The doctoral program aims to train graduate students for a career of research and teaching at the university level, or for work in other areas that draws upon historical research skills and learning. It consists of three distinct phases: (1) two terms of course work (three full courses); (2) comprehensive exams in November of the second year; and (3) the preparation of a doctoral dissertation. All requirements for the degree must be completed within 18 terms (six years).
In their first year, doctoral students select from a range of courses that will prepare them for their comprehensive exams.
Applicants for study towards the Ph.D. degree are normally considered for admission only after they have been graduate students at a recognized university for at least one year and have been awarded the Master's degree or an equivalent, with at least a B+ average, indicating preparation for advanced graduate work in history. If admitted, such applicants become candidates (Ph.D. I).