2008 - 2009 Site Archive



Graduate Bulletin

History, Ph.D.


Admission Requirements and Deadlines
Application Deadline:

Fall: December 15

Applications are evaluated together after the deadline date.

APPLY ONLINE to this graduate program.

Letters of Reference:

Number Required: 2

From Whom: Letters of recommendation should be obtained from instructors or other individuals who are familiar with the applicant's academic work.

Coursework Required for Admission Consideration:

Applicants are expected to have majored or minored in History at the undergraduate level.  Those applicants lacking that qualification are considered on a case-by-case basis.

Master's Degree in Discipline/Related Discipline:


Bachelor's Degree in Discipline/Related Discipline:

All applicants must present credentials that are the equivalent of the appropriate baccalaureate degree at Temple University.

Statement of Goals:

The Statement of Goals should be approximately 500-750 words in length, and should include the following elements: a clear statement of your interest in the doctoral program in History at Temple University and how the program meets your needs; your major historical interests; your career goals; and your academic and research achievements, if applicable.

Standardized Test Scores:

The GRE is required. In general, the applicant's combined scores on the verbal and quantitative sections should exceed 1,100.

Minimum TOEFL score needed to be accepted: 550 paper-based, 213 computer-based, and 79 internet-based.

Writing Sample:

The writing sample should demonstrate an applicant's ability to research and write a scholarly paper. It should be fully referenced according to a professional, scholarly style manual and should not exceed 30 pages in length.

Program Requirements
General Program Requirements:

Number of Didactic Credits Required Beyond the Master's: 0

Required Courses:

Doctoral students must take at least 11 courses in the History Department, and may elect to take courses outside the department with the permission of the Director of Graduate Studies.  A minimum of 10 courses must be completed before the preliminary examination can be taken.  The following courses are required:

    • 2 research seminars in which a substantial piece of original research is produced:  one must be taken in the first year, preferably in the second semester; at least one of the two research papers must be based on primary research in a language other than English (students writing dissertations on the history of the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, or another Anglophone country are exempt from this requirement).
    • 1 methodology seminar, normally to be taken in the first year of study.
    • 2 historiographical or thematic seminars that address a series of methodological and interpretive debates in the given field:  one must be taken in the first year.
    • for students pursuing the U.S. field, a 2-course sequence of U.S. History, which must be selected in close consultation with the advisor.

View all COURSE OFFERINGS in History.

Internship: No internship is required.

Language Examination: The History Department requires Ph.D. students to demonstrate a reading knowledge of one language other than English. This requirement usually is fulfilled by passing a reading comprehension examination administered by appropriate language departments or by designated History Department faculty. This requirement must be satisfied before the student takes her/his preliminary examination.

Culminating Events:

Preliminary Examination:

The preliminary examination is a take-home exam. Examinees have up to two weeks in which to complete it. During that time, they are expected to write an original essay approximately 2,500 to 3,500 words in length for each of the three fields on the examination. Examinees should obtain the questions for the examination from the Graduate Secretary and return the completed examination to that individual. Examinees are expected to provide the Graduate Secretary with both a disk that contains their completed examination and a hard copy.

The written examination tests the student's factual knowledge, her/his ability to explain and evaluate interpretations, and her/his ability to defend her/his own interpretation. More generally, the student is expected to produce essays that demonstrate her/his mastery of the field. Bibliographic citation to specific interpretations is expected.

Satisfactory completion of the Ph.D. comprehensive examination requires receiving passing grades in all three fields ("general," "dissertation," and "distinct"). Two examiners evaluate the general field examination.

Upon passing the written exam, students are orally examined by their committee.  The oral exam lasts two hours.  Students may be asked to defend or expand upon their written exams; students may also be asked to discuss other issues pertinent to their prepared fields of study.  To pass the exam, all members of the committee must approve of the student’s performance.

University-wide regulations governing examinations when a Ph.D. student matriculated apply throughout her/his career until the degree is received. If departmental or college regulations change, the student similarly follows the rules in place at the time of her/his matriculation unless s/he obtains approval of the advisory committee and written permission from the Graduate Council to follow more recent requirements.

Ideally, students in the doctoral program complete their coursework by the end of the fourth semester.  In all cases, doctoral students must complete their preliminary examinations no later than March 1 of their sixth semester in the doctoral program. Those doctoral students who have been granted a leave of absence must complete their preliminary examinations no later than the sixth week of the sixth semester in the doctoral program. Failure to complete the coursework and take the preliminary examination within six semesters is considered grounds for dismissal from the program.

