We offer a distinctive Ph.D. program in History that emphasizes both broad and focused historical knowledge as well as skills training for the 21st-century historian.

As their focus field, students concentrate in one of four areas:

Ph.D. students gain a mastery of a primary field in North American, European, or World history.

You will supplement your historical study with your secondary field in Ethnic Studies, Great Plains Studies, Human Rights and Humanitarian Affairs, Medieval and Renaissance Studies, Nineteenth Century Studies, or Women’s and Gender Studies.

Our department is an innovator in digital history, and our program offers intensive training in teaching history with opportunities to intern in the editing and publishing industry and at museums and archives. Our graduates use their diverse skillset and creative scholarship to obtain positions in academic and public institutions throughout the country.

Applications are due by December 1 for admission for the following August.

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The following Ph.D. requirements apply to students entering the program in Fall 2023 and beyond; the most recent Graduate Student Handbook is available here. Students who entered the program between 2018 and 2022 may use the 2023 handbook or 2018 Graduate Student Handbook; students who entered the program prior to 2018 may elect to follow the 2018 program, the 2015 Handbook, or the 2009-2014 Handbook.

90 total credit hours*

HIST 900


HIST 901

HIST 950 (to be taken twice) 6
2 Core Courses in Primary Field
(European = HIST 931 & 933; American = HIST 941 & 943; World = HIST 961 & 963)
1 Course Comparative Field
(HIST 951, HIST 953, or HIST 983 [HIST 983 cannot be used as the comparative requirement for those in the Race, Ethnicity, and Identity focus field])

4 Core Courses in Secondary Field

2 Courses in Focus Field
(North American West & Borderlands; Nineteenth Century U.S.; Transnational History; Modern World)
3 Courses in Applied Field
(DH & Public History; Education; Global Studies; Law & Policy)
HIST 970 3
HIST 990 3
3 Courses in Professional Development
(HIST 801A, 801B, & 801C; 1 credit hour each)
HIST 999 (Dissertation) 33

*Additionally, all Ph.D. students are required to fulfill foreign language requirements, either by passing four semesters of coursework in at least one foreign language (two for students in non-U.S. fields) with an average grade of B or better or by demonstrating equivalent comprehension by taking a placement exam; coursework can be completed while a student at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. All Ph.D. students must also pass a document-based reading fluency exam before advancing to candidacy for the Ph.D.; this exam is offered only during finals week in the fall and spring semesters. With the endorsement of their adviser, Ph.D. students may appeal to the Graduate Committee for an alternative assessment of particular cases such as coursework in a spoken language that generates few written documents, or a previous degree from a foreign-language institution.

Refer to https://graduate.unl.edu/academics/program-steps/doctoral-degree-steps-to-completion for all forms and deadlines.