History PhD

Degree Requirements

The following requirements are in addition to, or further elaborate upon, those requirements outlined in The Graduate School Policy Guide.


The History Department does not offer a separate master's program. Students in the PhD program earn a master's degree after a year of satisfactory work toward the PhD degree. Northwestern's School of Professional Studies offers several part-time master's programs, including the Master of Arts in Liberal Studies (MALS) and a Master of Arts in Literature (MALit).


Total Units Required: 18

The principal formal requirements for the PhD in history are as follows:

  • Completion of 18 courses during the first two years of study, including two quarters of work each year in an intensive research seminar.
  • Passing of examinations in three areas (a general field, a specialization within that field, and a minor field) during the second and third year of study.
  • Demonstration of proficiency in the primary research language.
  • Submission of a dissertation prospectus or proposal by the end of the third year of study.
  • Demonstration of proficiency in additional languages as necessary.
  • Presentation of an approved dissertation.
  • Completion of HISTORY 560-0 Teaching History by the end of the fifth year.