Students preparing to take their preliminary examination should confirm times and dates with their Preliminary Examination Committee Chair, other committee members, and the Graduate Secretary. All parties involved receive confirmation of the times, dates, and rooms for the examination.


All doctoral candidates must prepare a dissertation prospectus in close consultation with the advisor prior to advancing to Ph.D. candidacy. This document, usually about 15 pages in length, must achieve the following goals:

    • identify the major research question of the dissertation.
    • situate the dissertation in the existing scholarly literature.
    • lay out a coherent research strategy that identifies the archives and sources that will be used.
    • include a timeline for research and writing of the dissertation.

The prospectus defense is a public event, open to History Department faculty and doctoral students. At this event, the doctoral candidate makes a brief presentation lasting approximately 20 to 30 minutes, outlining the contents of the prospectus. A copy of the dissertation prospectus is made available at least one week before the defense for examination by the faculty. During the defense, faculty and students engage the candidate in vigorous conversation about the proposed project.

At the end of the defense, the candidate's Doctoral Advisory Committee meets privately to vote on advancing the student to Ph.D. candidacy. The Doctoral Advisory Committee is formed to oversee the student's doctoral research and is comprised of at least three Graduate Faculty members from the History Department. The student's primary advisor functions as the Chair of this committee and is responsible for overseeing and guiding the student's progress, coordinating the responses of committee members, and informing the student of her/his academic progress.


The doctoral dissertation is an original scholarly study that makes a significant contribution to the field of History. It should expand existing knowledge and demonstrate the student's familiarity with research methods and a mastery of her/his primary area of interest. Dissertations should be rigorously investigated; uphold the ethics and standards of the historical profession; and demonstrate the student's ability to place discoveries in her/his primary field in a broader context.  All dissertations must be prepared in accordance with the guidelines of the Dissertation Handbook, which is available from the Graduate School.

The student should arrange with her/his primary advisor (i.e., the Chair of the Doctoral Advisory Committee) and the other members of the Doctoral Advisory Committee a procedure for submitting draft chapters for review. Further, either during the process of writing the dissertation prospectus, or at some time following its approval, the student, again in consultation with her/his primary advisor, should select a qualified outside reader of the dissertation. The outside reader may either be on the faculty of a Temple University department other than History or a member of the faculty of a college/university other than Temple. Once s/he has agreed to serve in the capacity, s/he will be added to the Doctoral Advisory Committee, which then becomes the Dissertation Examining Committee. The total membership of the Dissertation Examining Committee may exceed four faculty:  the minimum being the three Temple Department of History Graduate Faculty who approved the prospectus plus the outside reader. Regardless of the size of the Dissertation Examining Committee, however, a majority of its members must be Temple University History Department Graduate Faculty.

From time to time, the roster of a committee has to be changed. However, changing the composition of a committee is not a routine action. Students who wish to change the composition of their committee should send a letter to the Director of Graduate Studies requesting that such change be made and providing the rationale.

Once a majority of the Dissertation Examining Committee, including its Chair, agrees that the written dissertation is of sufficient quality to be defended, the student should arrange with the Committee a time for the oral defense to be held. S/he should then notify the Graduate Secretary when the oral defense will be scheduled. The oral defense must be publicly announced in writing at least 10 days in advance of the date of the defense and must be open to the academic community.

The Chair of the oral defense, who presides at the oral defense, must be identified. This person must be a Temple University presidential faculty member and may not be the chair of the student's Dissertation Examining Committee.

The dissertation defense is a public event, open to History Department faculty and doctoral students. At this event, the doctoral candidate makes a brief presentation of perhaps 20 to 30 minutes, outlining the main argument of the dissertation. A copy of the dissertation is made available at least one week before the defense for examination by the faculty. During the defense, faculty and students engage the candidate in vigorous conversation about the project.

Students must provide the Chair of the History Department with a bound copy of the final draft of the dissertation before they can receive their Ph.D. The Chair ensures that graduate students in the Department of History have access to the department’s collection of dissertations.

Students must apply to graduate in the Dean's Office of their college by the announced deadline date. Those who do not apply in time must reapply to graduate at the next commencement. Master's and doctoral degrees are conferred in August, January, and May. Students should note that there are graduation fees, as well as additional fees, associated with the handling and publication of dissertations.

