2010 - 2011 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: 3

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:

A master's degree is not required.

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 the 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: 33

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.  Students should consult the History Department Graduate Handbook at  www.temple.edu/history/Graduate/GradHandbook/ for specific field requirements for the following required courses:

    • 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, unless the student is writing a dissertation on the history of the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, or another Anglophone country.
    • 1 foundation seminar, normally to be taken in the first year of study.  For students pursuing the U.S. field, the foundation seminar is divided into a two-course sequence; at least one course should be taken in the first year.
    • 1 methodology seminar, normally to be taken in the first year of study.
    • 2 historiographic or thematic seminars that address a series of methodological and interpretive debates in the given field:  one must be taken in the first year.
    • 2 readings seminars in the secondary or outside field.

View all COURSE OFFERINGS in History.

Internship: No internship is required.

Language Examination: All students must show competence in at least one foreign language. To demonstrate competence, a student must pass a short translation exam administered, in most cases, by the University’s language departments. The dissertation advisor determines whether competence in a second language is required. The language requirement must be satisfied prior to taking the preliminary examination.

Culminating Events:

Preliminary Examination:

The preliminary examination is a take-home exam. Examinees have up to two weeks 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 same person. Examinees are expected to provide the Graduate Secretary with both a hard copy and a disk that contains their completed examination.

With the written examination, students need to demonstrate their mastery of the field, their ability to explain and evaluate interpretations, and their ability to defend their own interpretation. Bibliographic citations to specific interpretations are expected. Satisfactory completion of the Ph.D. preliminary examination requires receiving passing grades in all three fields ("general," "dissertation," and "distinct").

Upon passing the written exams, students are given a two-hour oral exam by their Preliminary Examination Committee.  The oral exam should be scheduled within 30 days of the beginning of the written exam. Students may be asked to defend or expand on their written exams, and 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 the student’s performance.

The preliminary examination must be completed no later than March 1 of a student's sixth semester in the doctoral program. Doctoral students who have been granted a leave of absence must complete their preliminary examination no later than the sixth week of the sixth semester in the doctoral program. (Ideally, students in the doctoral program complete their coursework by the end of the fourth semester.)  Failure to complete the coursework and take the preliminary examination within six semesters of matriculating may be considered grounds for dismissal from the program.

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.

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.

Dissertation Committee:

After passing the preliminary exam and in consultation with the primary advisor, students select the members of their Doctoral Advisory Committee.  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.

Further, either during the process of writing the dissertation prospectus, or at some time following its approval, students, again in consultation with their primary advisor, 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 (and received approval from the Graduate School), s/he will be added to the Doctoral Advisory Committee, which becomes the Dissertation Examining Committee. The total membership of the Dissertation Examining Committee may exceed four faculty (the minimum being the three Temple History Department graduate faculty who approved the prospectus plus the outside reader). A majority of the committee's members, however, must be Temple University History Department graduate faculty.


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 15-20 pages in length, must achieve the following goals:  (a) identify the major research question of the dissertation; (b) situate the dissertation in the existing scholarly literature; (c) lay out a coherent research strategy that identifies the archives and sources that will be used; and (d) 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.

The prospectus must be defended before the end of the sixth semester. Failure to defend the prospectus by the end of the sixth semester is grounds for dismissal from the doctoral program. At the end of the defense, the candidate's Doctoral Advisory Committee meets privately to vote on advancing the student to Ph.D. candidacy.


Dissertations must be written and defended within seven years of matriculation. Students who have made satisfactory progress toward completing their dissertation can apply for an extension of up to three additional years. Therefore, the maximum total years permitted for completing a Ph.D. program is ten years. Students in the Ph.D. program must register each semester until all requirements for the degree have been fulfilled unless they receive a leave of absence.

All dissertations must be prepared in accordance with the guidelines of the Dissertation Handbook, which is available on the Graduate School website.  Students should arrange a procedure for submitting draft chapters for review with their primary advisor and the other members of the Doctoral Advisory Committee.

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. The student should then notify the Graduate Secretary of the proposed defense date. The oral defense must be publicly announced in writing at least ten days in advance of the date of the defense and must be open to the academic community.  A copy of the dissertation is made available at least one week before the defense for examination by the faculty.

An Oral Defense Chair 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.

In the event that a member of the Dissertation Examining Committee cannot attend the defense, teleconferencing or videoconferencing is arranged. No more than one member of the Dissertation Examining Committee can be physically absent from the defense.

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, outlining the main argument of the dissertation. During the defense, faculty and students engage the candidate in a vigorous conversation about the project. At the end of the defense, the committee meets privately to vote on the candidate’s performance.  The candidate is notified immediately of the decision.

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:

Richard H. Immerman



William I. Hitchcock

215-204- 9745

About the Program

Temple University offers a varied and flexible program for graduate training in History on the Ph.D. level in the Philadelphia area, which is rich in historical archives and museums. 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.

Time Limit for Degree Completion: 7 years

Campus Location:

Main Campus, Center City

Students take many 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, the Center for the Study of Force and Diplomacy, The Myer and Rosaline Feinstein Center for American Jewish History, the 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 are required to teach or assist in teaching at Temple. Their duties include 20 hours of service per week. Teaching Assistants 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 Teaching Assistants are doctoral students.

Most Teaching Assistants 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 Teaching Assistant 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 responsibility consistent with the student's program. Teaching Assistantships can be renewed for up to four years. Decisions regarding Teaching Assistantships are made annually in the Spring semester.  New applicants for the Ph.D. program are automatically considered.  Advanced Ph.D. students who are not currently Teaching Assistants and who wish to be considered should send an application to the Chair of the History Department by January 31.


Presidential, University, and Future Faculty Fellowships are administered by the Graduate School and provide support for a maximum of two calendar years followed by two years as a Teaching/Research Assistant. In addition to free tuition and health coverage, these fellowships carry a stipend. While on fellowship, the student must take a minimum of 9 academic credits each semester during the academic year. Students are nominated for a fellowship by the Department upon admission to the program.

Dissertation Completion Grant:

Students may apply for a dissertation completion grant in their last semester before graduation.  Applications are due in the History graduate office on the second Friday in March and the second Friday in October, which is one week prior to the Graduate School deadline. The Director of Graduate Studies or the Chair of the Department submits a letter of nomination on behalf of each applicant.  Departmental nomination does not, however, guarantee the nominee receipt of the dissertation completion grant. Receipt of this grant disqualifies a student from receiving further 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 considers whether the candidate has assisted in the course and, if so, consult the faculty whom s/he has assisted. Priority is given to those qualified students who have not had the opportunity previously to teach independently.

Fellowships from the Center for the Humanities at Temple (CHAT):

CHAT Senior Doctoral Fellowships provide support to advanced doctoral students pursuing research in the humanities or humanistic social sciences in any school or college at Temple. Fellows receive funding for full-time work on their dissertation. This includes a stipend, tuition, benefits, and $500 in research funding for the semester. Fellows receive office space at the Center and participate in the bi-weekly Fellows Seminar.

CHAT Graduate Teaching Fellowships provide support for research and offer the opportunity to teach innovative and interdisciplinary humanities courses. CHAT Graduate Teaching Fellowships are configured as 75% directed research or creative activity in the applicant's area of interest and 25% teaching for a course of wide humanistic concern related to that interest, as it is tied to the focus of particular departments or programs.

Awards and Grants:

The History Department and the Center for the Study of Force and Diplomacy provide a dozen awards and grants annually. For more information on these, see the History Department Graduate Handbook at www.temple.edu/history/Graduate/GradHandbook/.


Updated 9.16.10