Program of Study
Comprehensive Exams consist of two or three writtens and a two-hour oral exam, which are usually taken at the end of the third year.
The dissertation committee consists of three or four advisors. After completing a polished draft of the dissertation, the student makes an oral defense. Students are strongly encouraged to have a dissertation reader from outside the University.
Fields of Study
Georgetown’s history curriculum comprises over 200 courses from ancient to modern eras encompassing many of the world’s cultures. The department offers the following graduate fields:
- Early Modern and Late Medieval Europe
- East and Central Asia
- Latin America
- Middle East and North Africa
- Modern Europe
- Russia and Eastern Europe
- United States (colonial to present)
Students organize individual programs of study around four fields:
- Major Field - selected from the list of seven regional fields above, or developed transnationally (e.g., Atlantic History), or thematically (e.g. environmental or gender history);
- Research Field - A region, period, or theme within the Major Field that is of direct relevance to the planned dissertation topic;
- First Minor Field - A second geographic field selected from the list of Major Fields with the additional choice of Africa; it must be outside the regional focus of the Major and Research fields;
- Second Minor Field - Focusing on theme and method, this field may be developed within History, in a related other discipline, or it may be a combination of both. If pursued within History, the Second Minor Field must deal substantially with regions outside the Major and Research fields.
Students in the doctoral program must complete 36 credit hours of graduate coursework with a minimum of a 3.3 GPA. Up to nine credits of advanced standing may be awarded, as determined by the student's advisory committee and the DGS, to those students entering with a Master's degree in History.
All students must complete the Core Colloquium (HIST-501), normally in the Fall semester of the first year. All complete a two-semester seminar in the Major field; in this course the student writes a major seminar paper, based on primary research and informed by the historical literature, developed over two semesters, with the guidance of the faculty mentor.
The remaining course work is selected to prepare fields and develop analytical skills, within history and related disciplines, with the guidance of the mentor and advisory committee. There is no mandatory allocation of courses to fields.
Entering students are expected to have reading competency in at least one relevant language, and are tested before they start their first semester of classes. They cannot register for their third semester of classes until they pass at least one language exam. All students, except those whose major field is United States History, must pass a minimum of two language exams before they can schedule comprehensive examinations.
Comprehensive Examinations and the Doctoral Dissertation
After completing all course work and passing the required language exams, students take comprehensive examinations (normally in the third year). Two written exams are required: all students write in their research field and in one of the two minor fields (typically the student's choice). Following the written exams, the two-hour oral examination focuses on the major field, while reaching into the student's entire program. Students have two chances to pass the comprehensive exams.
Students who pass their comprehensive examinations are allowed to write a doctoral dissertation, a substantial work of original historical research and analysis. After completing a polished draft of the dissertation, the student makes an oral defense; this defense of the thesis is the final requirement for the degree.
Because the Department places such a high priority on providing our Ph.D. students with teaching experience, we have two teaching programs.
- ABDs who have finished their research year are eligible for the Royden B. Davis Fellowship, which allows a student to design and teach an upper-division undergraduate class, in return for a graduate stipend. Davis Fellowships may not be deferred to a later year.
- Each year several ABDs teach sections of Georgetown's general education history classes. ABDs and recent graduates are also asked to teach other classes, such as the regional history surveys.
- There are no upcoming events scheduled at this time.