Program Contact Information:


Department Information:

Dept. of History
Gladfelter Hall (025-24)
1115 W. Berks Street

Philadelphia, PA 19122-6080


Department Contacts:

Director of Graduate Studies:

Petra Goedde



Andrew Isenberg


About the Program

Temple University offers a varied and flexible program for graduate training in History on the Ph.D. level. While general requirements ensure that every graduate is familiar with the basic issues of History and the latest approaches of professional historians, students are encouraged to tailor their programs to suit their own particular interests. To enrich their appreciation of History, students are also welcome to study in other disciplines. The thrust of the Ph.D. program is to prepare professional historians who are equipped to function in either academia or in public history. The Center for the Study of Force and Diplomacy, Center for African-American History and Culture, The Myer and Rosaline Feinstein Center for American Jewish History, and Biographical Dictionary of Pennsylvania Legislators, which are all based at Temple, provide important support for the History Department's doctoral program. In addition, the Philadelphia area is rich in historical archives and museums.

Time Limit for Degree Completion: 7 years

Campus Location:

Main Campus, Center City

Students take most of their courses at the Center City Campus, while preliminary examinations and dissertation defenses are conducted on Main Campus.

Full-Time/Part-Time Status:

Students are required to complete the Ph.D. program on a full-time basis.

Department Information:

Dept. of History
Gladfelter Hall (025-24)
1115 W. Berks Street

Philadelphia, PA 19122-6080


Interdisciplinary Study:

The program encourages interdisciplinary coursework, research, and interactions among faculty and students.


The History program at Temple is affiliated with the Biographical Dictionary of Pennsylvania Legislators, Center for African-American History and Culture, Center for the Study of Force and Diplomacy, The Myer and Rosaline Feinstein Center for American Jewish History, Social Science Data Library, and Temple's Urban Archives. The History Department is also a member of the American Historical Association.

Study Abroad:



Not applicable.


Not applicable.

Areas of Specialization:

Faculty members specialize and offer substantial coursework in the following areas: anti-colonial movements, cultural history, diplomatic history, gender, imperialism, international history, military history, political history, race and ethnicity, religious history, sexuality, and social history.  The Department offers training in many different historical eras; most of its doctoral students, however, write dissertations that focus on the eighteenth, nineteenth, or twentieth century.  Most, but certainly not all, of the Department's doctoral students focus on the history of North America.

Job Placement:

The program is primarily dedicated to producing well-trained historians who work in academia, including four-year colleges and universities as well as two-year community colleges.


Not applicable.

Non-Degree Student Policy:

Non-matriculated students are permitted to take up to 9 credit hours of coursework.  These courses can be transferred into the degree program after their admission only if they earn a grade of "B" or higher.

Financing Opportunities

Teaching Assistantships:

Teaching Assistants (TA) are required to teach or assist in teaching at Temple. Their duties include 20 hours of service per week. Holders receive tuition waivers for all courses taken during the fall and spring semesters (up to 9 credits) that contribute to the student's program, plus a stipend.  All TAs are doctoral students.

Most TAs are assigned to large core courses in which they are given the responsibility to lead discussion sections, grade papers and examinations, prepare and deliver formal lectures, and contribute to structuring the syllabus for the course.  On occasion, a TA is provided the opportunity to teach her/his own course; serve as a Research Assistant for one of the faculty in the department; or take on some administrative responsibillity consistent with the student's program.  The normal tenure for an assistantship is three years.

Teaching Assistants are assigned according to the following criteria:

1. Size of class and number of discussion sections.

2. Relationship of class to core curriculum.

3. Student's previous assignments/fields.

4. Student's program of study.

5. Student's and/or faculty's requests.

University-Awarded Fellowships:

Presidential, University, and Future Faculty Fellowships are administered by the Graduate School and provide support for a maximum of four calendar years with stipends higher than those of assistantships. They are intended as part of a four-year program that includes two years' experience as a Teaching/Research Assistant. In addition to free tuition, these fellowships carry a stipend for a 12-month year. (The stipend is reduced if the student is not at Temple in the summer.) Normally, the student is on fellowship her/his first two years in the program, and serves as an assistant in the third and fourth years. While on fellowship, the student must take a minimum of 9 academic credits each semester during the academic year. Students are nominated for Presidential, University, and Future Faculty Fellowships by the department.

Dissertation Completion Grant:

Each semester the Graduate Council nominates between one and three Ph.D. students to receive a University Dissertation Completion Grant. Departmental nomination does not guarantee the nominee receipt of the Dissertation Completion Grant.  Receipt of this grant disqualifies a student from receiving additional financial support from Temple University.

Appointment as Part-Time Instructor:

Ph.D. candidates are eligible for appointment as part-time instructors. The Department Chair, after consulting with the Director of Graduate Studies, is responsible for these appointments. S/he will consider whether the candidate has assisted in the course, and if so, consult the faculty whom s/he has assisted. Priority will be given to those qualified students who have not had the opportunity previously to teach independently.

Updated 9.7.07