apply to all students. A doctoral advisory committee is appointed by the Graduate Advisor with the approval of the Graduate Studies Committee to evaluate the prospective doctoral student's preparation and to draw up a suitable program of study and research. This committee will consist of three members of the graduate faculty.

In general, the doctoral student is expected to pursue a program of independent reading and study and of directed research in preparation for the preliminary written examinations for admission to candidacy. To be admitted to candidacy, a student must:

  • Complete satisfactorily the departmental language requirement by establishing competency in at least one foreign language. Some fields may require that students prove proficiency in more than one language before they sit for comprehensive exams.
  • Complete satisfactorily all course work and seminars required by the doctoral advisory committee.
  • Complete satisfactorily History 7023 (Historical Methods), if not already taken at M.A. level, and History 7043 (Historiography) or their equivalents.
  • Demonstrate adequate preparation to the graduate faculty of the Department of History through the successful completion of written and oral examinations.

Candidacy Examinations

After completing the course of study prescribed by the Doctoral Advisory Committee, the student must pass written and oral examinations in the four fields of preparation by the end of the second semester of his or her third year of doctoral studies. Examiners will be individual members of the student’s doctoral advisory committee. The written portion of the exam process takes place over a two week period followed by an oral examination in the third week. If a student fails an exam he or she may retake it once. A second failing grade will result in dismissal from the program. In order to proceed to the oral examination, the student must pass the four written exams. All exams are evaluated by all members of the Doctoral Advisory Committee. Successful completion of the written and oral exams is necessary to achieve promotion to candidacy or ABD status. For more detailed information about the comprehensive examination structure, see the Graduate Handbook linked at the top of this page.

Dissertation

Within six months of passing comprehensive exams in all four fields, A.B.D. students will write and defend a dissertation prospectus. The candidate must demonstrate a capacity for independent research by producing an original dissertation on a topic within the major area of study. Upon admission to candidacy, the student is assigned a dissertation committee to be composed of the student's major professor and at least two other members of the graduate faculty. In addition to requirements of the Graduate School, the Department of History requires a vita, approved by the major professor, to be bound at the back of the dissertation. Each candidate is required to present the Department with a copy of the vita and a dissertation abstract.

Final Examination

The final examination, in accordance with Graduate School regulations, is oral. The examination is primarily a defense of the dissertation.